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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.
 


"Stanley Coen suggested the crucial idea that the mindbody disorder I was studying (TMS) was a defense, an avoidance strategy designed to turn attention away from frightening repressed feelings."

Dr. John Sarno, The Mindbody Prescription, Part 3

As with Freud's patients, I found that my patients' physical symptoms were the direct result of strong feelings repressed in the unconscious. In addition, I have drawn on the concepts of three other psychoanalysts: Franz Alexander, founder of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, did pioneer work in mindbody medicine in this century; Heinz Kohut conceptualized what is known as Self Psychology and pointed out the importance of narcissistic rage; Stanley Coen suggested the crucial idea that the mindbody disorder I was studying (TMS) was a defense, an avoidance strategy designed to turn attention away from frightening repressed feelings.

This book addresses physical disorders that are caused by repressed, unconscious feelings. Because these disorders are very specific, they can be accurately diagnosed and successfully treated.

The Tension Myositis Syndrome is currently the most common emotionally induced disorder in the United States, and probably in the Western world. Since the publication of Healing Back Pain, other painful conditions of significant public health importance have emerged. They, too, are manifestations of TMS.

The book is laid out in three parts. Part I is a discussion of the psychology that induces these physical maladies, and it includes a chapter that might be called a bridge, for it describes the psychoneurophysiology of psychogenic processes: in other words, how emotions stimulate the brain to produce physical symptoms. After traversing this bridge (which sounds more formidable than it is), Part II takes up the various emotionally induced physical maladies, beginning with TMS, the disorder that introduced me to the world of mindbody medicine, and including such ailments as the common disturbances of the gastrointestinal tract, headaches, allergies and skin disorders.

Part III discusses treatment for these disorders.

For those who are interested, an appendix covers the more academic aspects of the mindbody (psychosomatic) process.

A word of caution to the reader: What follows is a description of my clinical experience and the theories derived from my work. No one should assume that his or her symptoms are psychologically caused until a physician has ruled out the possibility of serious disease.

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