Psychotherapy Out of Bounds

A Gnarled Knuckle
Felicity has not yet been privileged to treat a patient with cancer. Other psychotherapists, such as Simonton and Mahrer, have had that opportunity, with remarkable recoveries reported. It makes perfectly good sense that cancer ought to be both preventable and curable with properly devised psychotherapy. This statement is based on a number of reasons related to the real (i.e., non-viral) causes of cancer. However, to talk about that without any stories to support the talk, would surely tax your credulity beyond the point of its survival.
But then, there is arthritis. Like cancer patients, few arthritics will pursue treatment by a psychologist. After all, with both cancer and arthritis, you can see and feel the physical swellings of the body parts. There are ‘real’ physical things there, so how could ‘the mind’ have anything to do with it? Of course, this way of thinking has very little to do with what psychotherapy and Psychology are really about.
The so-called body and the so-called mind are really not separate parts of the person at all. They are one. The body refers to the anatomy and chemistry of the body, and the mind refers to the way they work. Perhaps you could say that the mind refers specifically and particularly to how the brain works – but then the brain controls and regulates how everything works and everything the rest of the body (and itself) does. Psychology has to do with the living (functioning, doing, reacting) body. In contrast, the anatomy and chemistry are virtually the same whether the body is alive or dead – which is why physicians can be trained, and post-mortems undertaken, on cadavers. For present purposes, let’s pretend the body is still living.
Patrick was referred to Felicity because of a stomach ulcer which was flaring up repeatedly. The referring physician thought he might be unduly anxious, perhaps due to psychological traumatization from a traffic accident in which he had been involved. There was some traumatic anxiety identifiable in the tests the psychometrist administered. It might be worth treating. But he was more interested in seeing if the ulcer could be healed.

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