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Integrated Christian Counseling

The Blind Man Who Could See

By, Dr. Brian Campbell

 

As we study the integration of theology and psychology, we must continually attempt to grasp the influence of the brain on psychopathology.  The brain is an organ that the Lord made that is capable of remarkable things.  Sometimes, the influence of the brain is best understood when the brain is injured or damage. 

Here is an amazing story on the brain's remarkable capabilities.  It is a true story...


When I was a professor at Nova Southeastern University, one of my best friends (we'll call him "Fred") suddenly contracted cryptococcal meningitis.  He had to be flown to Alabama in order to receive treatment to kill the "slime" that threatened his brain.  The bone at the top of his scalp was removed in order to reduce pressure on the brain and he received harsh chemotherapy to stop the fungus.  The medication had to be so strong, it significantly damaged the brain of this perfectly healthy 33-year-old young man (who specialized on "sports psychology").  He became almost totally blind and somewhat hard of hearing.  He also lost feeling in many parts of his lower body.


When Fred's parents were driving him home from Alabama, Fred told me that he was able to "see" the countryside, his parents, and the car, with perfect clarity--in full color.  The interesting thing is, he really couldn't see at all (except for tiny splotches of grey at the very top of is peripheral vision).  His brain completely "made up" all that he was seeing.  It was if his brain could not "tolerate" the reality that he was blind.


Fred remained able to "see" for about two weeks.  However, his brain started making some "mistakes."  His brain would sense a person nearby and try to create an image for that person.  However, when the person would say something, Fred's brain realized that it had "invented" the wrong person.  He would shake his head, and then his brain would morph the "wrong person" into the "right person" who was actually present.  As these "brain errors" increased, his "vision" started to blink on and off.  It was as if his brain could no longer maintain the world it had "made up."  There were too many "facts" that contradicted his "illusionary" world.  His brain wanted to believe that Fred could see, but it could not maintain this lie in the face of continued irrefutable contradictory evidence.


Then...one day...Fred went totally blind!  Everything went black, completely black.  All along, he was never really able to see at all.  His mind had made everything up.  (By the way, Fred has never regained his vision to this day).


From this story, are you able to see how the human mind, in cases such as schizophrenia, could make up sounds and sights that "aren't really there."  But you must understand, these sights and auditory hallucinations certainly seem like reality to the person experiencing them.

 

 

Blessings,

Dr. Campbell