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Symington, N. (2003). Healing the Mind: What is the Process? What is the Healer's Task?. Fort Da, 9(2):10-26.

(2003). Fort Da, 9(2):10-26

Healing the Mind: What is the Process? What is the Healer's Task?

Neville Symington

How on earth do I heal someone else's mind? It is obvious, I think, when I put it that way—that it is not something that I can do. I cannot do this to you and you cannot do it to me. The word do immediately strikes the wrong chord.

Some years ago I was in a distressed state. My mind was in turbulence. It was not, I might say, a unique occasion, but the circumstances that led to it were overwhelming to me, more so than usual. Large waves I was used to, but rarely a tidal wave. I could see no solution. I was at a dead end. Fortuitously, a friend asked me to accompany him to a cottage that sat on the saddle of a hill, on each side of which were beautiful views. It was not in an English-speaking country, and my friend's first language was not English. Apart from myself, there came my friend's brother and two old associates of his. I stayed for five days at this cottage, and the routine of the day was like this: We all rose in the morning at about seven, and we were served with a cup of tea each; then we went for a walk that lasted about half an hour and returned for breakfast. When this was over, my friend, his brother, and two associates sat down at a table and played cards. I had with me a history of the country and a couple of other books, and, armed with them, I went into the garden and sat and read until lunchtime. It was reflective reading. I was in no hurry, and I quite often stopped and allowed thoughts to stray across my mind. After lunch I had a rest, and in the late afternoon my friend, his brother, the other two, and I went for a drive through a countryside that was new to me. In the evening we had dinner. One of the party had brought a bottle of whisky, and he gave each one of us a night-cap; after a few relaxed exchanges of conversation, we all went to bed. That was the routine, and each of the five days was similar. I mention five days so that you will be assured that it was a true analysis.

The drive from the city to this cottage took about three hours, and I sat at the back with my friend and we talked. Each of the five days, I talked a little when on the morning walk and also during the evening drive.

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