PSYCHO-THERAPEUTICS

In the whole range of psychological research there is no branch of the
study of such transcendent practical interest and importance to the
world as that which pertains to its application to the cure of disease.
That there resides in mankind a psychic power over the functions and
sensations of the body, and that that power can be invoked at will,
under certain conditions, and applied to the alleviation of human
suffering, no longer admits of a rational doubt. The history of all
nations presents an unbroken line of testimony in support of the truth
of this proposition. In the infancy of the world the power of secretly
influencing men for good or evil, including the healing of the sick,
was possessed by the priests and saints of all nations. Healing of the
sick was supposed to be a power derived directly from God, and it was
exerted by means of prayers and ceremonies, laying on of hands and
incantations, amulets and talismans, rings, relics, and images, and the
knowledge of it was transmitted with the sacred mysteries.

Numerous examples of the practice of healing by the touch and by the
laying on of hands are related in the Old Testament. Moses was directed
by the Lord to transmit his power and honor to Joshua by the laying on
of hands. Elijah healed the dead child by stretching himself upon the
body and calling upon the name of the Lord, and Elisha raised the dead
son of the Shunammite woman by the same means. It was even supposed
that the power survived his death. The New Testament is full of
examples of the most striking character, and the promise of the Master
to those who believe,–“In my name shall they cast out devils; they
shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they
drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their
hands on the sick, and they shall recover,”–applies to all mankind
to-day as well as to his followers upon whom he had conferred his power
in person. That this power was transmitted to future generations, and
that the saints and others regarded it as the heritage of the Church
and employed it with humble faith, in imitation of the Master, for the
good of mankind, is shown by numerous examples. While the chroniclers
have undoubtedly embellished many actual cures and recited many
fictitious ones, the fact that the saints and others possessed healing
powers cannot be questioned. Thus, Saint Patrick, the Irish apostle,
healed the blind by laying on his hands.

“Saint Bernard,” says Ennemoser, “is said to have restored eleven
blind persons to sight, and eighteen lame persons to the use of
their limbs in one day at Constance. At Cologne he healed twelve
lame, caused three dumb persons to speak, ten who were deaf to
hear, and, when he himself was ill, Saint Lawrence and Saint
Benedict appeared to him, and cured him by touching the affected
part. Even his plates and dishes are said to have cured sickness
after his death! The miracles of Saints Margaret, Katherine,
Hildegarde, and especially the miraculous cures of the two holy
martyrs, Cosmos and Damianus, belong to this class. Among others,
they freed the Emperor Justinian from an incurable sickness. Saint
Odilia embraced in her arms a leper who was shunned by all men,
warmed him, and restored him to health.

“Remarkable above all others are those cases where persons who were
at the point of death have recovered by holy baptism or extreme
unction. The Emperor Constantine is one of the most singular
examples. Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, had the power of assuaging colic
and affections of the spleen by laying the patients on their backs
and passing his great toe over them. The Emperor Vespasian cured
nervous affections, lameness, and blindness, solely by the laying
on of his hands. According to Coelius Spartianus, Hadrian cured
those afflicted with dropsy by touching them with the points of
his fingers, and recovered himself from a violent fever by similar
treatment. King Olaf healed Egill on the spot by merely laying
his hands upon him and singing proverbs. The kings of England and
France cured diseases of the throat by touch. It is said that the
pious Edward the Confessor, and, in France, that Philip the First
were the first who possessed this power. In England the disease was
therefore called ‘king’s evil.’ In France this power was retained
till within a recent period. Among German princes this curative
power was ascribed to the Counts of Hapsburg, and also that they
were able to cure stammering by a kiss. Pliny says, ‘There are men
whose whole bodies possess medicinal properties,–as the Marsi,
the Psyli, and others, who cure the bite of serpents merely by the
touch.’ This he remarks especially of the island of Cyprus, and
later travellers confirm these cures by the touch. In later times
the Salmadores and Ensalmadores of Spain became very celebrated,
who healed almost all diseases by prayer, laying on of the hands,
and by the breath. In Ireland, Valentine Greatrakes cured at first
king’s evil by his hands; later, fever, wounds, tumors, gout, and
at length all diseases. In the seventeenth century the gardener
Levret and the notorious Streeper performed cures in London by
stroking with the hand. In a similar manner cures were performed
by Michael Medina and the Child of Salamanca; also Marcellus
Empiricus. Richter, an innkeeper at Royen, in Silicia, cured, in
the years 1817, 1818, many thousands of sick persons in the open
fields by touching them with his hands. Under the popes, laying on
of the hands was called ‘chirothesy.'”

Again, Ennemoser says:–

“As regards the resemblance which the science bears to magnetism,
it is certain that not only were the ancients acquainted with an
artificial method of treating disease, but also with somnambulism
itself. Among others, Agrippa von Nettesheim speaks of this
plainly when he says, in his ‘Occulta Philosophia’ (page 451):
‘There is a science, known to but very few, of illuminating and
instructing the mind, so that at one step it is raised from the
darkness of ignorance to the light of wisdom. This is produced
principally by a species of artificial sleep, in which a man
forgets the present, and, as it were, perceives the future through
divine inspiration. Unbelieving and wicked persons can also be
deprived of this power by secret means.'”

Coming down to more recent times, we find that cures, seemingly
miraculous, are as common to-day as at any period of the world’s
history. In fact, one unbroken line of such phenomena is presented to
the student of psycho-therapeutics, which extends from the earliest
period of recorded history to the present time. At no time in the
world’s history has there been such a widespread interest in the
subject as now; and the hopeful feature is that the subject is no
longer relegated to the domain of superstition, but is being studied by
all classes of people, from the ablest scientists down to the humblest
peasant. The result is that theories almost innumerable have been
advanced to account for what all admit to be a fact, namely, that there
exists a power to alleviate human suffering, which lies not within the
domain of material science, but which can be invoked at the will of man
and controlled by human intelligence.

It would be tedious and unprofitable to discuss at length the numerous
theories advanced by the different sects and schools which have an
existence to-day. It is sufficient to know that all these schools
effect cures of the most wonderful character, many of them taking rank
with the miracles of the Master. This one fact stands out prominent
and significant, namely, that the theories advanced to account for the
phenomena seem to have no effect upon the power invoked.

Paracelsus stated what is now an obvious scientific fact when he
uttered these words:–

“Whether the object of your faith be real or false, you will
nevertheless obtain the same effects. Thus, if I believe in Saint
Peter’s statue as I should have believed in Saint Peter himself,
I shall obtain the same effects that I should have obtained from
Saint Peter. But that is superstition. Faith, however, produces
miracles; and whether it is a true or a false faith, it will always
produce the same wonders.”

