Adler and the Autonomic Nervous System via Sarno

Kristen Sparrow • December 16, 2011

I’ve been reading “The Divided Mind” by John Sarno. He is a physician rehab specialist who has made a name for himself identifying psychological causes of musculoskeletal pain. (See this previous post.) Alfred Adler joined Freud in 1902, but then split off because of differences in “models”(my term.) According to Sarno, “he was the first to recognize that the psyche could induce physical symptoms by initiating physiological pathology.” Adler wrote ” The mind is able to activate the physical conditions. The emotions and their physical expressions tell us how the mind is wcting and reacting in a situation it interprets as favorable or unfavorable.” “A mental tension affects both the ectral nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.” The body through the autonomic nervsou system, the vagus nerve and the endocrine vatiations, is set into movement which can manifest itself in alterations of the blood circulation, of the secretions, of the muscle tonus, and of almost all the organs.”

I like this because of what I’ve seen in my own clinic and research, i.e. the role of stress and “tension” in illness and disease. And also because the Chinese ancients saw the pivotal role of emotions in illness. In Chinese Medicine each organ and entrail has it’s own role in the psyche. The emotions, or passions were one of the seven “perversive energies.” It’s actually sort of a “duh” tell me something I don’t know.
Just last week I saw a patient who had gone to an alternative diagnostician who had said that she had fire in her liver. The patient couldn’t understand that at all since she’s Windex healthy and active and I suggested that it was because of her nasty divorce and she burst into tears, and felt so much better having seen the connection. It’s all related. What do you think?
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