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.
Male, aged 50; height, 5 feet 5 1/2 inches; weight, 140 pounds; by occupation a physician. This person was a brother of the patient described in case 9, who came from a distant state to visit the patient just as he came under my care. This physician was impressed by the "oddity" of the regimen outlined for his brother, and made no hesitancy in expressing his doubt as to the practical outcome of such measures. After watching with interest the satisfactory results which were obtained in a very short time by the employment of psychotherapeutic measures in the case just described, this physician put himself under my care. He had a history that clearly showed that he had undergone an overstrain in his education before and during his career as a student of medicine, from which he had never entirely reacted. Eight years ago he underwent an operation for a tubercular disease of the epididymis, and had also a cystitis supposed to be of tubercular origin. After the operation mentioned, in the course of several years, he recovered from the tubercular disease, but was left with a contracted bladder, holding not more than an ounce of urine, and, as a consequence, he was compelled to empty his bladder at frequent intervals both day and night.
Notwithstanding this impediment, he resumed his professional work.
Eight months previous to coming under my care he had a paralytic stroke, having fallen during the administration of an anesthetic and three days elapsed before consciousness returned. When he came under my care the arm and leg on the affected side were partially impaired, and his memory for names and places almost nil.
His knowledge of the pathology of his condition, and his failure to recover after so long a period, left him psychasthenic and physically incompetent.
After treatment for one month by suggestion, hypnotic suggestion, and by instituting a dietetic, hygienic, gymnastic, and exercise regimen, in which the patient gave intelligent, faithful cooperation, he has made more improvement than in all the previous eight months combined, and, instead of feeling compelled to resign his life to "vegetating" for the balance of his days, he feels qualified to meet the exigencies and responsibilities incident to his struggle for existence as a competent, self-reliant, capable, and normal man, and has for several months followed his practice.
Female, aged 42; married. Had been a sufferer from subacute gastritis for many years, for which medicine, rest, travel, mineral waters, electricity, massage, and hydrotherapy had been employed, together with numerous dietetic regimens, with no benefit. Constipation, insomnia, and other neurasthenic symptoms were in evidence. The temperature of this patient was 101 1/2°, specific gravity of urine 1,000, and she was nervous and irritable. She had recently declined a surgical operation for the relief of her stomach disorder, which she was assured would bring the only permanent relief from her symptoms. She was greatly reduced in weight, pale, and anemic, having a sallow complexion, furred and red tongue, an irritable throat and nagging cough, as the result of an excessively acid stomach secretion.
After one month's treatment by psychotherapeutic procedures, in which the measures employed in the foregoing cases were instituted, she has gained ten and a half pounds, sleeps well, is free from cough and throat symptoms; specific gravity of urine is normal, bowel movements are regular every day, skin has lost the sallow, waxy hue, and she is strong, optimistic, and happy.
Female, aged 65. Highly cultured - in fact, a victim of overindulgence in the pleasures derived from reading, study, travel, and other modes of a particular type of luxurious living - and in many respects a sensible, practical woman. Since ten years ago she had reduced in weight from 125 to 93 pounds, suffered from nervousness, insomnia, and obsessions, as well as other neurasthenic and psychasthenic manifestations. She had availed herself of the treatment of the leading physicians of her home city, as well as having received treatment by one of the best known neurologists of New York city and a famous physician of Berlin, but she had continued to lose in weight, and to suffer from her various psychoneurotic manifestations, in spite of all that had been done for her.
She came to me as the result of reading a former edition of this book, and was quite willing to intelligently co-operate with my mode of treatment, which consisted of hypnotic suggestion, re-education, instruction in dietetics, exercise, and gymnastics.
After seeing her at intervals of from once per day to once per week for three months, she had gained eighteen pounds, enjoyed a general feeling of well-being, slept comparatively well, and felt stronger and happier in every way. The employment of Jung's association method pointed to many abnormal complexes, all of which revealed her scholarly character and strong ambition to learn, which no doubt was the cause of her symptomatic manifestations.
No effort was made to go into an analysis of the psychogenetic origin of her symptoms more than to point out to her the necessity of living the simple life, and I also taught her how, as a means of conserving and maintaining the highest possible degree of nervous and mental stability, she could meet the exigencies incident to a normal wholesome life.
I could report many more cases where the employment of psychotherapeutic treatment, embracing the measures employed in the cases here reported, have been attended with gratifying results where other measures in general use had been inadequate.
As to the correctness of the diagnoses in the cases mentioned, they were in accord with the opinions of physicians, most of whom are occupying professorships in medical universities throughout various sections of the United States.
As stated in the beginning of this chapter, the foundation of rational therapeutics is in pathology, etiology, and diagnosis, but the trouble in most of these cases was that there had been too much pathology and diagnosis impressed on the patient, and too little regard for practical methods of training him away from the pathology of his condition by the employment of the normal mechanism of his nervous system, whereby his general condition, as well as relief from his special pathology, might be obtained. It is the function of psychotherapeutic measures to so utilize the normal machinery of the physiological organism that the destructive metamorphosis may be arrested, and, as far as possible,.repaired. By the employment of these methods for the maintenance of the functions of the entire organism, restitution of the special pathological processes will, in many instances, undoubtedly be the result. Consequently, the method of treatment is not to be limited to the treatment of merely so-called functional diseases, and, when it is skillfully and judiciously employed, it is unquestionably one of the most important therapeutic resources at our command, the value of which we are appreciating more and more as our experience with its employment becomes broader.
In all of the cases reported in this chapter, hypnotic suggestion was freely employed as well as simple suggestion, and instruction in dietetics, hygiene, exercise, and gymnastics. Every phase of the life of the individual patient was freely discussed, and he was reeducated upon every practical problem of life as a means of helping him to readapt himself to his environment. In this process of "re-education" the patient received the benefit of all that could be gained by the psychoanalytic form of psychotherapy, which has been so extensively elaborated by Freud, whose methods are nothing more or less than his way of employing suggestion.
Just a word in regard to the employment of hypnotic suggestion. In no instance do I attempt to deceive the patient. I explain to him what hypnotism is, giving him a lucid explanation of its theoretical basis, as a therapeutic agent, as applicable to his individual case. I frankly and truthfully explain to him that he is not going to sleep, but that by his assistance and co-operation I am enabled to train him into placing himself into a condition of increased receptivity to suggestion whereby his neuron elements are better enabled to conserve the ideas, feelings, and emotions produced as the result of the suggestions employed by me. As all motor actions arise in the emotions, the patient is enabled to accomplish by his own voluntary efforts that which he could not accomplish without such assistance. Hypnotic suggestion has enabled me to dispense with hypnotics in the treatment of insomnia. By the use of hypnotic suggestion, intelligently and judiciously applied, we are enabled to promote sleep, quiet nervousness, relieve pain, encourage secretion, aid excretion, stimulate functional activity, control sensation, aid digestion, strengthen the will, develop latent talents, strengthen the muscles, correct morbid fears, cure despondency, hallucinations, obsessions, and, in conjunction with other psychotherapeutic measures, to prevent certain forms of insanity.
Here I would again repeat that psychotherapeutic measures are not a complete system of medicine, but should be used in conjunction with other therapeutic resources, though often they give relief where other remedies have failed, and often, when used alone, other measures are unnecessary. The measures embraced in the application of the principles of psychotherapy are applicable to every patient who is able and willing to give intelligent co-operation. In its employment we do nothing more or less than help the patient to make use of the normal potentialities of the psychophysiological organism, and equip him or her to be better enabled to use these mechanisms or nervous potentialities for oneself.