Much to the same effect are the words uttered in the sixteenth century
by Pomponazzi:–

“We can easily conceive the marvellous effects which confidence
and imagination can produce, particularly when both qualities are
reciprocated between the subjects and the person who influences
them. The cures attributed to the influence of certain relics
are the effect of this imagination and confidence. Quacks and
philosophers know that if the bones of any skeleton were put in
place of the saint’s bones, the sick would none the less experience
beneficial effects, if they believed that they were near veritable
relics.”

Bernheim,[24] quoting the foregoing passages, follows with a story,
related by Sobernheim, of a man with a paralysis of the tongue which
had yielded to no form of treatment, who put himself under a certain
doctor’s care. The doctor wished to try an instrument of his own
invention, with which he promised himself to get excellent results.
Before performing the operation, he introduced a pocket thermometer
into the patient’s mouth. The patient imagined it to be the instrument
which was to save him. In a few minutes he cried out joyfully that he
could once more move his tongue freely.

“Among our cases,” continues Bernheim, “facts of the same sort
will be found. A young girl came into my service, having suffered
from complete nervous aphonia for nearly four weeks. After making
sure of the diagnosis, I told my students that nervous aphonia
sometimes yielded instantly to electricity, which might act simply
by its suggestive influence. I sent for the induction apparatus.
Before using it I wanted to try simple suggestion by affirmation.
I applied my hand over the larynx and moved it a little, and said,
‘Now you can speak aloud.’ In an instant I made her say ‘a,’ then
‘b,’ then ‘Maria.’ She continued to speak distinctly; the aphonia
had disappeared.

“‘The “Bibliothèque choisie de Médecine,”‘ says Hack Tuke, ‘gives
a typical example of the influence exercised by the imagination
over intestinal action during sleep. The daughter of the consul at
Hanover, aged eighteen, intended to use rhubarb, for which she had
a particular dislike, on a following day. She dreamed that she had
taken the abhorred dose. Influenced by this imaginary rhubarb, she
waked up, and had five or six easy evacuations.’

“The same result is seen in a case reported by Demangeon.[25]
‘A monk intended to purge himself on a certain morning. On the
night previous he dreamed that he had taken the medicine, and
consequently waked up to yield to nature’s demands. He had eight
movements.’

“But among all the moral causes which, appealing to the
imagination, set the cerebral mechanism of possible causes at work,
none is so efficacious as religious faith. Numbers of authentic
cures have certainly been due to it.

“The Princess of Schwartzenburg had suffered for eight years from
a paraplegia for which the most celebrated doctors in Germany and
France had been consulted. In 1821 the Prince of Hohenlohe, who had
been a priest since 1815, brought a peasant to the princess, who
had convinced the young prince of the power of prayer in curing
disease. The mechanical apparatus, which had been used by Dr. Heine
for several months to overcome the contracture of the limbs, was
removed. The prince asked the paralytic to join her faith both to
his and the peasant’s. ‘Do you believe you are already helped?’
‘Oh, yes, I believe so most sincerely!’ ‘Well, rise and walk.’ At
these words the princess rose and walked around the room several
times, and tried going up and down stairs. The next day she went to
church, and from this time on she had the use of her limbs.”[26]

Bernheim then proceeds to give a _résumé_ of some of the histories
of cures which took place at Lourdes, where thousands flock annually
to partake of the healing waters of the famous grotto. The history
of that wonderful place is too well known to need repetition here.
It is sufficient to say that thousands of cures have been effected
there through prayer and religious faith, and the cures are as well
authenticated as any fact in history or science.

The most prominent and important methods of healing the sick now in
vogue may be briefly summarized as follows:

1. _Prayer and religious faith_, as exemplified in the cures performed
at Lourdes and at other holy shrines. To this class also belong the
cures effected by prayer alone, the system being properly known in this
country as the Faith Cure and the Prayer Cure.

2. _The Mind Cure_,–“a professed method of healing which rests upon
the suppositions that all diseased states of the body are due to
abnormal conditions of the mind, and that the latter (and thus the
former) can be cured by the direct action of the mind of the healer
upon the mind of the patient.”[27]

3. _Christian Science._–This method of healing rests upon the
assumption of the unreality of matter. This assumed as a major premise,
it follows that our bodies are unreal, and, consequently, there is no
such thing as disease, the latter existing only in the mind, which is
the only real thing in existence.

4. _Spiritism_, which is a system of healing based on the supposed
interposition of spirits of the dead, operating directly, or indirectly
through a medium, upon the patient.

5. _Mesmerism._–This includes all the systems of healing founded on
the supposition that there exists in man a fluid which can be projected
upon another, at the will of the operator, with the effect of healing
disease by the therapeutic action of the fluid upon the diseased
organism.

6. _Suggestive Hypnotism._–This method of healing rests upon the law
that persons in the hypnotic condition are constantly controllable by
the power of suggestion, and that by this means pain is suppressed,
function modified, fever calmed, secretion and excretion encouraged,
etc., and thus nature, the healer, is permitted to do the work of
restoration.

Each of these schools is subdivided into sects, entertaining modified
theories of causation, and employing modified processes of applying
the force at their command. There is but one thing common to them all,
and that is that they all cure diseases.

We have, then, six different systems of psycho-therapeutics, based upon
as many different theories, differing as widely as the poles, and each
presenting indubitable evidence of being able to perform cures which in
any age but the present would have been called miraculous.

The most obvious conclusion which strikes the scientific mind is that
there must be some underlying principle which is common to them all. It
is the task of science to discover that principle.

It will now be in order to recall to the mind of the reader, once more,
the fundamental propositions of the hypothesis under consideration.
They are,–

First, that man is possessed of two minds, which we have distinguished
by designating one as the objective mind, and the other as the
subjective mind.

Secondly, that the subjective mind is constantly amenable to control by
the power of suggestion.

These propositions having been established, at least provisionally,
by the facts shown in the foregoing chapters, it now remains to
present a subsidiary proposition, which pertains to the subject of
psycho-therapeutics, namely:–

_The subjective mind has absolute control of the functions, conditions,
and sensations of the body._

This proposition seems almost self-evident, and will receive the
instant assent of all who are familiar with the simplest phenomena of
hypnotism. It is well known, and no one at all acquainted with hypnotic
phenomena now disputes the fact, that perfect anesthesia can be
produced at the will of the operator simply by suggestion. Hundreds of
cases are recorded where the most severe surgical operations have been
performed without pain upon patients in the hypnotic condition. The
fact can be verified at any time by experiment on almost any hypnotic
subject, and in case of particularly sensitive subjects the phenomena
can be produced in the waking condition. How the subjective mind
controls the functions and sensations of the body, mortal man may never
know. It is certain that the problem cannot be solved by reference to
physiology or cerebral anatomy. It is simply a scientific fact which we
must accept because it is susceptible of demonstration, and not because
its ultimate cause can be explained.

