Psychotherapy Out of Bounds

Felicity groaned a sigh of understanding. He asked Peter if he drank much milk. Oh yes, his doctor had told him to drink lots of milk for its good nutrients to try to build his body back up again. Felicity scowled and bit his tongue. “OK,” he said, writing down a list of names on a slip of paper, “I want you to go to a health food store and make a purchase. Buy the first product I have listed and try it for two weeks. If you feel no change, try the second product for two weeks, and so on down the list. And I want you to come in to see me every two weeks to monitor how you’re doing. And phone me if you feel there is anything unusual or wrong.” A psychologist giving a prescription!?
Peter was astonished too. He asked Felicity what the pills he was being asked to buy were. Felicity agreed he owed Peter an explanation for this unexpected development. He pointed out to Peter that antibiotics do not just kill foreign bugs which attack the body. They kill any kind of living tissue — they are anti-, or against, biotic, or biological life. Now, there are flora and bacteria in the intestines which are there to maintain the health of the body. One set of these healthy and normal flora are called lacto bacillus acidophilus. Their job is to help in the digestion of lactic acid in milk. If these healthy flora were killed off by the long-term use of the antibiotics, then Peter would be unable to digest milk products. The lactic acid should produce the very kinds of intestinal symptoms he had reported, and the associated intestinal activity could easily prevent the digestion of other food stuffs he ate. The pills that Felicity was suggesting were various brand names under which lacto bacillus acidophilus is sold. He thought the first on the list was the best, and so he had suggested Peter start with it. Through the mask of his stretched facial skin, Peter looked as though he was completely confused, but he said he would try it out as nothing else had worked. He said he would phone if anything seemed to be going wrong.

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