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Sunday, December 22, 2013
Psychotherapist Vs Satan: A Case On Possession
In a psychotherapist’s
view, spirit possession is a byproduct of cultural influence and human’s own
mind game. For example, if we don’t tell our children ghost stories, then the
children will not have any clues of what ghosts really are. Added to that, it
does not add any values to our society when the public is exposed to too many
supernatural related issues.
Below is a
very dramatic classical case in psychology; it is a little long winded but worth
mentioning regardless if one is interested in psychology or otherwise.
The case of Satan possessed Mr. A
Mr. A is a
30 odd year old businessman whose father was a farmer. Although Mr. A was
brought up in an environment where superstitions prevails; he was not an ardent
Mr. A has
an over sensitive character; he also tends to indulge in endless loops of mind
conflicts and deep thoughts that caused him to self-punish and feeling guilty
on small matters. Having said so, Mr. A has no major psychological illnesses.
begun during the winter of 1890 after Mr. A returned from a business trip. He
became saddened and quiet. After that he lost the ability to speak. One day,
Mr. A fainted right after hugging his wife and kids. Poor old Mr. A suddenly
awakened two days later burst into queer laughter and shouted that ‘they’ are
burning him with fire.
situation worsened next day as Mr. A said that the house was filled with demons
and that the Satan has possessed his body. It was the Satan who has forced Mr.
A to coax out vulgar words. He subsequently escaped from his house and
attempted suicide in various occasions.
Mr. A was sent to Salpetriere Hospital and being treated by Charcot, who was a renowned
psychologist in the 19th century. Mr. A was subsequently referred to
Pierre Janet (1859 – 1947).
“Who are you?” – “I am the Satan!”
After Mr. A became Janet’s patient, Janet
discovered that Mr. A always curse God with a lower and coarser tone; followed
by an outburst of high pitch voice saying that it was the Satan who has forced
him to do such actions. These actions naturally can be confused as ‘demonic
At the beginning,
Janet used all available method to make Mr. A responsive to standard treatments
but failed because “the Satan inside Mr. A” was too powerful.
The subconscious communication channel
this incident, Janet found that hysterical patients observe their surroundings
through ‘subconscious layer’. For example, when a hysterical patient speaks and
one whispers: “lift your right arm”; the patient will comply while continue to
speak. Interestingly, the patient will not be able to perceive his/her action.
asked Mr. A to lift his right arm and true enough that Mr. A complied. And when
he was enquired on the reason that he has raised his right arm, Mr. A startled
and said: “The Satan had played a trick on me again!”
Mr. A’s Unforgiveable Sin
detailed interrogations, it finally transpired that Mr. A had visited a
prostitute during his last business trip. This action was insignificant to
many, but such action has caused Mr. A to feel guilty and his body begun to
itch and all in all led Mr. A in thinking that such was his ‘deserved
punishment’. Mr. A’s impulse wanting to repent caused him to lose his ability
to speak. His dream concerning being burnt in hell and that Satan has possessed
body causing Mr. A to curse God as he believed that it was Satan who did such
act with the original Mr. A dead.
Mr. A was hypnotized
and being told that what he has done was “not too severe”. His wife was brought
in to tell him personally that she has forgiven her husband’s unfaithful behavior
while Mr. A was still in his hypnotic state.
think that since Janet must have some kind of magical power as he was able to
communicate with the ‘Satan’ that possessed Mr. A and subsequently cast the
Satan out. In fact, Mr. A has a split personality and it wasn’t the case that
the Satan has any power; the ‘Satan’ was just Mr. A’s vivid subconscious mind.
psychotherapist’s ‘exorcism’ is base on a set of well founded theories and
treatments where they strive to remove patients’ internal mind conflicts. When
the objective is achieved, the ‘Satan’ automatically disappears. These
psychological treatments are totally different from secular religious and
magical exorcisms. Please don’t be confused.