The three foregoing fundamental propositions cover the whole domain of
psycho-therapeutics, and constitute the basis of explanation of all
phenomena pertaining thereto.

It seems almost superfluous to adduce facts to illustrate the wonderful
power which the subjective mind possesses over the functions of the
body, beyond reminding the reader of the well-known facts above
mentioned regarding the production of the phenomena of anesthesia by
suggestion. Nevertheless, it must not be forgotten that the production
of anesthesia in a healthy subject is a demonstration of subjective
power which implies far more than appears upon the surface. The normal
condition of the body is that of perfect health, with all the senses
performing their legitimate functions. The production of anesthesia
in a normal organism is, therefore, the production of an abnormal
condition. On the other hand, the production of anesthesia in a
diseased organism implies the restoration of the normal condition,
that is, a condition of freedom from pain. In this, all the forces of
nature unite to assist. And as every force in nature follows the lines
of least resistance, it follows that it is much easier to cure diseases
by mental processes than it is to create them; provided always that we
understand the _modus operandi_.

It is well known that the symptoms of almost any disease can be induced
in hypnotic subjects by suggestion. Thus, partial or total paralysis
can be produced; fever can be brought on, with all the attendant
symptoms, such as rapid pulse and high temperature, flushed face,
etc.; or chills, accompanied by a temperature abnormally low; or the
most severe pains can be produced in any part of the body or limbs.
All these facts are well known, and still more wonderful facts are
stated in all the recent scientific works on hypnotism. For instance,
Bernheim states that he has been able to produce a blister on the back
of a patient by applying a postage-stamp and suggesting to the patient
that it was a fly-plaster. This is confirmed by the experiments of Moll
and many others, leaving no doubt of the fact that structural changes
are a possible result of oral suggestion. On this subject Bernheim
makes the following observations:–

“Finally, hemorrhages and bloody stigmata may be induced in certain
subjects by means of suggestion.

“MM. Bourru and Burot of Rochefort have experimented on this
subject with a young marine, a case of hystero-epilepsy. M. Bourru
put him into the somnambulistic condition, and gave him the
following suggestion: ‘At four o’clock this afternoon, after the
hypnosis, you will come into my office, sit down in the arm-chair,
cross your arms upon your breast, and your nose will begin to
bleed.’ At the hour appointed the young man did as directed.
Several drops of blood came from the left nostril.

“On another occasion the same investigator traced the patient’s
name on both his forearms with the dull point of an instrument.
Then, when the patient was in the somnambulistic condition, he
said, ‘At four o’clock this afternoon you will go to sleep, and
your arms will bleed along the lines which I have traced, and your
name will appear written on your arms in letters of blood.’ He was
watched at four o’clock and seen to fall asleep. On the left arm
the letters stood out in bright red relief, and in several places
there were drops of blood. The letters were still visible three
months afterwards, although they had grown gradually faint.

“Dr. Mabille, director of the Insane Asylum at Lafond, near
Rochelle, a former pupil of excellent standing, repeated the
experiment made upon the subject at Rochefort, after he was removed
to the asylum, and confirmed it. He obtained instant hemorrhage
over a determined region of the body. He also induced an attack
of spontaneous somnambulism, in which the patient, doubting his
personality, so to speak, suggested to himself the hemorrhagic
stigmata on the arm, thus repeating the marvellous phenomena of the
famous stigmatized auto-suggestionist, Louis Lateau.

“These facts, then, seem to prove that suggestion may act upon
the cardiac function and upon the vaso-motor system. Phenomena
of this order, however, rarely occur. They are exceptional,
and are obtained in certain subjects only. I have in vain tried
to reproduce them in many cases. These facts are sufficient to
prove, however, that when in a condition of special psychical
concentration, the brain can influence even the organic functions,
which in the normal state seem but slightly amenable to the
will.”[28]

These facts demonstrate at once the correctness of two of the
fundamental propositions before stated; namely, the constant
amenability of the subjective mind to the power of suggestion, and the
perfect control which the subjective mind exercises over the functions,
sensations, and conditions of the body. All the foregoing phenomena
represent abnormal conditions induced by suggestion, and are, as before
stated, all the more conclusive proofs of the potency of the force
invoked.

If, therefore, there exists in man a power which, in obedience to the
suggestion of another, is capable of producing abnormal conditions in
defiance of the natural instincts and desires of all animal creation,
how much more potent must be a suggestion which operates in harmony
with the natural instinctive desire of the patient for the restoration
of normal conditions, and with the constant effort of nature to
bring about that result! At the risk of repetition, the self-evident
proposition will be restated, that the instinct of self-preservation is
the strongest instinct of our nature, and constitutes a most potent,
ever-present, and constantly operative auto-suggestion, inherent
in our very nature. It is obvious that any outside suggestion must
operate with all the greater potentiality when it is directed on
lines in harmony with instinctive auto-suggestion. It follows that
normal conditions can be restored with greater ease and certainty,
other things being equal, than abnormal conditions can be induced.
And thus it is that by the practice of each of the various systems
of psycho-therapeutics we find that the most marvellous cures are
effected, and are again reminded of the words of Paracelsus: “Whether
the object of your faith be real or false, you will nevertheless obtain
the same effects.”

This brings us to the discussion of the essential mental
condition prerequisite to the success of every experiment in
psycho-therapeutics,–faith.

That faith is the essential prerequisite to the successful exercise of
psychic power is a proposition which has received the sanction of the
concurrent experience of all the ages. Christ himself did not hesitate
to acknowledge his inability to heal the sick in the absence of that
condition precedent, which he held to be essential, not only to the
enjoyment of the blessings which he so freely bestowed in this world,
but to the attainment of eternal life. “Oh, ye of little faith,” was
his reproof to his followers when they returned to him and announced
the decrease of their powers to heal the sick; thus proving that he
regarded faith as an essential element of success, not only in the
patient, but in the healer also.

If the Great Healer thus acknowledged a limitation of his powers, how
can we, his humble followers, hope to transcend the immutable law by
which he was governed?

“Why is it that our belief has anything to do with the exercise of the
healing power?” is a question often asked. To this the obvious and only
reply is that the healing power, being a mental, or psychic, force,
is necessarily governed by mental conditions. Just why faith is the
necessary mental attitude of the patient can never be answered until we
are able to fathom the ultimate cause of all things. The experience of
all the ages shows it to be a fact, and we must accept it as such, and
content ourselves with an effort to ascertain its relations to other
facts, and, if possible, to define its limitations and ascertain the
means of commanding it at will.

