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Volume 6, Pages 2006-2034
Case Study

Clinical Holistic Medicine: The Case Story of Anna. II. Patient Diary as a Tool in Treatment

Sören Ventegodt,1,2,3,4,5 Birgitte Clausen,5 and Joav Merrick6,7,8,9,10

1Nordic School of Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
2Quality of Life Research Clinic, Teglgårdstræde 4-8, DK-1452 Copenhagen K, Denmark
3Quality of Life Research Center, Teglgårdstræde 4-8, DK-1452 Copenhagen K, Denmark
4Scandinavian Foundation for Holistic Medicine, Sandvika, Norway
5Vejlby Lokalcenter, Vejlby, Denmark
6National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jerusalem, Israel
7Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Aging, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel
8Zusman Child Development Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel
9Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
10Office of the Medical Director, Division for Mental Retardation Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel

Received 1 November 2005; Revised 27 December 2005; Accepted 28 December 2005

Academic Editor: Daniel T.L. Shek

Copyright © 2006 Sören Ventegodt et al.


In spite of extreme childhood sexual and violent abuse, a 22-year-old young woman, Anna, healed during holistic existential therapy. New and highly confrontational therapeutic tools were developed and used to help this patient (like acceptance through touch and acupressure through the vagina). Her vulva and introitus were scarred from repeated brutal rape, as was the interior of her mouth. During therapy, these scars were gently contacted and the negative emotional contents released. The healing was in accordance with the advanced holistic medical toolbox that uses (1) love, (2) trust, (3) holding, and (4) helping the patient to process and integrate old traumas.The case story clearly revealed the philosophical adjustments that Anna made during treatment in response to the severe childhood abuse. These adjustments are demonstrated by her diary, where sentences contain both the feelings and thoughts of the painful present (the gestalt) at the time of the abuse, thus containing the essence of the traumas, making the repression of the painful emotions possible through the change in the patient’s philosophical perspective. Anna's case gives a unique insight into the process of traumatization (pathogenesis) and the process of healing (salutogenesis). At the end of the healing, Anna reconnected her existence to the outer world in a deep existential, suicidal crisis and faced her choice of life or death. She decided to live and, in this process, assumed existential responsibility, which made her able to step out of her mental disease. The advanced holistic toolbox seems to help patients heal even from the worst childhood abuse. In spite of the depth of the existential crisis, holistic existential therapy seems to support existential responsibility well and thus safe for the patients.