Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 134 of 149 
Next page End Contents 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139  

prevention--and should save billions and billions once we start using
Physical complaints can be, of course, clues to physical disorders,
but pain and fatigue can be clues to psychological problems too. In
this section, we are dealing with stress and other psychologically
caused disorders in the body. The pain is just as severe, regardless of
whether the cause is physical or psychological. In the sections above
about sources and effects of stress, we observed the stress-health
connection. It works both ways: stress causes physical problems and
physical factors cause emotions, e.g. the hormones in PMS cause
tension, irritability, sadness, etc. PMS can be reduced by psychological
self-help (Lark, 1995) and chemicals. In chapter 6 we will likewise see
that depression is related to physical tiredness and sleep disorders. 
Hippocrates, 400 years before Christ, thought certain personal-
emotional traits were related to specific diseases. We are getting more
and more scientific evidence for this. Dependable and conscientious
young people live as much as four years longer than impulsive,
undependable, self-centered people (Friedman, et al., 1995). People
more prone to cancer tend to be depressed and/or worriers; they
suppress their anxiety and hostile feelings, avoid conflict, act
unassertively (overly patient) and feel hopeless; they long for
closeness but feel abandoned in important relationships or at work,
and just don't handle stress well (Temoshok, 1992). People prone to
get heart disease tend to be angry, impatient, and aggressive but
sometimes avoid expressing their anger openly; they have repeatedly
been annoyed and upset with people opposing them or getting in their
way, and they resent not having the power to remove such people;
they are suspicious and cynically distrustful, feeling no one cares; they
are often trying to get away from someone who has hurt or
disappointed them (Eysenck, 1988). Both the cancer-prone and the
heart disease-prone persons feel tense and fearful. Many bad,
unhappy things have happened in their lives which they think they
were unable to prevent. 
A few simple questions about these traits can supposedly identify
the cancer or the heart disease prone person. Moreover, Eysenck says
that psychotherapy--and I'd add perhaps self-help--can change a
person's personality enough that serious disease can be prevented!
Wonderful! What are we waiting for? Eysenck (1988) and Ronald
Grossarth-Maticek provided "treatment" designed to help these
patients (1) express their feelings, (2) learn to relax and handle
stress, (3) overcome their passive-dependent nature, and (4) gain
greater self-control. Both kinds of "at risk" patients were taught to
relax and overcome their fears (via desensitization), to be more
confidently assertive but less angry and aggressive, to see themselves
as able and actually be more in control (less passive-dependent or
helpless), to express and release pent up feelings, and to know how to
handle difficulties in their lives. The individual therapy involved 30
hours, but groups and shortened therapy lasting only 6-8 hours were
also tried. The results of this therapy were impressive--the death rates
Previous page Top Next page

« Back