It is safe to say that the statement of the fact under consideration
has done more to retard the progress of the science of psychic healing
than all other things combined. The sceptic at once concludes that,
whatever good the system may do to credulous people, it can never be
of benefit to him, because he “does not believe in such things.”
And it is just here that the mistake is made,–a mistake that is
most natural in the present state of psychic knowledge, and one that
is all but universal. It consists in the assumption that the faith
of the objective mind has anything to do with the requisite mental
attitude. The reader is again requested to call to mind the fundamental
propositions of the hypothesis under discussion, namely, the dual
personality and the power of suggestion.

It follows from the propositions of our hypothesis, which need not be
here repeated at length, that the subjective mind of an individual is
as amenable to control by the suggestions of his own objective mind as
it is by the suggestions of another. The law is the same. It follows
that, whatever may be the objective belief of the patient, if he will
assume to have faith, actively or passively, the subjective mind will
be controlled by the suggestion, and the desired result will follow.

_The faith required for therapeutic purposes is a purely subjective
faith, and is attainable upon the cessation of active opposition on
the part of the objective mind._ And this is why it is that, under all
systems of mental therapeutics, the perfect passivity of the patient
is insisted upon as the first essential condition. Of course, it is
desirable to secure the concurrent faith both of the objective and
subjective minds; but it is not essential, if the patient will in good
faith make the necessary auto-suggestion, as above mentioned, either in
words, or by submitting passively to the suggestions of the healer.

It is foreign to the purpose of this book to discuss at length the
various systems of mental therapeutics further than is necessary for
the elucidation of our hypothesis. The theories upon which the several
systems are founded will not, therefore, be commented upon, _pro_
or _con_, except where they furnish striking illustrations of the
principles herein advanced.

Christian science, so called, furnishes a very striking example of the
principle involved in the proposition that the requisite subjective
faith may be acquired without the concurrence of objective belief, and
even in defiance of objective reason. That system is based upon the
assumption that matter has no real existence; consequently we have no
bodies, and hence no disease of the body is possible. It is not known
whether the worthy lady founder of the school ever stopped to reduce
her foundation principles to the form of a syllogism. It is presumed
not, for otherwise their intense, monumental, and aggressive absurdity
would have become as apparent to her as it is to others. Let us see how
they look in the form of a syllogism:–

Matter has no existence. Our bodies are composed of matter. Therefore
our bodies have no existence.

It follows, of course, that disease cannot exist in a non-existent body.

That the above embraces the basis of the system called Christian
science no one who has read the works of its founder will deny. Of
course, no serious argument can be adduced against such a self-evident
absurdity. Nevertheless, there are two facts connected with this system
which stand out in bold relief: One is that it numbers its followers
by the hundred thousand; and the other is that the cures effected by
its practitioners are of daily occurrence and of the most marvellous
character.

The first of these facts demonstrates the truth of the trite saying
that any system of belief, if earnestly advocated, will find plenty
of followers. The second shows in the most conclusive manner that the
faith of the objective mind is not a necessary factor in the cure of
disease by psychic processes.

It seems obvious that no greater demand could be made upon the
resources of our credulity than to tell us that all that is visible
or tangible to our objective senses has no real existence. And yet
that is what the patient of Christian science is invited to believe
as a condition precedent to his recovery. Of course he feels at first
that his intelligence is insulted, and he protests against such a
palpable absurdity. But he is quieted by soothing words, and is told
to get himself into a perfectly passive condition, to say nothing
and to think of nothing for the time being. In some cases patients
are advised to hold themselves in the mental attitude of denying the
possible existence of disease. The essential condition of passivity
being acquired by the patient, the healer also becomes passive, and
assumes the mental attitude of denying the existence of disease in the
patient,–or elsewhere, for that matter,–and affirms with constant
iteration the condition of perfect healthfulness. After a séance of
this kind, lasting perhaps half-an-hour, the patient almost inevitably
finds immense relief, and often feels himself completely restored to
health. To say that the patient is surprised, is but feebly to convey
his impressions; he is confounded. The healer triumphantly asks, “What
do you think of my theory now?” It is of little use for him to reply
that he does not see that the theory is necessarily correct because he
was healed. Most likely he fails to think of that, in his gratitude for
restored health. But if he does, he is met by the triumphant response,
“By their fruits ye shall know them.” To the average mind, untrained to
habits of logical reasoning, that settles the question; and Christian
science has scored a triumph and secured a follower. He may not be able
to see quite clearly the logical sequences involved, he may be even
doubtful whether the theory is necessarily correct; but not being able
to formulate his objections, he contents himself with the thought that
he is not yet far enough advanced in “science” to understand that which
seems so clear to the mind of his teacher. In any event, he ceases
to antagonize the theory by any process of reasoning, and eventually
believes, objectively as well as subjectively, in the substantial
correctness of the fundamental theory. In the mean time it is easy to
see that his subjective faith has been made perfect by his passivity
under treatment, and that his objective faith has been confirmed by his
restoration to health.

In all systems of healing, the processes, or rather the conditions, are
essentially the same, the first essential condition, as before stated,
being the perfect passivity and receptivity of the patient. That is
always insisted upon, and it is the essential prerequisite, be the
theory and method of operation what they may. The rest is accomplished
by suggestion. Thus, the whole science of mental healing may be
expressed in two words,–passivity, and suggestion.

By passivity the patient becomes receptive of subjective impressions.
He becomes partially hypnotic, and sometimes wholly so. The more
perfectly he is hypnotized, the surer the favorable result. But, in
any case, perfect passivity is sure to bring about a good result.
In the Christian science methods the healer also becomes passive,
and partially self-hypnotized. And this constitutes the difference
between individual healers by that method. The more easily the healer
can hypnotize himself, and the more perfect that condition, the more
powerful will be the effect on the patient. The reason is this:
the suggestions to the subjective mind of the patient are conveyed
telepathically from the subjective mind of the healer. In order to
produce that effect in perfection, it becomes necessary both for
patient and healer to be in a partially hypnotic condition. The
two subjective minds are then _en rapport_. The subjective mind of
the healer, being properly instructed beforehand, then conveys the
necessary suggestions to the subjective mind of the patient. The
latter, being necessarily controlled by such suggestion, exercises
its functions in accordance therewith; and having absolute control of
the sensations, functions, and conditions of the body, it exercises
that control; and the result is that pain is relieved, and the normal
condition of health is restored.

It is not, however, always necessary that either the patient or the
healer should become even partially hypnotized, provided the requisite
faith or confidence is established in the subjective mind of the
patient. In such a case, however, it requires a concurrence both of
objective and subjective faith to produce the best results.

