Medieval holism: Hildegard of bingen on mental disorder

Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (4):pp. 359-368 (2007)

Current efforts to think holistically about mental disorder may be assisted by considering the integrative strategies used by Hildegard of Bingen, a twelfth-century abbess and healer. We search for integrative strategies in the detailed records of Hilde-gard’s treatment of the noblewoman Sigewiza and in Hildegard’s more general writings. Three strategies support Hildegard’s holistic thinking: the use of narrative approaches to mental illness, acknowledging interdependence between perspectives, and applying principles of balance to the relationships between perspectives. Applying these three strategies to the present-day conceptualization and treatment of mental disorder could move us toward a more thoroughly integrated understanding of the field.
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