Healed by Sand?

Living under a constant pressure of elements, depriving the human creature’s psychology system, we can’t but think about the positive role of psychiatry. It is especially tremendous due to humanistic constituent, which goes forms a “red line” through out modern psychiatric theories. Lately this realm of knowledge was enriched by a number of researches, determining relationship between patient and psychiatris. One of the most significant of those was Dr. Jerome Frank’s theory of Persuasion and Healing, a Comparative Study of Psychotherapy. The research was written in 1961 and since then was twice reedited.

The last edition of 1991-1993 was done in cooperation with the daughter – Dr. Julia Frank, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Jerome D. Frank, a retired John Hopkins professor of psychiatry who was widely known as an early and outspoken critic of nuclear weapons, died on March 15 2005 of complications from dementia at Roland Park Place, his home for the past nine years at the age of 95. “Dr. Frank made the teaching of psychotherapy much more coherent – and much less doctrinaire,” said Dr.

Paul McHugh, psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975 to 2001 at the annual benefit of The Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry Honors on December 5, 1999. “He opened the idea for psychotherapists that each patient is unique in the causes of his problems, even though they might be similar in the expression of it. ” Oersuasion and Healing Summary In his landmark book, Persuasion and Healing, the psychiatrist examined the dozens of competing approaches to psychotherapy to find common ground among them and “to see how they worked,” and came to the unexpected conclusions.

Dr. Frank emphasized that all forms of psychotherapy have equal outcomes. He felt the common elements of the therapies outweigh the differences. All psychotherapies, he noted, treat demoralization condition common to medical and psychiatric illnesses. The aithor put a special emphasis on the therapist-patient relationship and the ethical conduct and human decency of the treating therapist. In the 1st ed. Dr. Frank has centered on his concept of therapy as a “means of directly or indirectly combating demoralization” (19).

Today, many officials and policy-makers assume that any addiction is nothing but a brain disease. On this basis we should await of finding the errant gene or neurochemical out as the ultimate remedy. Jerome D. Frank and Julia Frank in their classic book, “Persuasion and Healing”, deny such an approach. As therapy, the disease concept absolves the patient of responsibility to follow doctor’s orders. The psychotherapists suggest that the idea of illness sould be made lucid for a patient (in the examole cited, alcohol addicted).

The relievance of guilt would make “the alcoholic responsible for the consequences of his or her drinking and for following the steps to recovery, which involves moral acts such as making amends to others and helping other alcoholics” (Frank & Frank, 1993). No suprise that Frank’s theory, appealing to guilt and morals in general, thus not to phisical but spiritual dimension of a human being, can be easily illustrated on the example of religious ceremonies. Let us say that religion is a traditional means to accept problem, to reach out for help, to review past and to hope for a future.

In parallel with traditional therapies in the USA, country home for Dr. Frank, a great scope of programs offering alternative spiritualities (yoga, Islam, Native American religions, or Christianity) is used. The aim of this paper is to see how the elements of any successful therapy according to Dr. Frank are demonstrated in religious healing rituals. As a ground for applying we take Native American rituals – Three Navajo Religious Traditions – Traditional Navajo religion, the Native American Church, and Pentecostal Christianity.

Modern Theory and Ancient Ritual Today, seven generations later, you turn to us as your own culture is failing. The land you took from us, tricked us out of, is becoming too poisoned to feed you. Your rivers and streams are dying. I wonder, why do you turn to us now? Is it because through it all we never stopped praying? Never stopped beating our drums, dancing and singing songs to the Creator? And that somehow, somehow, you couldn’t silence us? Sioux Elder – Rosebud Reservation.

Navajo Sandpaintings as Successive Therapy Dr. Frank’s first component of a successful therapy is “an emotionally charged confiding relationship with a helping person” (1st ed. , 19). This element involves the therapist’s status/reputaion as well as the communication of caring, competence, and the absense of ulterior motives. American Indian Native communities have long since mastered the art of community healing. The traditional healers understand and recognize life’s goal as assistance to the tribe as a solitary unit.

Ethnologists evidence that traditional Navajo healers take energies that are interwoven into all aspects of being, keep to life history and traditions. They are embodiment of all valued in cultural, spiritual, medical way. At each step of the ceremony, the only person who really can see the entire sandpainting is the medicine man, and each painting is destroyed after the part of the ceremony ends. His key role is never doubted. The second element of a successful therapy according to Dr. Frank is a healing setting that heightens the client’s expectation of help from a healer and provides safety.

Navajo healing ceremonies and prayers are seen as a means of accomplishing community solidarity and affiliation. The ceremony lasts from 3 to 7 days, which involves habit and patience. Navajo healing elements imply the strong bond of health/well-being to the physical/spiritual world, which only then preserve in harmony if the “sa’ah naaghai bik’eh hozh” (SNBH) synthetic principle is kept (encourages affective engagement, proper family relations, an understanding of one’s cultural and spiritual histories, and the use of kinship terms).

The healing and the healer support the cultural context through the ceremonies and help to treat the individual as well as reaffirm the norms of the entire group. People’s relationships within this common behavioral environment are integral to their self-orientations, to their identities as Navajos, and to the therapeutic process. The third is “a rational, conceptual scheme or myth that provides a plausible explanation for the patient’s symptoms and prescribes a ritual or procedure for resolving them” (1st ed. , 20).

The Navajo People live in harmony with “Mother Earth” and “Father Sky”, and with all nature. When something bad happens to a member of the Dine (“The People”, as the Navajo call themselves), it is presumed that they have fallen out of harmony with their world, or surroundings, or unwittingly hurt or damaged some other part of their world. Then on a call of a “Handtrembler” (one skilled in ascertaining the cause or the nature of the illness), healers gather and start a specific prescribed chant to return the patient back to balance with the surroundings and spiritual realm.

The fourth is “a ritual that requires active participation of both patient and therapist and that is believed by both to be the means of restorting the patient’s health” (1st ed. , 20). The entire family helps with food, wood-hauling, water-hauling, and the medicine man usually brings helpers who work with him in drawing a figure on the hogan floor on which the patient will sit while the sing progresses.

Many different drawings are involved with each sing, as many as nine can be used in one ritual. The colored sands are collected from certain places (kinds of Earth and rock) all over the reservaiton, and after the pictures are destroyed, the sands used to draw them are dispersed in a careful manner. The patoent is not passive as he feels guilt for having destroyed harmony and is leenly involved into the process.

“A therapeutic program must be convincing to the sufferer — that is, rhetorically persuasive — whether or not it is scientifically or universally true” (Frank & Frank, 1993). In the Navajo case this principle proves itself.

Works Cited Frank D. J erome. “Persuasion and healing”. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1961. Frank D. J. and Frank J. “Persuasion And Healing: A Comparative Study of Psychotherapy. ” New York: Schocken, 1991.

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