It has been claimed by some mental healers that faith on the part of
the patient is not an essential prerequisite to successful healing.
Doubtless some of the more ignorant ones believe that statement. But
an observation of the methods of treatment employed by some who make
this claim leads one to suppose that the statement often made to their
patients that faith is unnecessary is rather a cunning evasion of the
truth for the very purpose of inspiring faith. Thus, a patient enters
the sanctum of a mental healer, and begins by saying, “I understand
that it is necessary that your patients have faith before they can be
healed. If that is the case, I never can be healed by mental treatment,
for I am utterly sceptical on the subject.” To which the ready reply
is, “Faith is unnecessary under my system. I do not care what you
believe, for I can heal you, however sceptical you may be.” This is
generally satisfactory to the sceptic. He brightens with hope, and
submits to the treatment, full of the faith that he is to be healed
without faith. It is superfluous to add that by this stroke of policy
the healer has inspired the patient with all the faith required,
namely, the faith of his subjective mind. I will not animadvert upon
the propriety of this course, though I cannot help but contrast it with
that of the Great Healer, who never descended to falsehood, even to the
end that good might come. He always told his followers frankly that
faith was essential; and his words are as true to-day as they were when
he proclaimed to mankind that great secret of occult power. Jesus was
the first to proclaim the great law of faith; and when he uttered that
one word, he epitomized the whole science of psycho-therapeutics.




The science of mental therapeutics may be classed in two general
divisions, which are distinguished by the different methods of
operation. The same general principle underlies both, but the results
are attained by different modes of procedure.

The first method is by passivity on the part of the patient, and mental
suggestion by the healer.

The second is by passivity on the part of the patient, and oral
suggestion by the healer.

In ordinary practice both methods are used; that is to say, the oral
suggestionist often unconsciously telepaths a mental suggestion to the
subjective mind of the patient. If he thoroughly believes the truth
of his own suggestions, the telepathic effect is sure to follow, and
always to the manifest advantage of the patient. This is why it is that
in all works on hypnotism and mesmerism the value and importance of
self-confidence on the part of the healer, or, in other words, belief
in his own suggestions, is so strenuously insisted upon. Practice and
experience have demonstrated the fact, but no writer on the subject
attempts to give a scientific explanation of it. But when it is known
that telepathy is the normal method of communication between subjective
minds, and that in healing by mental processes it is constantly
employed, consciously or unconsciously to the persons, the explanation
is obvious.

Again, where mental suggestion is chiefly relied upon, the healer
usually begins operations by making oral suggestions. Thus, the
Christian scientist begins by carefully educating his patient in the
fundamental doctrines of the school, and explaining the effects which
are expected to follow the treatment. The mind is thus prepared by
oral suggestions to receive the necessary mental impressions when the
treatment proper begins. The most effective method of healing employed
by that school consists in what it denominates “absent treatment.”
This is effected by purely telepathic means. The patient is absent,
and often knows nothing, objectively, of what is being done for him.
The healer sits alone and becomes passive; or, in other words, becomes
partially self-hypnotized, and addresses the patient mentally, and
proceeds to argue the question with him. The condition of health is
strongly asserted and insisted upon, and the possibility of disease
as strenuously denied. The advantages of this means of treatment are
obvious. The telepathic suggestions are made solely to the subjective
mind of the patient, and do not rise above the threshold of his
consciousness. The subjective mind, being constantly amenable to
control by the power of suggestion, accepts the suggestions offered,
and, having in its turn perfect control of the functions and conditions
of the body, it proceeds to re-establish the condition of health.
In other words, it abandons the abnormal idea of disease; and, in
obedience to the telepathic suggestions of the healer, it seizes upon
the normal idea of health. It will readily be seen that by this method
of treatment the patient is placed in the best possible condition for
the reception of healthful suggestions. He is necessarily in a passive
condition. That is, being unconscious, objectively, of the mental
suggestions which are being made to his subjective mind, he is not
handicapped by antagonistic auto-suggestions arising from objective
doubt of the power of the healer, or of the correctness of his
theories. The latter is the most serious obstacle which the Christian
scientist has to contend with; and it is safe to say that if his school
had not been handicapped by a theory which shocks the common-sense of
the average man, its sphere of usefulness would have been much larger
than it is now. The school is doing a great and noble work as it is,
but it is chiefly among those who are credulous enough to disbelieve
the evidence of their own senses. There is, however, a large and
growing class of people, calling themselves Christian scientists, who
ignore the fundamental absurdities of the theory of the founder of
the sect, and content themselves with the knowledge that the practice
produces good results. Each one of these formulates a theory of his
own, and each one finds that, measured by the standard of results, his
theory is correct. The obvious conclusion is that one theory is as good
as another, provided always that the mode of operation under it does
not depart, in any essential particular, from the standard, and that
the operator has the requisite faith in his own theory and practice.

Another circumstance which handicaps the enthusiastic votaries of
each of the schools consists in the tendency of all reformers to
claim too much for their systems. Forgetting that they have to deal
with a generation of people with a hereditary belief in the power of
medicines to cure disease, a people whose habits of life and thought
are materialistic to the last degree, they expect to change that
belief instantaneously, and cause the new method to take the place
of the old in all cases and under all circumstances. In other words,
they expect to cure all diseases by mental methods alone, and they
seek to prohibit their patients from employing any other physician
or using any medicines whatever. This is wrong in theory and often
dangerous in practice. It may be true, and doubtless is, that one
great source of the power of drugs to heal disease is attributable
to the mental impression created upon the mind of the patient at
the time the drug is administered. This being true, it follows that
when a patient believes in drugs, drugs should be administered. If
Christian science or any other mental method of healing can then be
made available as an auxiliary, it should be employed. But this is just
what the ultra-reformers refuse to do. They insist upon the discharge
of the family physician, and the destruction of all the medicines
in the house, before they will undertake to effect a cure by mental
processes. It frequently happens that the patient is not sufficiently
well grounded in the new faith, or is afflicted with some disease not
readily reached by mental processes, and dies on their hands, when
perhaps he might have been saved by the combined efforts of the family
doctor and the Christian scientist. Be that as it may, when the patient
dies under such circumstances, the Christian scientist must needs bear
the brunt of popular condemnation. It goes without saying that one
such case does more to retard the progress of mental therapeutics in
popular estimation than a thousand miraculous cures can do to promote
it. Again, much harm is done to the cause of mental healing by claiming
for it too wide a field of usefulness. Theoretically, all the diseases
which flesh is heir to are curable by mental processes. Practically,
the range of its usefulness is comparatively limited. The lines of its
field are not clearly defined, however, for the reason that so much
depends on the idiosyncrasies of each individual patient. A disease
which can be cured in one case refuses to yield in another, the mental
attitudes of the patients not being the same. Besides, the mental
environment of the patient has much to do with his amenability to
control by mental processes. In an atmosphere of incredulity, doubt,
and prejudice, a patient stands little chance of being benefited,
however strong may be his own faith in mental therapeutics. Every
doubt existing in the minds of those surrounding him is inevitably
conveyed telepathically to his subjective mind, and operates as an
adverse suggestion of irresistible potentiality. It requires a very
strong will, perfect faith, and constant affirmative auto-suggestion
on the part of the patient to overcome the adverse influence of an
environment of incredulity and doubt, even though no word of that doubt
is expressed in presence of the patient. It goes without saying that
it is next to impossible for a sick person to possess the necessary
mental force to overcome such adverse conditions. Obviously, the mental
healer who undertakes a case under such circumstances, procures the
discharge of the family physician, and prohibits the patient from using
medicines, assumes a very grave responsibility, and does so at the risk
of the patient’s life and his own reputation.

