[NOTE: The following selection comes from "The Treatment of Schizophrenia"
by David McMillin. Copyright © 1991 by David McMillin.
Used with permission. All rights reserved. The Treatment of
Schizophrenia is currently available from A.R.E. Press in Virginia Beach,
The Treatment of Schizophrenia
Summary and Conclusion
The psychic readings of Edgar Cayce represent
an opportunity and a challenge for individuals interested in alleviating
the suffering caused by major mental illness. Although this book focuses
on schizophrenia, the readings also address other major disorders including
anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and dementia.
The Cayce approach to treating schizophrenia can
be summarized as follows:
1. The diagnostic label of schizophrenia refers to a group of related
illnesses with varied etiologies and outcome.
2. There is a strong somatic component to this disorder which must be
addressed in treatment.
3. The symptoms of schizophrenia result from dysfunction within the
brain but etiological patterns usually involve systemic dysfunction.
4. Within the physical body, multiple systems are usually involved in
the schizophrenic process, primarily the central and autonomic nervous
systems and the endocrine system.
5. In cases where the disorder progresses to a chronic condition, the
prognosis is less favorable. This condition involves brain degeneration
and is a difficult process to reverse. Early diagnosis and treatment greatly
improves the prognosis.
6. Genetic factors often play a significant role in the development
of schizophrenia. Genetic factors are not simplistic entities, but vary
in influence from being "innate" (very likely to manifest regardless of
other factors) to being only "tendencies" (i.e., inherited vulnerability
as proposed in the diathesis/stress model).
7. Pregnancy and birth complications (PBCs) play a significant role
in the etiology of schizophrenia.
8. Spinal injury and other forms of somatic dysfunction are important
etiological factors in the production of psychotic symptoms.
9. Stress is often an important etiological factor in the production
of schizophrenic symptoms.
10. The human body contains interfaces with spiritual and mental dimensions
of reality. These interfaces ("centers") exist within the glandular and
nervous systems. Chemical imbalances or injury to these systems can disrupt
these centers producing the psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia.
11. The treatment of schizophrenia requires a holistic perspective which
typically involves spiritual, mental, and physical interventions. These
therapies include osteopathic or chiropractic treatments, massage, electrotherapy,
diet, companionship, therapeutic milieu, hypnotic suggestion, exercise,
12. Cayce's holistic perspective involves spiritual and metaphysical
constructs such as karma and spirit possession. These transpersonal aspects
were not cited in every case, and thus may be most appropriately viewed
as complications of the pathological process rather than specific to schizophrenia.
In keeping with the holistic philosophy of the Edgar
Cayce readings, a therapeutic model has been proposed which addresses the
dimensions of body, mind and spirit. In the simplest possible conceptualization,
this approach can be represented as:
1. Establish a therapeutic milieu with an emphasis on "spiritual" qualities
such as patience, gentleness, altruistic service, etc. while simultaneously
providing opportunities for growth and development. Outdoor activities
in the sunshine and fresh air are also emphasized. Companion therapy is
sometimes necessary to implement and maintain a therapeutic milieu.
2. Provide somatic interventions which address the fundamental physical
dimension of this disorder. Manual medicine, electrotherapy including vibratory
metals, diet, exercise, and appropriate pharmacology play a crucial role
in the physical treatment of schizophrenia.
3. Utilize suggestive therapeutics to rebuild and redirect the mental
processes of the client. Various cognitive and behavioral techniques are
employed in conjunction with naturalistic hypnosis so as to apply the principle,
"mind is the builder."
Although the specific treatment plan may vary from
individual to individual, the therapeutic principles as discussed in Chapter
4 apply in all cases. While the discussion of therapeutic techniques in
Chapter 5 is not exhaustive, it does provide an introduction to these modalities
while suggesting other available sources of information. A therapeutic
model has been provided in Chapter 6 which proposes two possible applications
(private practitioner and institutional format) of the Cayce approach while
encouraging alternative usage of the material.
The therapeutic model presented in Chapter 6 should
be subjected to empirical validation and this eventuality is discussed
in Chapter 7. Variability resulting from heterogeneity and nonspecificity
represents a formidable obstacle to schizophrenia research. The Cayce readings
have important implications for abating variability. The various pathophysiological
patterns noted in readings provide a basis for recognizing subgroups in
this disorder. Nonspecifity resulting from overlap of schizophrenia with
other disorders such as bipolar and epilepsy provides an opportunity to
understand the relationship between symptoms and the systemic interactions
which produce them.
