Applied Psychoanalysis > Faiths

Therapy by Faith 

By Ovidiu Dima

Therapy by faith is no late discovery. It  pervades the New Testament, related as it is to Jesus Christ's life and divine mission on earth. The scriptures are abundant in stories of miraculous healing performed by Jesus and his disciples. Their authors mainly quote those cases when Jesus approaches his "patients" by asking: "Do you trust me I can heal you?"

Right after the healing (quite often performed in the absence of patients themselves, by means  of a human agent confident in Jesus' charisma), Jesus would say: "It's been your faith that has saved you". What do his words mean?

Belief in Jesus and his healing capacities involve some strong  emotional excitement, some devotional fervor. That which psychically characterizes the faith phenomenon is the strong stimulation of the eros - a sublimated eros, of course - freed from its sexual function. That eros in  fact represents the agent and vehicle of healing.

The transfer of love stimulated by Jesus' charismatic person (but also by that of nowadays' therapists, people with a reputation and a public image) is also known  to therapy by hypnosis. Psychoanalysis itself is well acquainted with emotional transfer and its beneficial effect on the patient. In one of his letters to his younger fellow colleague Jung, Freud stated that the main agent for the healing of neurotic people is the fixation of the unconscious libido - providing the strength necessary to the "perception and translation of the unconscious".

In other words, where there is love on the patients' part, one can notice their beneficial participation in the healing process. After all, Freud would conclude, what we are dealing with here is healing by love. And this specific healing shows that  "neuroses depend on erotic life".

The above also simply demonstrate the range of diseases accessible to therapy by faith. Jesus' "patients" mostly suffered from diseases palsy, blindness, psychomotor disabilities, etc.

Whereas today almost all specialists have agreed on the psychic nature of these diseases in Biblical casuistry, they say that we are dealing with neurotic disorders and mainly hysteria.

The fact that these specific diseases (hysteria) have to do with disorders of the eros is no more novelty to anyone. Therefore, the deliverance of the eros from its inhibitions is the main credit of therapy by belief.

There are diseases in the scriptures, nevertheless, that cannot be reduced to some traumatic etiology - the so-called confirmation disorders. But we shall deal  with these on a later opportunity.

Let us conclude that love (with or without some material object) generally has therapeutic value. Where there is love, there is little room for neuroses. And  love can be stimulated by faith. Faith in Jesus, in his beneficial charisma, or in the healing abilities of a therapist in flesh and blood.

--
Paper published in OMEN - Romanian Journal of Psychoanalysis - no. 1, 1998. Translation by Mihaela Cristea

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