Success in mental healing depends upon proper mental conditions, just
as success in healing by physical agencies depends upon proper physical
conditions. This is a self-evident proposition, which the average
mental healer is slow to understand and appreciate.

The success of the physician depends as largely upon his knowledge
of the idiosyncrasies of his patient, his personal habits, his mode
of living, his susceptibility to the influence of medicines, etc.,
as upon a correct diagnosis and medicinal treatment of the disease.
In like manner the success of the mental healer depends largely upon
his knowledge of his patient’s habits of thought, his beliefs, his
prejudices, and, above all, his mental environment.

These remarks apply to all methods of mental healing; and, for
the purposes of this book, Christian science may be taken as a
representative of all systems of healing by mental suggestion, as
distinguished from oral suggestion.

Hypnotism, as practised by the Nancy school, may stand as the
representative of mental treatment of disease by purely oral
suggestion. The following extract from Professor Bernheim’s able work
on “Suggestive Therapeutics” (chapter i.) embraces the essential
features of the methods of inducing sleep practised by that school:

“I begin by saying to the patient that I believe benefit is to
be derived from the use of suggestive therapeutics; that it is
possible to cure or to relieve him by hypnotism; that there is
nothing either hurtful or strange about it; that it is an _ordinary
sleep_, or torpor, which can be induced in every one, and that this
quiet, beneficial condition restores the equilibrium of the nervous
system, etc. If necessary, I hypnotize one or two subjects in his
presence, in order to show him that there is nothing painful in
this condition, and that it is not accompanied with any unusual
sensation. When I have thus banished from his mind the idea of
magnetism and the somewhat mysterious fear that attaches to that
unknown condition, above all when he has seen patients cured or
benefited by the means in question, he is no longer suspicious, but
gives himself up. Then I say, ‘Look at me, and think of nothing
but sleep. Your eyelids begin to feel heavy, your eyes tired. They
begin to wink, they are getting moist, you cannot see distinctly.
They are closed.’ Some patients close their eyes and are asleep
immediately. With others, I have to repeat, lay more stress on
what I say, and even make gestures. It makes little difference
what sort of gesture is made. I hold two fingers of my right hand
before the patient’s eyes and ask him to look at them, or pass both
hands several times before his eyes, or persuade him to fix his
eyes upon mine, endeavoring, at the same time, to concentrate his
attention upon the idea of sleep. I say, ‘Your lids are closing,
you cannot open them again. Your arms feel heavy, so do your
legs. You cannot feel anything. Your hands are motionless. You
see nothing, you are going to sleep.’ And I add, in a commanding
tone, ‘Sleep.’ This word often turns the balance. The eyes close,
and the patient sleeps, or is at least influenced. I use the word
‘sleep,’ in order to obtain as far as possible over the patients
a suggestive influence which shall bring about sleep, or a state
closely approaching it; for sleep, properly so called, does not
always occur. If the patients have no inclination to sleep, and
show no drowsiness, I take care to say that sleep is not essential;
that the hypnotic influence, whence comes the benefit, may exist
without sleep; that many patients are hypnotized, although they do
not sleep.

“If the patient does not shut his eyes or keep them shut, I do
not require them to be fixed on mine, or on my fingers, for any
length of time, for it sometimes happens that they remain wide open
indefinitely, and instead of the idea of sleep being conceived,
only a rigid fixation of the eyes results. In this case, closure
of the eyes by the operator succeeds better. After keeping them
fixed one or two minutes, I push the eyelids down, or stretch them
slowly over the eyes, gradually closing them more and more, and
so imitating the process of natural sleep. Finally, I keep them
closed, repeating the suggestion, ‘Your lids are stuck together,
you cannot open them. The need of sleep becomes greater and
greater, you can no longer resist.’ I lower my voice gradually,
repeating the command, ‘Sleep,’ and it is very seldom that more
than three minutes pass before sleep or some degree of hypnotic
influence is obtained. It is sleep by suggestion,–a type of sleep
which I insinuate into the brain.

“Passes or gazing at the eyes or fingers of the operator are only
useful in concentrating the attention; they are not absolutely
essential.

“As soon as they are able to pay attention and understand, children
are, as a rule, very quickly and very easily hypnotized. It often
suffices to close their eyes, to hold them shut a few moments, to
tell them to sleep, and then to state that they are asleep.

“Some adults go to sleep just as readily by simple closure of the
eyes. I often proceed immediately, without making use of passes
or fixation, by shutting the eyelids, gently holding them closed,
asking the patient to keep them together, and suggesting at the
same time the phenomena of sleep. Some of them fall rapidly into a
more or less deep sleep. Others offer more resistance. I sometimes
succeed by keeping the eyes closed for some time, commanding
silence and quiet, talking continuously, and repeating the same
formulas: ‘You feel a sort of drowsiness, a torpor; your arms and
legs are motionless. Your eyelids are warm. Your nervous system is
quiet; you have no will. Your eyes remain closed. Sleep is coming.’
etc. After keeping up this auditory suggestion for several minutes,
I remove my fingers. The eyes remain closed. I raise the patient’s
arms; they remain uplifted. We have induced cataleptic sleep.”

Having succeeded in inducing sleep, or getting the patient in a passive
and receptive condition, the operator then proceeds to suggest the
idea of recovery from the disease with which he is afflicted. On this
subject the author speaks as follows:–

“_The patient is put to sleep by means of suggestion_; that is, by
making the idea of sleep penetrate the mind. He is _treated by
means of suggestion_; that is, by making the idea of cure penetrate
the mind. The subject being hypnotized, M. Liébault’s method
consists in _affirming in a loud voice the disappearance of his
symptoms_.

