I don’t often endorse projects that come to my attention, but I feel so strongly about the subject matter of this upcoming documentary film, that I felt a strong desire to share it on my site with my readers. The film, All the Rage sheds light on one of the pioneers of mind/body medicine, Dr. John Sarno. Dr. Sarno, who worked for many years in the rehabilitation center of NYU Medical Hospital treating individuals who had various structural and back injuries due to vehicular collisions, slips and falls, and various other accidents. At some point, he started noticing very interesting phenomena– some people who injured their back would get well rather quickly, while others never moved on past their back pain. In addition the severity of the pain had no correlation to the severity of the injury. And finally, there was absolutely no connection whatsoever between back pain and structural abnormalities discovered through x-ray imaging and MRIs. In other words, individuals with severe back pain would have nothing show up on an x-ray, while those with no pain at all would show multiple ruptured disks, and so on.
Dr. Sarno began to realize that most, if not all, of the chronic back pain that he was treating was not caused by structural abnormalities, but by other factors. Specifically, he noted that most of the chronic pain sufferers he treated shared many similar psychological commonalities. For example, they were more likely to be Type-A people, you know the type who are very perfectionistic and successful, but also very hard on themselves. He started realizing that perhaps the root cause of all the chronic pain was not physical, but rather emotional– unresolved rage in particular. He started explaining this etiology to his patients and advised them to just forget about the back pain and not even go through physical therapy. In other words, he advised them to act as if the pain was completely emotional; to, in effect, trick the mind into taking its focus away from looking for physical explanations. And he Dr. Sarno began to note significant improvements in those folks who followed his treatment protocols.
Anyway, Dr. Sarno and his work was one of the main catalysts that drove my interest in becoming a therapist, specifically one that focuses so much on the connection between psychology, emotions, and the body. What does this have to do with sex therapy? Everything. In short, when we talk about sexuality, we are really talking about our relationship to soma, the body. If our body is tense and numb, we will not be able to experience sexual pleasure or immerse ourselves in the experience. In many ways, sexual difficulties are often a manifestation of problematic, unresolved emotions interfering with our body’s normal functioning. In light of everything I’ve written above, does any of this sound familiar? I’ve written extensively about the connections between our emotions and our bodies (and therefore sexuality) in many other areas of this blog. For more general info on emotions and the body, click here; for info on rage, click here; for more on shame, go here; for guilt, go here; for grief, click here. These are just some of the resources you can find by surveying this site.
Anyway, I highly encourage everyone to check out the embedded trailer (below) for the upcoming doc All the Rage. And if find yourself further intrigued, you might be interested in going ahead and clicking on the link below to check out the Kickstarter campaign page for the film. There are varying levels of participation, but for as little as $18, you can get a special thanks in the film and have a copy sent to your home. I think this is a very important project because it could represent the beginning stages of a paradigm shift in the medical community, where doctors and other health care providers are trained to acknowledge the mind/body connection in addition to just looking for defects in the body. Enjoy.