I'm considering the title above. Ifwe look at delusion as a defense (versus a diagnostic criterion), then ofcourse it would be operating in the service of the ego. So what's my need toemphasize it as a title to this entry? I think it's my intellectualized way ofdefending against MY difficulty in tolerating what feels like a recentand be made to "disappear" through means of certain diets and homeopathic remedies, and the occasional promise from a medical professional. Healed completely. Well, why wouldn't someone with MS want to believe that? It sounds wonderful. Hopeful. Makes one think things can return to normal, the old pre-MS versus the new, not fully integrated “I have MS” normal.
Someone I met recently, who is studying to be a homeopath, wanted to know if I work to help my patients accept their MS, versus encouraging their hope or belief (like hers) that MS can be cured through diet and herbal remedies. I didn't know how to respond, given that I just met this woman and that it didn't seem like the best context (a Shiva house) to debate her aforementioned beliefs and her additional conviction that Lyme's Disease causes MS. Is the last suggestion that relevant to the main point I am making? Not directly, but I mention it because, to me, it’s an example of connections being made that seem rather random, done in the service of ego soothing. This, versus tolerating the information that is real and valid, based on actual research and scientific inquiry. Information, that to many, betrays hope. For example, having a conviction that the Paleo diet CAN cure MS engenders hope, and I wonder if that is a problem to be challenged? This is one of my quandaries. I tend to operate around this issue with the philosophy of “if it’s not hurting you, and it’s helping you feel like you have some control over your disease, when otherwise you do not, go ahead.” And the Paleo diet actually is quite healthy, so how do I argue against one engaging in it? It’s not the incorporating of the diet that’s the issue; it’s the belief that this diet IS
the MS cure that has me concerned. I believe very strongly in the way I practice as a psychologist.
I also believe and trust the physicians and other MS experts whose work and research have produced as clear an understanding as is currently possible about how MS functions and how it can be treated...and how it cannot be cured...yet (or maybe ever). So when patients come to session asserting that certain diets (Eg., Paleo, Swank) are KNOWN to eradicate all that is MS, or worse, hearing from a medical professional promises, yes, promises that this professional WILL find a cure for MS, I am left with my mouth horror-struck (no one ever said I have a poker face) and feeling flummoxed as to what to say. I feel awash in conflict. On the one hand, I feel it's my responsibility to provide space for reality testing and grounding. On the other hand, I can see the glint of hope in my patients' faces, and I believe having hope is immensely constructive in managing the uncertainty inherit in an MS diagnosis. But, just stated to me far more articulately than I will reiterate, one can support a patient's need and desire for hope, but not if the hope is derived from false claims and inaccurate information. Ergo, it would seem my job would be to encourage the wish for something better, AND disempower the delusion of a cure, since it doesn't truly service the ego if its based on fallacies, right?