“We try to make him believe that these symptoms no longer exist,
or that they will disappear, the pain will vanish; that the
feeling will come back to his limbs; that the muscular strength
will increase; and that his appetite will come back. We profit
by the special psychical receptivity created by the hypnosis, by
the cerebral docility, by the exalted ideo-motor, ideo-sensitive,
ideo-sensorial reflex activity, in order to provoke useful
reflexes, to persuade the brain to do what it can to transform the
accepted idea into reality.

“Such is the method of therapeutic-suggestion of which M. Liébault
is the founder. He was the first clearly to establish that the
cures obtained by the old magnetizers, and even by Braid’s hypnotic
operations, are not the work either of a mysterious fluid or of
physiological modifications due to special manipulations, but the
work of suggestion alone. The whole system of magnetic medicine is
only the medicine of the imagination; the imagination is put into
such a condition by the hypnosis that it cannot escape from the
suggestion.

“M. Liébault’s method was ignored a long time, even by the
physicians at Nancy. In 1884 Charles Richet was satisfied to
say that magnetism often has advantages, that it calms nervous
agitation, and that it may cure or benefit certain insomnias.

“Since 1882 I have experimented with the suggestive method which I
have seen used by M. Liébault, though timidly at first, and without
any confidence. To-day it is daily used in my clinic; I practise it
before my students; perhaps no day passes in which I do not show
them some functional trouble, pain, paresis, uneasiness, insomnia,
either moderated or instantly suppressed by suggestion.

“For example: a child is brought to me with a pain like muscular
rheumatism in its arm, dating back four or five days. The arm is
painful to pressure; the child cannot lift it to its head. I say
to him, ‘Shut your eyes, my child, and go to sleep.’ I hold his
eyelids closed, and go on talking to him. ‘You are asleep, and you
will keep on sleeping until I tell you to wake up. You are sleeping
very well, as if you were in your bed. You are perfectly well and
comfortable; your arms and legs and your whole body are asleep,
and you cannot move.’ I take my fingers off his eyelids, and
they remain closed; I put his arms up, and they remain so. Then,
touching the painful arm, I say, ‘The pain has gone away. You have
no more pain anywhere; you can move your arm without any pain; and
when you wake up you will not feel any more pain. It will not come
back any more.’ In order to increase the force of the suggestion by
embodying it, so to speak, in a material sensation, following M.
Liébault’s example I suggest a feeling of warmth _loco dolente_.
The heat takes the place of the pain. I say to the child, ‘You feel
that your arm is warm; the warmth increases, and you have no more
pain.’

“I wake the child in a few minutes; he remembers nothing; the sleep
has been profound. The pain has almost completely disappeared; the
child lifts the arm easily to his head. I see the father on the
days following: he is the postman who brings my letters. He tells
me that the pain has disappeared completely, and there has been no
return of it.

“Here, again, is a man twenty-six years old, a workman in the
foundries. For a year he has experienced a painful feeling of
constriction over the epigastrium, also a pain in the corresponding
region of the back, which was the result of an effort made in
bending an iron bar. The sensation is continuous, and increases
when he has worked for some hours. For six months he has been
able to sleep only by pressing his epigastrium with his hand.
I hypnotize him. In the first séance I can induce only simple
drowsiness; he wakes spontaneously; the pain continues. I hypnotize
him a second time, telling him that he will sleep more deeply,
and that he will remember nothing when he wakes. Catalepsy is not
present. I wake him in a few minutes; he does not remember that I
spoke to him, that I assured him that the pain had disappeared. It
has completely disappeared; he no longer feels any constriction. I
do not know whether it has reappeared.”[29]

The foregoing extracts present the gist of the methods employed by the
Nancy school of hypnotism. The hypnotic condition is induced solely by
oral suggestion, and the disease is removed by the same means. There
can be no doubt of the efficacy of the method, thousands of successful
experiments having been made by the author and his colleagues. These
experiments have demonstrated the existence of a power in man to
control by purely mental processes,–the functions and conditions of
the human body. They have thus laid the foundation of a system of
mental therapeutics which must eventually prove of great value to
mankind. But they have done more. They have demonstrated a principle
which reaches out far beyond the realm of therapeutics, and covers all
the vast field of psychological research. They have demonstrated the
constant amenability of the subjective mind to control by the power
of suggestion. It is not surprising that those who have discovered
this great principle should insist upon its applicability to every
phenomenon within the range of their investigations; but it is strange
that they should fail to recognize a co-ordinate power governed by
the same law, within the same field of operations. Yet this is true
of the modern scientific school of hypnotism to-day. The Nancy school
believes in the power of suggestion, but confines its faith to oral
suggestion. Having demonstrated that _oral_ suggestion is efficacious
in the production of psychic phenomena, they hold that _mental_
suggestion has no power in the same direction. Having demonstrated that
certain phenomena can be induced independently of any so-called fluidic
emanation or effluence from the hypnotist, they hold that no fluidic
emanation is possible. These conclusions are not only illogical, they
are demonstrably incorrect. The Christian scientists are constantly
demonstrating the potency of purely telepathic suggestion by what
they denominate “absent treatment;” _i.e._, treatment of sick persons
without the knowledge of the patients. That there is a power emanating
from the operator who hypnotizes by means of mesmeric passes, seems
to be very well authenticated by the experiments recorded by the
old mesmerists. It must be admitted, however, that many of their
experiments do not conclusively prove anything, for the reason that
they were made before suggestion as a constant factor in hypnotism had
been demonstrated. Recent experiments by members of the London Society
for Psychical Research have, however, now placed that question beyond
a doubt. Their methods of investigation are purely scientific, and
were made with a full knowledge and appreciation of the principle of
suggestion, and of the distinction between mesmerism and hypnotism.

In an account of some experiments in mesmerism, written by Mr. Edmund
Gurney, and recorded in vol. ii. pp. 201-205, of the Proceedings of the
Society referred to, a very interesting experiment is mentioned, which
demonstrates the fact that there is an effluence emanating from the
mesmerizer which is capable of producing very marked physical effects
upon the subject. In this case the subject was blindfolded and allowed
to remain in his normal condition during the whole of the experiment.
His hands were then spread out upon a table before him, his fingers
wide apart. The mesmerizer then made passes over one of the fingers,
taking care not to move his hand near enough to the subject’s finger
to cause a perceptible movement of the atmosphere, or to give any
indication in any other way which finger was being mesmerized. The
result was, in every instance, the production of local anæsthesia in
the finger operated upon, and in no other.

