The Emmanuel Movement

The Emmanuel Movement

The Emmanuel Movement

by Marty Mann, 1950, Chapter 7, pages 105-107

Belief in the possibility of recovery is growing apace today, but it had a slow and feeble beginning not so very long ago. In the years following the first World War, word got around in certain circles (mostly wealthy) that a man named Courtenay Baylor in Boston was having some success in treating alcoholics. He was not a doctor, nor a formally trained psychologist: he was what is called a lay therapist, and he worked in a clinic which was part of Emmanuel Church, the seat of the Emmanuel Movement. The methods he used were both psychological and spiritual, combining to re-educate the alcoholic to a life without alcohol; he described them fully in his book Remaking a Man, published in 1919. The Emmanuel clinic was for all kinds of nervous disorders, and did not specialize in alcoholism, so that there was no great flood of recoveries to startle the world. Nevertheless a little hope was generated, and some alcoholics got well. A start had been made.

Richard Peabody, also of Boston, was the next name to be associated with recoveries from alcoholism. Himself a product of Baylor’s teaching, he turned what he had learned wholly onto the problem of alcoholism, and specialized in the treatment of alcoholics. His book The Common Sense of Drinking, containing a description of his method, was published in 1931. A few of his successful cases entered the field as therapists, and by the mid-thirties still more recoveries were giving the lie to the alleged hopeless of alcoholism."

Francis T. Chambers, Jr., of Philadelphia, was a follower of Peabody who in turn went a step further than his teacher. Under the guidance of Dr. Edward A. Strecker, one of America’s leading psychiatrists, Chambers took some formal training at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and entered the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, as associate Therapist, specializing in alcoholism, but working in conjunction with a team of medically trained personnel. Alcohol, One Man’s Meat, published in 1938, is the book written jointly by Strecker and Chambers about their work. Out of their hands has flowed a small but steady stream of recoveries ever since.

The methods of all the above have been generally lumped together under the heading of "lay therapy," a type of treatment which has had considerable success. One of its greatest contributions, however, was the proof it furnished that alcoholics could recover. This fact was a stimulus to other workers and researchers, and helped provide a nucleus of favorable opinion to experimenters with other methods. Most important of all, word began to reach alcoholics that their was not only a name for what ailed them, but hope that they might recover.


The Place of the Lay Therapist in the Treatment of Alcoholics Lay Therapy

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