Symposium on Neurosis Organized by Hinokishin School

A symposium entitled “Mental Illness and Salvation Work—Neurosis” was held on February 25 at the Home of the Parent. Hinokishin School has organized 15 symposia on various topics over the past five years. This symposium on neurosis was organized so that it might be of some help to the missionaries working to save those people suffering from “mental illness.” The symposium, which included two lectures and a panel discussion, drew about 240 participants.

The first lecture was given by Dr. Akira Kawata. He first pointed out, “Although the present world has become materially rich, the number of mental problems is increasing. The time has come for us to reflect on young people’s mental problems, suicide of middle-aged people, and dependency of various kinds. We have to take them as our own problems.” He then distinguished “neurosis” from “mental illness.” Neurosis differs from “mental illness” in that neurotics are self-conscious of their symptoms and there is no major damage to their brains. He went on to explain that neurosis is deeply rooted in anxiety, which anyone could experience; thus, anyone may well develop a neurosis.

Dr. Katsuhiko Kubo delivered the second lecture. He began his lecture by asserting, “It is necessary to know about the symptoms of neurosis, the causes of neurosis, and the way to overcome the illness, in order to help those who suffer from neurosis.” He then remarked on the relationship between the development of neurosis and individuals’ personal character by saying, “Those who are sensitive, perfectionistic, idealistic, or meticulous seem to be more susceptible to neurosis.” Individuals with such characters may, under great stress, become hypersensitive; it will increase their anxiety, thereby causing them to develop a neurosis.

Dr. Kubo furthermore pointed out that the formation of such characters is deeply related to their upbringings. “Many neurotics were,” he explained, “‘good children’ who caused no troubles for their parents. ‘Good children’ tend to worry overly about what their parents think, which prevents them from becoming independent of their parents. A rebellious phase is necessary, in this sense, to become independent. How parents relate to their children is an important issue here.” In order to save them from neurosis, we thus need to help them free themselves from their idea of what ‘good children’ should be like and to lead them to the point where they can reflect upon themselves and accept themselves as they are. It is also important to help them ponder over whether they are living according to their will or just to meet the expectations of people around them by pretending to be someone different from who they are.

He then suggested three basic ways to deal with neurotics. 1) We should listen well to what the patients say so that we can build a firm relationship with them. 2) We should not give an answer to them right away—we should rather lead them so that they can find an answer on their own. 3) We should approve of whatever they can do now, for they blame themselves for not being perfect. We should make them understand that they are good enough as they are now.

The lectures were followed by a panel discussion. Dr. Kawata commented that there is a limit to medical treatment because medicine can only lessen the symptoms. As a whole, the treatment of patients must be considered from a broader perspective so that we may give them the best treatment. Dr. Kubo then suggested that psychotherapy could cover some of the shortcomings of medical treatment. He further remarked that psychotherapy requires a close relationship between therapists and patients where therapists themselves are involved in patients’ growth. Such a way of treating patients has many things in common with salvation work of the path.

Share this article:

Comments are closed.