This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
The tool of psychotherapy is suggestion, and all suggestion operates upon the conscious every-day actions and beliefs of the patient, influencing the higher intellectual faculties and motor functions, and the subconscious, involuntary psychophysiological mechanisms comprising the functions of the entire animal physiology.
As comprehended today, psychotherapy is as much in the domain of physical and physiological therapeutics as is medicine, electricity, hydrotherapy, massage, surgery, or any other therapeutic expedient, and its application is just as scientific - its indications just as clearly defined. The truth of this proposition is not in the least questioned by any one familiar with the principles of modern physiological psychology.
Psychotherapeutic methods of procedure may practically be reduced to three measures - psychotherapy by hypnotic suggestion, that by suggestion in the waking state, and finally that by persuasion, reasoning, or re-education. From these various forms of psychotherapy the medical man must choose the method best adapted to the individual case as presented in actual clinical work.
All psychical treatment - direct or indirect, whatever be the form of procedure - aims at the persuasion of the patient. It is administered by the employment of suggestion to persuade, influence, or encourage the functions of the nervous system, whether acting on the higher mental levels, to which belong conscious and Voluntary actions, or appealing to the lower mental levels, including unconscious, automatic, involuntary actions. All methods of procedure make employment of suggestion, and, whatever be the difference in technic of administration, the results are obtained in conformity to a common law - the influence exerted by impressions from without upon the psychophysiological functions.
Every case requires a special method, and is in a way amenable to procedures of verbal suggestion. Psychotherapy, as a method, can not be brought under a single formula. The intelligent physician must be able to distinguish special indications, and to adapt his treatment to the psychology of each individual patient. The character of the patient, his sensitiveness, social level, and his degree of intelligence are all conditions that require from the physician, if he is to conduct a successful psychical treatment, the most varied modes of administration.
Rational psychotherapy must embrace physiological and educational therapeutics. The psychotherapeutic influence of dietetics, hydrotherapy, exercises, and gymnastics, combined with the individual merits of these therapeutic expedients, are so related that the employment of either procedure constitutes in some degree the employment of rational psychotherapy. The value of these procedures is not in the least questioned by any one giving adequate consideration to such rational measures in helping the individual, whatever be his ailment or disease, to secure and maintain a condition of health.
The intelligence of our age demands that an edequate study of man and the diseases that afflict him take into account the methods of developing and upbuilding the entire man, mental and physical.
The attention devoted to the study of man's diseases is most praiseworthy, and the efforts of pathology and diagnosis have been crowned with glorious achievements, but we have not devoted enough study to the methods of maintaining and developing the suffering individual. In our effort to make an exact terminological diagnosis and make a direct attack upon the pathological processes, the sick man himself has been neglected.
Besides mitigating pathological processes, physicians should be prepared to assist their patients in making use of the norma1 mechanisms, or potentialities, of the entire organism in order to safeguard them against the recurrence of the outrages of pathological processes, or prevent the more serious pathological modifications, so far as such assistance is practicable. All sick people need such assistance. They need education, knowledge, and guidance in order that they may secure and maintain a heightened degree of resistive power in the cells of the organism, so as to render them invulnerable to the onslaught of diseased processes.
We should continue the study of the cause and prevention of disease. An intelligent conception of cause and prevention is an absolute necessity for the stability of medical science, but more study should be devoted to the sick individual demanding restoration to health. We have not given undue attention to the study of diseased processes, but to the living organisms we have devoted not enough.
As one of America's most eminent therapeutists tersely expresses it, "An adequate study of man and the diseases that afflict him takes into account all his faculties and functions, mental and nervous, as well as physical - all his surroundings, the conditions of birth, of parentage, and hence of inheritance. Man is a complex being, a conscious spark of divinity embodied in matter, and no part of his nature can be neglected or ignored without affecting the whole man in greater or less degree."
No one who has given attention to the study of psychology and of sociology can dispute that a very large percentage of our diseases are of mental origin. Of mental origin also are the countless criminals and so-called defectives of society. Mental causation and physical effects are correlated just in the same way as sensory stimuli and cerebral excitations are correlated to physical anatomy.
Butler truly says, "The power of mind over matter - or, more rationally, the relation between mind and matter - is everywhere being recognized with its true bearing on life and its various manifestations, and the uplifting of the human race to higher mental and intellectual planes has already begun. But man is not more all mind than he is all matter, and Christian science, mental heal ing, and such like cults, having their good and evil side according as their exponents are sincere and intelligent or the reverse, have done some good and some harm, and so doubtless will continue to do to the end of the chapter. These cults all present interesting psychological studies, and, if examined fairly and dispassionately, they will prove valuable and instructive."