REPRESSION OF SYMPTOMS
THE NEED FOR PSYCHIC WORK IN PHYSICAL ILLNESS
Robert Frost, PhD
|Left Brain||Right Brain|
|controls the right side of the body||controls the left side of the body
|symbolically relates to the father|| symbolically relates to the mother
|willful activity, control|| spontaneous activity, play
|logical thought||intuition, fantasy, dreams
|drive to succeed||desire to enjoy|
|focus upon details||focus upon interconnections and meaning
|ability to deduce details from a great quantity of information
|| ability to re-conceive the whole from limited information
| The cultural preference for the right side can be heard in the language in phrases such as he has the right, Thats the right thing to do and Right! meaning correct. The suppression of the left side can be heard in phrases such as left out, linkish (German literal meaning - Lefty) meaning uncoordinated and stupid. Left means communist or even worse!
In Western culture, the educational process emphasizes almost exclusively the right side (left side of the brain). Most all of what we call learning occurs through the use of letters, words and numberswhich are processed exclusively on the left side of the brain. Thus what we call education is training of only the left side of the brain. Seen in this light, it is no wonder that so many people display symptoms of being imbalanced. And as a result, most psychological imbalances require more attention to and development of the qualities of the left side of the bodythe right side of the brain.
A man who is out of touch with his subconscious mind and ignores or more actively suppresses its communication (symptoms, feelings, intuitions, hunches, day dreams, night dreams) will not be able to lead a fulfilling life. He may obtain monetary success and status symbols (car, home, holiday, etc.), but deep and lasting joy will elude him. The story most of us had to read in high school of suicide of Richard Cory (that Paul Simon made into a song) is a example of the misery of many rich people. Worldly success is no promise of happiness.
A man who ignores or suppresses the communication of his subconscious mind will also tend to ignore or repress communication received from the women in his life. He just wont be able to understand them, even if he wishes to. In my opinion, this is the psychological underpinning of the social problem of repression of females. Most women are still more in touch with their feelings than most men. However, this problem is not limited to men. In our culture, women are also trained to ignore the messages from their bodies, from their subconscious minds. The following is an extreme example of such a case:
During a session in my first year as a teacher of Alexander Technique, a female patient in Basel, Switzerland, came to me with peculiar symptoms. She awoke daily between 4 and 5 AM and vomited. After medical diagnosis found nothing organically wrong with her, she was sent to me. She had a colorless character with no specific desires or wishes other than getting rid of her symptom. One day she could find no baby sitter and brought her 5 year old daughter to the session. Her daughter sat motionless and said nothing for the during the whole session. Healthy five-year-olds do not normally sit still and quiet that long. This alerted me to a big control issue in the family and made me suspect that my clients symptom might be caused by a neurosis. During another session, the client said, Nüüt, nüüt. I asked her what these words meant. She translated them into high German for me as Nicht, nicht (not, not). I asked her why she said these words. She answered that I had tickled her. Now, a normal response to being tickled is not utter without emotion, Nüüt, nüüt but rather to laugh.
She had her vomiting late in her sleeping hours, the time when her over-controlling conscious mind was at its weakest. The body language of her symptom was a forceful throwing back out of the body what had been pushed into it. From her behavior, she had obviously swallowed repressive social conditioning for her whole life. She had provided no conscious resistance to this life-constricting and life-denying training. By vomiting, her subconscious mind, which was active and without the normal restraints of conscious repression during sleep, seemed to be symbolically throwing it all back out. I would interpret her body language as saying, I wont take it anymore! I mentioned that for her problem she should consider psychotherapy. She replied, It is too late to change now. I asked her way it was too late. She said, Because Im already thirty years old. Im too old to change now!
Many women simply accept the biblical (or some similar) injunction that they are naturally subordinate to men. This is the typical wife syndrome. In Switzerland where I have lived for many years, many of my married female patients report that their man earns the money and that he doesnt ever even tell her how much. She gets a certain amount each month to run the household, buy herself and the children clothing, etc. Beyond that, he buys what he wants with no discussion with her.
Rebelling against this type of injustice, many modern women have learned to be successful in a mans world. They have usurped the usurpers. A woman has to be far better than a man at the same work to be considered an equal, and many women are doing exactly that. It is very unsettling to men that women are able to be even more successful at traditional male activities than they are. Slowly, the efforts of these woman warriors is changing the landscape of male-female relations and obtaining the rights of women.
