The Islamic Post

Having failed many years of conventional medical treatment, a gentleman approached me seeking EGM therapy for his diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). After many months of counseling, the patient seemed to be adhering to the rationale that he first received from psychiatrists regarding his affliction.

Having failed many years of conventional medical treatment, a gentleman approached me seeking EGM therapy for his diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). After many months of counseling, the patient seemed to be adhering to the rationale that he first received from psychiatrists regarding his affliction. This is despite the fact that he has had no helpful explanation for what has occurred and continues to suffer pain and mental anguish. To no avail I have tried to convey to him that this problem cannot be organic in nature but may result in organic signs and symptoms. Exhaustedly, I have reiterated to him that the current paradigm of science cannot explain the etiology of mental disease which is likely why his psychological state persists. The evidence of this premise is seen in the fact that a considerable amount of the field of psychiatry dwells in theory and conjecture. As I reflect on the considerable efforts put forth explaining the rationale of EGM to him, I am left wondering why is there such antagonism for one to consider the possibility of a non-organic basis for mental disease?

The word “psychiatry” was derived in the 19th century by the German physician, Johann Reil. It originates from the Greek word psyche (soul) and iatros (healer). That being said it then stands to reason, that the original precepts of psychiatry, involved the idea of a soul and hence the idea of God. This begs the question “why is there an inherent drive in psychiatry to remove the idea of God in regards to explaining and treating mental disease?” “Why is there antagonism to even consider the possibility of a connection between God and mental affliction?”

I believe the answer lies in the psychiatric movement of the 20th Century. It was in the beginning of this era (the 1900s) that the idea of God began to be removed from the field. In the first place, God and the idea of a soul were considered abstract. Consequently the other medical subspecialities didn’t consider psychiatry a “real” or concrete scientific discipline. In an effort to make the field more medically valid, a biological theory was developed to explain the observable behaviors in mental disease patients. What followed was the development of extremely barbaric practices and torture methods as a means of treatment for these now “biologic” diseases. These medieval physicians tormented millions of people to no avail, in an effort to propagate this biological model. The next reason was even more perverse. Doctors in the medieval period noticed that these torture methods led to significant monetary gain. Additionally they began developing asylums, which afforded the ability to concentrate those with mental disorders, thus reducing the apparent social strain on families and society at large. This added to the possible financial assets and as the money increased so did the torture and propagation of the inept biological model. Added to this was the fact that asylums could make a fee by allowing spectators to view the bizarre behaviors of the “inmates “on a daily basis. These traditions persist today, although not as obscene. Not only has the torture methods survived in the form of “treatments” such as Electroconvulsive Therapy (or ECT), the field of mental healthcare is a billion-dollar-a-year industry and growing. The drug industry is inundated with a myriad of medications that offer no cure and barely relieve symptoms.

When is enough, enough? Have we not made a substantial financial gain at the expense of the suffering of millions of people? For the sake of humanity we need to return to the original precepts of psychiatry and at least consider a diseased soul the root of psychiatric afflictions.

The solution lies in aspects of science that have yet to be explored in the current model. After years of research it appears that the underlying philosophy of the EGM treatment modality—the Sufic Scientific Method– holds the key to this understanding. Simply stated this is the understanding of created things—including a soul—as a reflection of the attributes of God as perceived by those who are in tune with Him. It appears that this perception cannot be learned by toil and effort but is endowed upon an individual by the grace and mercy of the Creator. As this is the case, one may improve the chances for reaching this level of discernment with their effort, for this provides evident proof to the Almighty that you are so inclined to this level of understanding. Conversely, the current perception of scientific knowledge is based on the nature of things created as perceived by man. The very nature of this idea attempts to exclude the Creator from the equation and in doing so, limits the scope in understanding the reality of created things. Even the father of medicine, Hippocrates, was a proponent of the Sufic scientific perspective as he eloquently summed up the ideology in an utterance: “Upon the physician may there be the strengthening of Almighty God and obedience to Him and good council and a remembering of the secrets of disease.’ ‘Verily he shall not administer any deadly drug nor point one out.’ ‘He must be far from all pollution and defilement.’ ‘He must not search for excesses, idling way his time in pleasure, sleep, eating and drinking or in play.’ ‘But he must be eager to give treatment to the poor and to people of poverty.’ ‘He must be gentle of speech, soft in talk, and near to God.”

I originally set out to appeal to the idea of scientific endeavor that drives many scientists, but now I am appealing to the humanity aspect of people who care for one another.
If we consider the scientific approach of the Sufis as remotely possible—or that Hippocrates and early psychiatrists were correct in their estimation—I believe we will see tangible results in reversing the dismal trend in those suffering from mental afflictions. The objective is not to denounce current psychiatry as blasphemy, but to impart to true scientists that there is an inherent science in studying God and the notion of a soul. If this is channeled appropriately, some of the mysteries of psychiatry that now only reside in the realm of theory, may then become a tangible reality! And as always, Only by God, the Almighty and All Glorious, can we be healed.


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