How to Dialogue with Illness

This fascinating exercise focuses on a symptom, mental or physical, that you would like to understand and, by understanding, heal. Dr. Weiss has used this exercise many times in his workshops and reports that it helped, in many cases, to alleviate the symptom. While he does not promise miracles, we do know that the mind-body connection exists and this exercise is a means of maximizing that dual force.

Try the exercise here:

Pick one–and only one–symptom, mental or physical. It could be the arthritis in your joints, your fear of heights, or your shyness when you meet a stranger. Notice the first thoughts or feelings or impressions that come into your mind. Do this spontaneously, without editing; these should be your first thoughts, no matter how silly or trivial they might seem. Get in touch with that part of your body or mind that is troubling you. Try to make the symptom worse at first, experiencing it as fully as you can, and observe how you did that. Then switch places with the symptom; you are the symptom, the symptom is you. This is so you can be most fully aware of the symptom. It knows where it is located and how it affects the body or mind. Next, have the you that is outside the symptom ask the symptom a series of questions.

* How have you affected my life?

* What are you going to do with my body/mind now that youíre in it?

* How have you affected my relationships?

* Do you help convey something I canít convey without you, some message or some information?

* Do you protect me from anyone or anything?

This last is the key question, for people often use illnesses to avoid confronting the issues that lie behind them–a form of denial. Letís say, for example, that you are experiencing sharp pains in your neck. This exercise will let you locate exactly who or what that pain in the neck is–your boss, your mother-in-law, a way of holding your head so you donít have to look somebody directly in the eye.

Adapted from Same Soul, Many Bodies, by Brian L. Weiss, M.D. (Free Press, 2004).


Elena T.
Elena Poensgen5 years ago

Thank you :)

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M5 years ago

Positive affirmations and looking in the mirror and to tell the you that you are beautiful and loved by you unconditionally. You do this every time you go to the bathroom and I have used it. When saying affirmations say them out aloud so you can hear yourself b/c this is how the therapy works. Be kind to your self and give your self permission to feel angry but also to feel loved and by expressing this alone you can try and heal yourself. Louise Hay has a great book called ' Heal yourself' Borrow it from the local library if you cant find it. Meditation is also good. Close your eyes. take a deep breath thru your nose but closed mouth and hold for 3 secs then release the breath thru your semi closed mouth. Do this 5 times and it will relax you each morning and night and as you focus on your toes first work your way up to your heels, ankles, calves, knees, thighs. hips tummy, chest shoulders then down to your fingers and back up again to your neck and head and hear yourself breathing slowly and steadily.
You will feel a heap of difference. Best wishes.

Heidi H.
Past Member 5 years ago

I enjoyed this approach to illness very much. Thank you.

Abbe A.
Azaima A5 years ago


Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Melissah C.
Melissah C6 years ago


K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Janice P.
Janice P7 years ago

This article was very interesting. I am going to try the suggestions and see what happens. Sometimes, going through a major trauma makes it almost impossible to focus the mind in the now.

Does anyone have any suggestions with respect to dealing with an illness during a time of trauma or in the aftermath of it? Simply trying to quiet the mind does not work very well during those times. I am assuming that you need to give your illness or condition complete attention, in order for this to work.

Sheila L.
sheila l7 years ago

Positive affirmations are very important and positive mental imagery certainly do affect how we deal with disease process.