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[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, Virginia.]
 


The Treatment of Schizophrenia
 

Chapter 8
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, and pharmacology.

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.
 

Therapeutic Model

    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.
 

Research Implications

    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 acceptance today).

    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.
 

Conclusion

    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.

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