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.
In the consideration of any therapeutic measure, the first thought that comes to the mind of the wide-awake physician is, what is its advantage over any other method of treatment?
The answer to that question is easy: its addition to other therapeutic measures enables the physician to get results in a very large proportion of cases that come under our observation that can not be secured through any other agency. The value of any therapeutic adjunct is in direct ratio to the successful results that accrue from its administration. Yet, it must be remembered that what are possibilities with any method or kind of treatment - medicinal, surgical, suggestive, or otherwise - are not always actualities in the hands of all men alike, and it depends upon the individual, and upon him alone rests the responsibility for what he is not able to accomplish when he is really put to the test at the bedside, and this often seriously disturbs our conscience and humbles our pride.
Any physician who expects to use suggestive therapeutics successfully must by practice acquire that confidence in his own ability to succeed with it by familiarizing himself with all the facts, and theories, and details of his subject. Yet, I have often noticed an individual who possessed that inexplicable quality of personality to get others to do anything he wanted them to do, who had never read a line in psychology or suggestion, and was absolutely unfamiliar with the principles of medical science.
Hypnotism is a self-induced psychological condition. You do not hypnotize an individual - you simply get him to do it himself; but to get any one to act upon an idea or a series of ideas, either consciously or subconsciously, one must be in dead earnest, exercise a little enthusiasm about the undertaking, and go at it with the will to succeed.
The greatest essential to the application of suggestive therapeutics is a conviction on the part of the operator of the value of the treatment as applied to the case at hand and a desire to bring about the recovery of the patient. In fact, this is the important essential which is the sine qua non to the success of any kind of treatment. Yet, if suggestion be of value at all, it is of use just in proportion that the individual accepts and carries out the suggestion, both consciously and subconsciously. Hypnotism is but the art, or technic, or method of instructing an individual to act upon a suggestion or a series of suggestions. There must always be a conscious acquiescence, consent, or co-operation on the part of the individual, not necessarily to be hypnotized, but to take the suggestion, which is the same thing. Then, by suggestion there is induced in the patient a new consciousness whereby he is led to do that which he had previously been unable to do for himself both consciously and subconsciously.
In a preceding chapter I (The Awakening Interest In Psychotherapy) spoke of using suggestion to inhibit the conscious mind, as was hypothetically supposed to be accomplished in the hypnotic state. It would have been more correct to state that we simply get the patient to be passive and allow the operator to induce a new consciousness, and then to direct the stream of consciousness which produces mental states that react upon every bodily function.
We get our patient to let us direct and control his psychic activities, and teach and illustrate for him how he can direct and control them for himself. We put our patient better in control of himself, all dependent upon the suggestions or sense impressions that are transmitted to his brain cells through the senses while in this passive or suggestible condition.
Sense impression is the starting point for every psychic action. Every sense impression that is produced by suggestion or otherwise has a determined localization in the brain cortex.
It is assumed by psychologists that every sense impression, according to its degree of strength, produces a molecular change in the nerve cells influenced, which gives rise to the possibility of a reproduction of these ideas or sense impressions by an internal process.