Psychologies – East and West Seminar: April 1975


A Special Weekend Symposium
April 19 and 20, 1975

Office of Continuing Medical Education and Department of Psychiatry

In cooperation with

The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge

Ways of Healing poster

In the West today, there is increasing concern with humanistic and psychosocial aspects of medicine, as well as holistic and ecological perspectives.

The outstanding achievements of modern medicine are known to all of us—the control of infectious diseases, development of surgical procedures, and the management of diseases using biomedical technology. These advances have resulted from Western emphasis on analytic techniques and technical solutions to problems of health and disease.

Other systems of medicine—Chinese, Hippocratic and American Indian—have developed along other lines, with different emphases, concerns and specializations. An open-minded examination of these different approaches may give us new perspectives about our own current medical effort; including the health-oriented and educative aspects of medical care and the development of techniques to enable individuals to take more active roles in their own health care.

This weekend symposium presents speakers who are key participants in the emerging trend to synthesize modern medicine with those elements of ancient medicine that are appropriate to our own culture.

Ample time is provided for questions and discussion.

Saturday, April 19 Morning Session

9:00–10:30 Holistic Approaches in Ancient and Contemporary Medicine: An Introduction

A new willingness is emerging within modern medicine to reconsider some of the ancient systems of healing in light of contemporary science and present-day health needs. An overview will be presented on how such study can serve to complement and extend our understanding of medicine as a scientific and humanistic endeavor. Some of the problems associated with the theoretical and practical integration of traditional systems of medicine will also be considered.

10:3012:00 Hippocrates in Modern Dress

An analysis of medical trends throughout history reveals the importance of social attitudes in shaping the predominant medical ideas at any given time or place. The Greek myth of Asclepius and his daughters Hygeia and Panakeia symbolizes the alternation between two complementary trends in medicine: the maintenance of health by wise living and the control of disease by preventive and therapeutic measures. The development of the germ theory and the doctrine of specific etiology and the ecological perspectives of Hippocratic medicine will be reconsidered and re-evaluated.

Afternoon Session

2:003:30 Navajo Indian Medicine and Medicine Men

Medicine men are still active among the people of several American Indian tribes, and notwithstanding the introduction of modern medicine, the demand for their services is not diminishing. For the most part, their healing ceremonies are complex, subtle and effective, involving a powerful symbolic drama in which the patient acts out a successful and harmonious adaptation to conflicting internal and external forces. Western medicine can learn much from these medicine men—about ways of interacting with patients that have either been forgotten or never developed, and about Indian ways of training healers that can enrich our own methods of training.

3:305:00 Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture: Theory, Practice and Research

There has been a recent surge of public and professional interest in the practices and theory of traditional Chinese medicine. This lecture will present an overview of current scientific research on the mechanisms and applications of acupuncture in anesthesiology, rehabilitation as well as dentistry. In addition, the attempts to integrate traditional Chinese and Western medicine and the public programs in China today will be evaluated.

Sunday, April 20 Morning Session

9:0010:30 Psychological Factors in Healing

Since the person is a psychobiological unit, mental states can profoundly affect bodily healing processes. An examination of healing rituals in non-industrialized societies, the so-called miracle cures, and the clinical and experimental studies on placebo effect and the relation of mood to recuperative capacity reveals powerful psychological forces which need to be investigated and applied more effectively in therapeutic relationships.

10:3012:00 Biofeedback, Meditation and the Voluntary Control of Internal States

Western science has only recently begun to explore the possibilities for training the voluntary control of internal physiological and mental states. Scientific studies of ancient yogic techniques as well as the development of biofeedback technology provide objective readings of bodily activities and represent a major breakthrough in the area of psychosomatic research and mind-body self-regulation. Experimental work is being done in the following areas: tension headache and migraine, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension, Raynaud’s disease, epilepsy, and muscle retraining. The clinical applications of biofeedback, meditation and relaxation techniques, as well as the implications for preventive medicine and health maintenance will be evaluated.

Afternoon Session

2:003:30 New Discussions in Health Care

The implications derived from a synthesis of ancient systems of healing and modern medicine may have far-reaching effects on improved health systems, medical training, public health policies, and greater environmental concern in the field of medicine. Questions will be taken from the audience.

3:305:00 The Wisdom of the Body: Man Adapting

The oldest healing forces known are those of the organism itself-the mechanisms of adaptation which have developed throughout biological and social evolution. The states of health and disease are the expression of the success or failure experienced by the organism in attempting to respond adaptively to environmental challenges such as pollution, crowding, noise, microbes, etc. The so-called diseases of civilization may represent the limitations of such adaptive responses and require a broad environmental perspective for medicine.

The Faculty

ROBERT L BERGMAN, M.D., is Chief of Mental Health Programs, Indian Health Service, and for the past eight years has been practicing psychiatry among the American Indian people and working closely with Navajo medicine men. He has written several papers on the relationship of Western and Indian traditions of healing and is currently a clinical associate in the Department of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico, and a faculty member of the medicine man training school at Rough Rock, Arizona.

RENE DUBOS, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of the Rockefeller University, is a microbiologist and experimental pathologist. His early research included work on the development of antimicrobial drugs. More recently he has been studying the effects that environmental forces-physicochemical, biological, and social-exert on human life. Dr. Dubois is also well known as an author and lecturer. His books include: The Mirage of Health; Man Adapting;Man, Medicine and Environment; So Human an Animal; and Beast or Angel: Choices that Make Us Human.

JEROME D. FRANK, M.D., Ph. D., Professor Psychiatry Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is an eminent researcher and clinician in the field of psychotherapy. His major research interest has been the elucidation of the healing components shared by all methods of psychotherapy, about which he has written numerous research papers and a book, Persuasion and Healing.

MATHEW LEE, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Medical Center; Professor of Special Care, New York University School of Dentistry; serves as Coordinator of Acupuncture Research, NYU Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine; and investigates the use of acupuncture in dental analgesia and pain control. He recently visited China as a member of a medical delegation.

GARY E. SCHWARTZ, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Personality Psychology, Department of Psychology and Social Relations, Harvard University; and also Chief of Psychophysiology, Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center, Massachusetts General Hospital. His principal research interests are in biofeedback and the cognitive control of psychophysiological processes and treatment of psychosomatic disorders. He is the author of numerous papers in these areas and is an editor of the forthcoming volumes Biofeedback: Theory and Research and Consciousness and Self Regulation: Advances in Research.

DAVID S. SOBEL is Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge and a student in medicine at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco. He is currently editing a book Ways of Health which deals with the subjects and perspectives presented in this symposium.

Program co-chairmen are David S. Sobel and Mel Roman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Director of Group and Family Studies in the Department of Psychiatry at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center.