The Rationale Of Psychotherapy

The foundation of rational therapeutics is in pathology, etiology, and diagnosis. We must get at the cause of a malady before we can give the patient intelligent treatment. After we have detected and eliminated the cause, we have made such rapid progress in the treatment of the patient that we are rapidly accomplishing a cure. It is already in sight. The true mission of the physician is to lead the patient to the goal where he can be independent of him. The modern treatment of tuberculosis has illustrated what can be done for the patient by instruction in the art of living, so as to maintain the highest degree of resistive power in the cells of his organism, enabling them to overcome the ravages of the tubercle bacillus, and, as the result of the application of rational, hygienic, dietetic, and educational measures, this disease is lessening every year. The true physician holds no secrets of his profession from his patients. He gives them the benefit of all his knowledge. He strives to make his patient, who is his pupil, perfect in health, even as himself.

This attitude on the part of the physician toward his patient marks the most important step in the evolutionary progress of medicine. Most of the human ills which we are called upon to treat are due to violations of right living. The restoration of the patient to habits of normal living constitutes the highest scientific treatment - it offers cure for the present and prevention for the future. The profession of medicine is outgrowing the mere function of prescribing drugs, and is rapidly taking its place as the science of sanitation, dietetics, education, and hygiene. The profession of medicine began in its infancy by efforts to make the sick well, but to that has been added the effort to secure and maintain the health of the patient. Such is the function of rational psychotherapy.

Good health - a sane mind and a strong body - is an acquirement. It must be earned by the individual by his own personal efforts, but the average individual has not evolved sufficient intelligence to be willing to pay the price for detailed instruction in the way to acquire and maintain a condition of perfect health. He prefers to pay a man who is willing to dope him on drugs, carve his body, and allow him to live in open violation to the known laws of health. Some are unwilling to pay the price in personal effort to achieve the coveted goal. They prefer to remain victims of irrational living, even positively refusing to conform their lives to the regimen outlined for their restoration and preservation.

Nature's laws are infallible. They reap as they sow, and the harvest is measured by the increase in new-dug graves, by the constantly increasing number of inmates in our insane asylums, and by the weak bodies and imperfect nervous organizations everywhere in evidence. These cases are amenable to treatment by rational therapeutics, as is being illustrated by the every-day practice of the physician who dares exercise the intelligence and courage to make employment of such measures as secure for the patient conformity to the physiological conditions whereby health may be acquired and maintained. But much depends upon the intelligent co-operation of the patient. Some there are who are too stupid to exercise their potentialities in normal lines of thought and action whereby results can be obtained, even after detailed instruction in hygiene, dietetics, exercise, and normal living has been given them. These constitute the incompetents, which will ever be a burden upon society, but they are being reduced just in proportion as the physician can induce them to follow sane, rational, normal methods of thought and action.