spiritual writings | retreat center directory

You're invited to visit our sister site DanJoseph.com, a resource site
featuring articles on spirituality, psychology, and A Course in Miracles.

Home | Writings | Health | John Sarno | Mindbody part 2 | next   

Excerpted from The Mindbody Prescription by John Sarno, M.D. Copyright 1998 by John Sarno, M.D. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner, Inc. and Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"As the century draws to a close, few practitioners, either in physical or psychological medicine, believe that unconscious, repressed emotions initiate physical illness."

Dr. John Sarno, The Mindbody Prescription, Part 2

This book is about emotions, illness and wellness, how they are related and what one can do to enhance good health and combat certain physical conditions. The ideas are based on twenty-four years of successfully treating an emotionally induced physical disorder known as the Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS). Although I will provide an up-to-date description of that condition, my major focus is the impact of the emotions on bodily function.

That connection came close to being accepted by Western medicine in the first half of the twentieth century and then fell into almost total disrepute. Repudiation of psychoanalytic theory, increased interest in laboratory research and the tendency of doctors to shy away from psychological matters (they see themselves as engineers to the human body) are the likely reasons for this historical trend. As the century draws to a close, few practitioners, either in physical or psychological medicine, believe that unconscious, repressed emotions initiate physical illness. Psychoanalysts are the only clinicians who have held to that concept, but their influence in the larger fields of psychiatry and general medicine is limited. In the physical medicine specialties virtually no one adheres to the idea.

Despite the lack of interest of mainstream medicine, much has been written on the "mind-body connection." Careful studies have been conducted that relate psychological factors to pathological conditions such as coronary artery diseases and hypertension. I know of only one investigator outside the field of psychoanalysis who has identified unconscious emotions as the cause of a physical illness. One reads of stress, anger, anxiety, loneliness, depression, but they are discussed as conscious, perceived emotions. In many instances these feelings are thought to aggravate underlying structural pathological processes, such as herniated discs, fibromyalgia or repetitive stress injury.

In view of the widespread Freud bashing of recent years I may be courting disapproval to state that my concepts descend from Freud's clinical observations and theories. But I know this only in retrospect, for I did not set out to prove Freud right. My developing ideas were the consequence of clinical observations; they were not based on preconceived notions about the mindbody connection.

next ->