The Cayce readings recommend numerous techniques
and devices which should be researched. Electrotherapy utilizing the wet
cell battery is a possible area of research. When this appliance was used
with chloride of gold, the readings maintained that the glandular system
could secrete substances capable of regenerating the nervous system of
persons suffering from chronic schizophrenia. Manual medicine is another
therapeutic modality which can be researched to determine its potential
contribution to the treatment of schizophrenia. The research literature
of osteopathy may also provide important insights into meaning of ANS and
endocrine abnormalities in schizophrenia.
Pitfalls and Potentials
A major weakness of the Cayce approach to treating
schizophrenia is the lack of direct validation of the model. Although Cayce
gave numerous readings for persons suffering from schizophrenia, only a
few individuals applied the suggested treatments in a consistent manner.
This lack of compliance is understandable given the limited resources available
at the state mental hospitals of that era and the unique source of the
information (psychic diagnosticians are not likely to receive much greater
When the suggestions were consistently followed,
however, positive results were usually obtained. The extensive documentation
of osteopathic and chiropractic successes using comparable models is intended
to provide some clinical cross-validation of Cayce's approach. The only
way to fully remedy the problem of insufficient direct validation is to
replicate the treatments suggested by Cayce in a contemporary setting.
With this in mind, Chapter 6 proposed a therapeutic model which addressed
these issues and provided a means of empirical validation.
One must seriously consider the ramifications of
applying this model because the effort required for its application is
obviously great. There are three reasons for considering the Cayce material:
1) it provides a comprehensive perspective on the etiology and developmental
course of schizophrenia, 2) the descriptions and suggestions contained
in the readings are congruent with the prevailing scientific literature,
and 3) most importantly, it offers the potential for an extremely effective
therapeutic model. Points 1 and 3 are interrelated because an understanding
of the etiology and course of schizophrenia offers the possibility of "cure
by removal of cause." These realizations underlie the thesis of this book
- namely, that the psychic readings of Edgar Cayce provide a plausible
perspective on the etiology and treatment of schizophrenia and are deserving
of serious consideration by progressive mental health professionals.
Some Alternative Applications
Edgar Cayce often cautioned against forming a cult
or idolizing his work. He consistently encouraged persons to work within
and through existing institutions in a spirit of cooperation for the benefit
of humanity. It is with this spirit that the Cayce perspective on schizophrenia
has been presented. There will undoubtedly be many who are interested in
this approach but may have various objections. The possibility that "psychic"
information could be legitimate and useful may be viewed as unfeasible
by many mental health professionals due to the materialistic assumptions
inherent in the current scientific paradigm. Or perhaps the Judeo-Christian
language and orientation of the readings will be an obstacle for others
with a different religious or philosophical bias. It is not the intent
of this book to convert anyone to the Cayce perspective in any regard.
Rather, the purpose is to stimulate readers to consider therapeutic alternatives.
It doesn't really matter what one calls the model, so long as it is helpful
to those devastated by chronic mental illness.
Most of the information in the Cayce readings can
be found elsewhere in reputable sources. The citations in this book can
be used as stepping stones for those persons interested in this approach
but who are unable to identify with the source of the material for whatever
reasons. For these individuals, some alternative applications are provided
in chapter 6. Briefly, these alternatives can be regarded as stress management
programs or manual therapy models (as derived from the osteopathic and
chiropractic literature). The intentional resemblance of the proposed therapeutic
model (institutional format) in Chapter 6 to many community mental health
programs provides an open door for various alternative applications.
The Cayce approach to the treatment of schizophrenia
is worthy of consideration by mental health professionals. It presents
a comprehensive perspective with considerable clinical and research potential.
Its application may provide help to many who suffer from this disorder
and are not receiving benefit from prevailing programs. However, it is
not being promoted as a therapeutic panacea. Although Edgar Cayce stated
that many individuals suffering from this disorder could be returned to
a "normal or near to normal" condition, he was also careful to explain
that treatment would require patience and persistence and a response by
the body involved. It is with this attitude of cautious optimism that the
Cayce perspective is presented for consideration.