A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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xii                   WHO IS QUALIFIED FOR THE TASK?                 451
contradicted, yet the doctor who makes such a remark does exactly this. Just as tactless is the physician whose opening remark is, ' Well, what is the matter with you this time ? ' or, ' What, are you sick again ? '
In view of the greatly increased sensitivity of the sick person, it is evident that the psychotherapist must always show not only extreme gentleness and consideration in his history-taking and investigation but also confidence. Few patients will ever entertain hope of help from a doctor whose power and professional ability they cannot respect.
As yet, there is no panacea for the mentally distressed, and no royal road for one who would cure them. The unadjusted patient has to face reality in a society which itself needs adjustment. Never forgetting that he is a physician first and a scientist second, the psychotherapist of the future will treat his individual patient with reference to this fact. And perhaps when the socio-psychiatric knowledge is firmly established, when the mists of superstition and ignorance are swept away, when the mind is considered no holier or more esoteric a place for the scientist to explore than the body, then we can hope for the fulfilment of the promise which psychiatry and religion hold out for the solution of man's personal problem.
To remove fear, to instil hope, to secure the beneficial effect that is produced on the body by unexpected happiness, for instance ; to calm the stress and turmoil of an over-wrought mind is one of the highest and noblest aims of a therapist, and if, by his personality, and by his methods, he can achieve this result, carping criticism leaves him calm and confident.
It is a commonplace of medical practice that the best of diagnosticians may be the worst of physicians, and vice versa. This applies still more in the case of