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Quotes: Role of psychology in healing the body

Rollo May:

"When I was ill with tuberculosis two and a half decades ago, I found that my inherited "will power" was strangely ineffective. In those days, the only cure was bed rest and carefully graduated exercise. We could not will ourselves to get well, and the "strong-willed," dominating type of person sick with TB generally got worse. But I found that listening to my body was of critical importance in my cure. ... This may seem like a poetic and "mystical" viewpoint for someone seriously ill to be indulged in, but actually it was a hard-rock, empirical issue of whether I would live or die. ... There is, therefore, a willing which is not merely against bodily desires but with the body, a willing from within; it is a willing of participation rather than opposition.

J. Allan Hobson:

"The best doctor, then, is the self, the only agent who can engineer sound health practices. This view, and its application to our mental and physical health, is something I call 'scientific humanism.'"

Edward Tenner:

"But as yet there is still no reliable technique to establish the existence of suffering. Insurance company lawyers may call automobile whiplash injury a license to steal because no objective imaging procedure or test can diagnose it, but a strained muscle or sprained ligament in the neck is an extremely painful condition that can arise from even a minor collision. As often happens, such injuries may easily be faked. And perhaps there is a borderline region in which honest people, knowing that even minor symptoms are grounds for compensation, subconsciously focus on their pain, amplifying it. Yet the most recent research on whiplash injury suggests that there is no relationship between "neuroticism" and time needed for recovery."


Rollo May, Love and Will, New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1969. p 239-240.

J. Allan Hobson. The Chemistry of Conscious States: How the Brain Changes its Mind. (Originally 1994). p 225.

Edward Tenner. Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. p. 213.


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