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 religious follower.


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.


The trouble 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.


The 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.


Finally, 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 possession”.


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


Prior to 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.


So, Janet 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


After some 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.


The Cure


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.


The Analysis


You may 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.


The Conclusion


The 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.


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