Oral suggestion, or any other form of physical suggestion, was here out
of the question; and telepathic suggestion was extremely improbable,
in view of the fact that the subject was in his normal condition, and
consequently not in subjective rapport with the operator. A further
experiment was then tried, with a view of ascertaining whether it was
necessary for the mesmerist to know which finger he was operating upon.
To that end, the operator’s hand was guided by the hand of a third
party while the passes were being made; and it was found that the
selected finger was unaffected, when the operator did not know which
one it was.

The first of these experiments demonstrates the fact that there is an
effluence emanating from the mesmerist; and the second demonstrates the
fact that this effluence is directed by his will.

What this effluence is, man may never know. That it is a vital fact in
psychic phenomena is certain. Like many other subtle forces of nature,
it defies analysis. That it exists, and that under certain conditions
not yet very clearly defined it can be controlled by the conscious
intelligence of man, is as certain as the existence of electricity. Its
source is undoubtedly the subjective mind, and it is identical with
that force which, under other conditions, reappears in the form of
so-called spirit-rappings, table-tipping, etc.

Space will not permit the reproduction of further account of the
experiments of the Society for Psychical Research and the reader is
referred to their Proceedings for fuller information. It must suffice
to say that the experiments referred to are completely demonstrative,
not only of the fact that an effluence does emanate from the mesmeric
operator, but that under mesmeric conditions telepathic suggestion is
as potent as are the oral suggestions of the hypnotists.

These facts are beginning to be recognized even by the scientists of
Europe, thanks to the carefully conducted experiments of the Society
for Psychical Research. Professor Liébault himself, the discoverer
of the law of suggestion, now freely admits the fact that a specific
influence is sometimes exerted by the mesmerizer upon his subject,
which does not arise from oral suggestion. In fact, this doctrine must
soon be, if it is not now, one of the recognized principles of psychic
science.

It will thus be seen that healing by mesmerism is a process clearly
distinct from healing by hypnotism. The latter depends for its
effects wholly upon oral suggestion and the unaided power of the
subjective mind of the patient over the functions and conditions of
his body; whereas the mesmeric healer exerts a positive force of great
potentiality upon the body of the patient, filling it with vitality, in
addition to the oral suggestion of the hypnotist. Not only so, but when
purely mesmeric methods are employed,–that is, when the mesmerist is
in subjective rapport with his patient, as fully explained in a former
chapter,–he is in a condition to convey suggestions telepathically
with as much certainty and potency as he could orally. In point of
fact, telepathic suggestions by a genuine mesmerist are often far more
efficacious than the oral suggestions of a hypnotist, for the simple
reason that the mesmerist, being in a partially subjective condition
himself, is able to perceive by intuition the true condition of the
patient. In other words, the intuitive, or subjective, diagnosis of an
intelligent mesmerist, supposing always the true mesmeric conditions
to be present, is far more likely to be correct than the objective
diagnosis of the hypnotist. For, be it known, it is just as necessary
for the mental healer, whatever may be his processes or his theory,
to be able to make a correct diagnosis of a case as it is for the
allopathic physician. The reason is the same in both cases. The efforts
of the healer must necessarily be exerted in the right direction, or
they will be futile. Hence it is that, other things being equal, the
most intelligent mental healer is always the most successful.

Taking it for granted, then, that there is a fluidic emanation, or
effluence, proceeding from the mesmerist and impinging upon the
patient, it follows that there is a positive dynamic force exerted
upon the patient, either for good or evil, by the employment of
mesmeric methods. That its effects are salutary when properly used for
therapeutic purposes is proved by the concurrent testimony of all who
have intelligently made the experiment, from the days of Paracelsus
down to the present time.

From this it would appear that mesmerism must be the most powerful, in
its immediate effects, of any of the known methods of mental healing.
It combines oral suggestion with mental suggestion, and employs in
addition that mysterious psycho-physical force, or effluence, popularly
known as animal magnetism.

Before leaving this branch of the subject, a few remarks will be in
order regarding the relative value of the different systems of mental
healing now in vogue. It has frequently been charged that healing
by hypnotism and mesmerism is not lasting in its effects,–that no
permanent cure is ever made by these methods. It must be admitted that
there is some ground for these statements, although so sweeping a
charge is by no means justifiable. It is true that in many instances
patients who have been cured by hypnotism and mesmerism have suffered
a relapse, and in some cases the relapse has been worse than was the
original sickness. This of itself constitutes no valid objection to
the means of cure; for it must be admitted that under no system of
treatment is a patient free from the danger of a relapse or of a
recurrence of the disease at some future time. There is, however, this
to be said in regard to hypnotic or mesmeric treatment which does not
apply with the same force to healing by medicines. The success of
mental methods of treatment depending, as it does, upon the mental
condition of the patient and upon the mental impressions made upon
him, it follows that if the mental impressions are not permanent, the
cure may not be permanent. Hence it often happens that a patient,
elated by the success of hypnotic treatment in his case, relates the
circumstances to his friends, especially to his sceptical associates,
only to meet with a storm of ridicule, or at least with expressions
of incredulity or doubt. In such a mental environment his subjective
mind inevitably takes hold of the adverse suggestions, and without
being objectively conscious of it, he has lost faith, the citadel of
his defence is broken down, and if his disease had a mental origin,
he is open to another attack more severe and serious perhaps than the
first. That Christ was fully alive to this danger is shown by the fact
that when he healed a person in private, he rarely failed to place the
solemn injunction upon him, “See thou tell no man.” No recorded words
that the Master ever uttered display a more profound knowledge of the
underlying principles of mental healing than these. Modern healers
are not so modest, nor do they seem to understand the prime necessity
for seeing to it that their patients are kept in a proper frame of
mind in reference to their disease and the means employed to cure
them. The general principle of auto-suggestion is recognized by all
scientific hypnotists of the present day; but they fail to recognize
its extreme importance as a therapeutic agent. Properly understood
and applied, auto-suggestion supplies a means of enabling every one
to heal himself, or at least to hold himself in the proper mental
attitude to make permanent the good effects of hypnotic treatment by
others. Many of the pains and ills to which the average man is subject
can be cured by this means, and it should be the first care of every
hypnotist to instruct his patients in this branch of the science.
In this respect the Christian scientists are far in advance of the
hypnotists and mesmerists. They teach their patients how to help
themselves. They organize them into classes, deliver lectures, and give
minute instructions how to treat themselves, as well as how to treat
others. Without knowing it, they in effect teach their patients the
methods of auto-suggestion. Without having the remotest conception of
the real principles which underlie their so-called “science,” they have
somehow stumbled upon the machinery of mental therapeutics. To do them
full justice, it must be said that they employ the machinery to good
purpose. They do much good and little harm, and the little harm they
do, generally arises from over confidence in the universal efficacy of
their methods.

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