The case study “Continent Eyes” highlights the widespread phenomenon of conversion disorders. Simply alerting clients to the possible existence of a conversion disorder may cure it; alternatively, speculation that the incontinence might be a conversion symptom can also cure disorders which can be influenced through suggestion, presumably through a type of placebo effect.
A man once came to see me because he was still suffering from continence problems after undergoing prostate surgery, even though his doctors had told him that there was no longer any organic cause for his incontinence. During his third therapy session, he told me that he had recently cried for the first time in years when a doctor told him that all of his symptoms were perfectly normal, and that he would in all likelihood become continent again.
“Have you ever heard of a conversion symptom?” I asked him. “Maybe your excretion organs are incontinent because your eyes are continent. Your bladder has taken on the role of your eyes or vice versa, depending on your point of view. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you became incontinent in an unexpected way in the near future.”
When I next saw the man, he said: “I don’t know whether it’s because of what we discussed, but now I only need to use one third as many incontinence pads to stay dry.”