However, these females who can be better males than the males are not an example of archetypical or ideal femininity. Indeed, as a feminist university professor revealed to me, I would much rather sit at home and enjoy the good life of pleasure and leisure. But I must do battle, in very unfeminine ways, to obtain and defend the rights of women. Similarly, men who train for war (and thereby learn to ignore their feelings of compassion, etc.) are not an example of ideal masculinity.
As with women in the battle of the sexes, our subconscious will produce symptoms and syndromes as a kind of protest and corrective measure to our unhealthy lifestyle. Perhaps diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, rheumatism that plague us today are in part the communication or even the revenge of the long-suppressed subconscious mind. The language of our subconscious may be saying, If you wont listen to me and correct your ways (structural, chemical and mental), then I will make you suffer until you do. If you still wont listen to me and make the needed changes, you will die.
If this is true, how can we learn to understand our bodies when they speak to us in the language of our symptoms?
Muscle testing can be used to reveal the emotion behind the symptom, and who expresses/expressed the emotion to whom. Muscle testing can be used to determine when, with whom, and under what circumstances the problem started. When the nature of the problem has been located, muscle testing may be used to determine the corrective procedures to apply and in which order (priority) to apply them. But, as Goodheart stated, we can only test what we know.
There are many books that list the possible psychological causes of various symptoms. For such information, one may read the works of Louise Haye, Thornwald Detlefsen and others. Some of the apparent underlying factors that I have seen in my clinical experience are listed below. It is not to be implied that all problems have a psychological cause. But any problem that exists for an extended period of time will have an emotional and a mental aspect, whether these were original causes or not. In either case, determining and clearing the emotional/mental aspect of the problem can assist the healing process.
Possible Psychological Causes of Health Disturbances
It is not suggested that the following problems exclusively have the causes listed below. But, a consideration of the possibility of the listed causes may elicit therapeutically useful information that might otherwise be overlooked.
Back pain = Problems in the past that require re-evaluation. Symbolically, the past is that which is behind us. Anatomically, our backs are behind us. Situations which produce fear or pain often result in inaccurate interpretations. These incorrect interpretations of past experiences and the consequent expectations and decisions they produce prevent us from experiencing how good life can be. In such cases, our subconscious mind may produce a pain in the back to tell us of the need for re-evaluation.
Stiffness, inability to bend laterally = Decisions need to be made. You are prevented from going very far either to the right or to the left.
Skin problems = Problems with maintaining your personal distance. You cannot separate yourself from others effectively. Your personal barriers are too porous. You feel the pains of others as if they were on your own body.
Infections in general = Run down immune system. The psychological causes include stress, excess emotion and low self-esteem. Chinese medicine says that not only negative emotions can overly stress the body. Too much joy can also cause disease, but I have yet to find patients with this problem.
Flu = Need to take time off from daily activities and be inactive.
Candida = Too much sugar and milk in the diet. Such a patient needs to find sweetness and mothering elsewhere than in the food eaten.
Cancer = Inability to mentally and emotionally grow. The Weltanschauung (worldview) has become rigid. The only possible inner growth is in the form of tumors. In this respect it is interesting to consider that psychotic and schizophrenic patients (who have no fixed mental attitudes and little or no boundaries to inner growth) have only 20% as many cases of cancer compared to the average population.
Brain Tumors = A toxic memory, something shameful, illegal or otherwise necessary to hide that is held secret and perhaps so well repressed that it has become forgotten..
Symptoms that lie only upon one side of the body = problem with a life aspect symbolized by that side.
Right side of the body -> Left side of the brain, language, logical activity, Yang, male, father, career, willful activity, drive to succeed, focus upon details, ability to deduce conclusions from a great quantity of information.
Left side of the body -> Right side of the brain, symbols, rhythm, ritual, Yin, female, mother, personality, the home, creativity, sensitivity, focus upon interconnections and meaning, ability to re-conceive of the whole from limited information.
Applied Kinesiology has concentrated upon structural and chemical causes of dysfunction. Specialized Kinesiology has focused strongly upon the mental causes. Selected techniques developed by those in the field of Specialized Kinesiology and by the author can supply you with methods with which you will be able to determine the psychological causes of health problems, resolve them, and thereby eliminate their continuing negative effects.
Through the efforts of psychologists and other therapists using Applied Kinesiology techniques (Callahan, Durlacher, et.al.), a new field is emerging: Energy Psychology. Those who use Applied Kinesiology and are interested in the mental causes of dysfunction are also referred to the literature and trainings available in this new field.