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Hagiotherapy

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Hagiotherapy is the term used to describe the medieval practice of using religious relics, prayers, pilgrimages etc. to alleviate sickness. It was used to treat epilepsy during the Middle Ages with Saint Valentine particularly associated with the treatment as an 'epilepsy specialist'.

"Hagiotherapy" was revived under the influence by pope John Paul II's encyclica Salvifici doloris as a pseudo-therapeutic method of healing a man's "spiritual soul" on the premise of "religious experience". A known practicing therapist is Tomislav Ivančić, who founded Center for Spiritual Help in Zagreb. Prokop Remeš in the Czech Republic is treating addicts in Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital in Prague. His style of hagiotherapy isn't founded on the "Salvifici doloris" encyclical, it is a type of group existential psychotherapy (Yalom, Frankl), which focuses on eliminating dysfunctional behaviour patterns from one's life. This hagiotherapy uses biblical text as background to project one's own experiences against to active a greater understanding of text: one of the main instruments of hagiotherapy is projective work with biblical texts.

Prof. Tomislav Ivančić recently defined hagiotherapy as scientific discipline which aims to heal human soul.

His thesis was that every human being does not have only physical and psychological dimension, but also spiritual dimension (human soul) that has its own scientific laws and it should be subject of scientific research.

Human spirit (soul) can be sick, just as can be human body and mind, so it needs to be treated accordingly.

One of examples prof. Ivančić was talking about many times was an addiction. He was concerned with the fact that so many patients relapse some time after treatment. He explained it with the fact that they were treated only on mental level, and not on spiritual level. According to his opinion, addiction is basically spiritual issue, so it needs to be treated on spiritual level.

References

Hagiotherapy Wikipedia


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