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December 26, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(26):2221-2222. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02540260023006

The interest recently manifested by the church in psychotherapy may result in immense benefit, or in immense detriment, according as it is wisely or unwisely guided. As American, French and German psychologists have shown, psychotherapy benefits by employing mental forces which sometimes, indeed, run through religious channels and respond only to a touch which the subject recognizes as consecrated; yet these, if not controlled by some religious faith, may be utilized as well by the materialist as by the wild fanatic or the devout churchman. The "consolations of religion" are full of peace and hope—to those who can receive them. Thus they bestow that very condition of quietude and relaxation which releases the unconscious mind from the control of the conscious. This effect flows, not from the verity of any particular religious creed, but from the faith and reliance which the believer reposes in it. On the other hand, those