The Medicine in Biographic Messages

36by A. Pautz, M.D.
Issue: Summer 2004, Biography Emerges as a Tool For Therapy - Issue #36 

Life leaves traces ingrained in our biographies. Seen within an entire life, biographic events can appear as informative messages - messages we may read, understand, and act on. In taking a patient’s history, an anthroposophically-trained medical doctor listens to and evaluates such events. The two abbreviated cases here, based on real but fictitiously named people, are not a strictly scientific case study. However, the two do give a glimpse into the essential role biography plays in a medical setting.

Case I - Johnny
Johnny is a bit melancholic. At three years of age, he falls a lot while playing and eventually breaks a front tooth. Two years later at school, Johnny wanders into a rough tussle. He receives a well-placed blow and another broken tooth. Several years pass. Friends peer-pressure him into trying out for baseball. He’s unhappy about it, but can’t say no. At practice, a hardball hits him square in the mouth. He takes another trip to the dentist.

Johnny’s a smart but absent-minded kid. He struggles to protect himself. The reoccurring traumas to the same area of his body over seven years make his parents wonder: Is Johnny having difficulty translating his awareness into effective action?

Gleaning the message this repeating biographic event is sending, his parents take steps to help him focus and to improve his coordination. They involve him more in social events. He also starts martial arts training. At first, the activities overwhelm him, but he grows to enjoy them all. His self-esteem builds while his emotional strength and social skills increase. In time, his awareness becomes grounded and coordinated in his body - the seeming accidents stop.

Noticing the repeating pattern, his parents spotted this key message of his biography early enough. Acting out of awareness on life’s circumstances, Johnny gained the ability to maneuver clear of passive victimization later in life.

Accident-prone individuals, like Johnny, tend to draw themselves into accidents - until they get to the root of the tendency. The message contained in repeated circumstances may seem obvious at times, but the underlying issues can be hard to identify or resolve. Individuals with alcohol problems, for example, often pair up with others having the same problem. Or abused children may get into abusive relationships as adults. The more severe the life events, the more difficult it is to spot and act on the meaning in the message - as with Sara, our second case.

Case II - Sara
When Sara is two, her father leaves. At three, her 30-year-old mother is killed in a horrific accident. Her maternal grandparents raise Sara until she is a teenager, when both grandparents die within a few weeks of each other. The state wants to place Sara in foster care. Sara becomes a runaway, living a tough life in dubious places. As Sara approaches her 29th year, she embroils herself in a very bad scene. She could get herself and friends killed. Even if the outcome is not fatal, her entire future is potentially undermined.

On closer consideration from an outside perspective, it might seem easy to understand how Sara steered herself into trouble. But for her, the situation and her seeming death-wish motives are enshrouded in unawareness. Sara does not see the make-or-break biographic milestone looming, but she is (paradoxically) “deeply searching” for meaning. Her search is torturously convoluted however.

Or, as seen in similar cases, another Sara might have little inclination to search for any context for her life. She might be inwardly numb (and outwardly numbed by drugs or alcohol). Frequently, depression is involved, which may be repressed by drugs - prescribed or not.

Both instances are like threshold-crossing experiences (albeit somewhat perverse in nature). If the pass-fail nature goes unrecognized, the sense of life’s course weakens, exacerbating the situation.

What is the message here? We commonly refer to it as a “wake up call.” As a first step in treatment, Sara’s supporters could guide her contemplation toward a more hope-filled context. Respecting her freedom while assisting her in making changes she can accept, the improved context should be easy to identify and must work for her.

When this level of biographic message is brought to an individual’s attention, an incredible awareness frequently opens up, leading to a reevaluation of life, to a new assessment of the need to honor this earthly life - with all its potential for growth that a premature death would steal away.

Emotional, spiritual, and habitual imbalances can penetrate farther into the physical body. An imbalance, if left unresolved, may cause functional problems, manifest as physical symptoms, or even become physical disease. In parallel, an unresolved imbalance can be reflected in repeated biographic messages - and imbalances may attract similar life events. In other words, the message (and destiny) repeats until the individual “gets the message.”

The anthroposophic doctor evaluates the patient’s biography, comparing the life-event messages to the ideal whole human being. Like taking the pulse of the heart, the doctor reads the pulse of life events, relaying the underlying influences back to the patient for each to act upon freely in healing. By interpreting the messages correctly, the physician strives profoundly to assist patients in their own efforts to learn, balance, heal, and live well.

Through the use of dialogue and counseling, without drugs - even without natural remedies - the physician is able to intervene through awareness and participation. This assists patients in taking active charge of life, reduces the attraction of accidents requiring medical services, and may prevent disabilities.

An anthroposophic medical doctor can also support a patient using holistic remedies from the disciplines of naturopathy, homeopathy, nutrition, and therapeutic eurythmy which works deeply with the rhythms of life.

(Note that this is not intended to diagnose or treat. If you have a medical condition, please consult with your health care professional.)

Dr. A. Pautz, M.D. is board certified in internal medicine, board certified in holistic medicine, and a trained eurythmist. She is also a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) doctor. She specializes in anthroposophic and holistic treatment approaches in conjunction with conventional medicine. The practice can be reached at (904) 246-3583 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.