The Person: A Spiritual, Psychophysical Unity, Suffering and Healing

Stothard, Thomas; The Fall; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-fall-227262

The person can be described as multidimensional. The person firstly exists and does so as an individual participant within the larger universe. The fact of her existence would be a concrete, living truth which is a creative and dynamic unity. Ultimately a person becomes who one is through the free expression of their will. One’s actions make the potential a reality. The person participates in their creation from a universal basis which is the spiritual, existential reality of their being a psychophysiological unity. This unity is relational with the person as a separate, individual participant in the world. The separateness of our reality is felt as aloneness and in the experiences of anxiety and despair. We are anxious of the possibility of, and despair at the realities of death, condemnation, and meaninglessness. Our ills have physical, psychological, and ultimately spiritual dimensions. They are ultimately spiritual because suffering involves the totality of the person and brings us to a recognition of our existential aloneness. Healing’s aim is to re-establish the wholeness of the person in the world, involving the right relationship with it. Physically this means an intervention involving matter: surgery, pharmacotherapy, prosthetic devices and so on. Psychologically, it involves a recognition and resolution of conflicts. Spiritually speaking, healing involves the development of an attitude of acceptance and thankful dependence. In psychiatry these three separate healing roles are adopted through the administration of medication and the “talking cure” both of which are carried out in an atmosphere of understanding as two persons share their solitude.

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