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.
I accepted that as evidence of a splendid result of the treatment, but advised her to reduce the dose one-half, drink more water, and take more exercise in open air and sunshine, assuring her that the "dead feeling" was only her "nervousness dying out."
Never use hypnotism or suggestion for amusement upon any occasion.
The physicians in the United States who have felt that their practices were injured by their use of suggestion and hypnotism have been those who have given parlor entertainments, etc. I have yet to find a single man who employs suggestive measures in a dignified, conscientious manner but whose success has been augmented both therapeutically and financially.
I can cite some men who have stated to me five years after taking my instruction in suggestive therapeutics that the knowledge derived from the one lesson had benefited them more than a three-months' course of post-graduate instruction. They were men who had not before realized their own worth, and by the lesson in suggestive therapeutics they awoke to a higher appreciation of their personality as a therapeutic recourse.
It has been asserted that a patient who has been frequently hypnotized has been robbed of self-reliance and become so helpless that he must lean upon his hypnotizer for support. On the contrary, I have frequently planted suggestions into the minds of patients that have rendered them so independent, and capable, and self-reliant that they have refused to have further suggestions from me, taking their lives into their own hands, being guided by their own reason, while we remained the best of friends.
A man had been so crazed by a long drunken spree that he became delirious, and rushed out of his house in the dark, ran into a fence, and landed in a neighbor's house, begging him to protect him, his face bleeding from the obstacles he had encountered. Beside his bed was found an iron poker, and on either side of him were respectively a pistol and a large knife. His stomach had at last become his best friend, and given him a chance to end his siege of alcoholic poisoning by rejecting all whisky he attempted to put into it, as well as all medicine given for the relief of his miserable nervous and mental condition. He felt, however, crazed as he was, that I was his friend, and I did my best to prove worthy of his confidence.
I placed a cold towel upon his forehead, and began my suggestions to hypnotize him by telling him that the cold application would quiet him all over and make him drowsy and sleepy, and that he would go to sleep and sleep soundly all night, and awaken in the morning feeling all right. Though I had secured thorough relaxation, with his eyes closed and with him breathing through his mouth, when I suggested that "this cold towel will put you to sleep and you will sleep soundly all night," he took a deep inspiration and said, "Lord grant it," showing how he acquiesced in the treatment. He was hypnotized, and suggestions were given to quiet all nervousness, to relieve his irritable stomach, to get him to sleep soundly all night, to excite a disgust or antipathy and hatred for whisky, and, above all, to awaken within him a consciousness of manhood and duty to his family.
He slept soundly all night from half-past five in the afternoon until half-past seven the following morning, and, as I approached the front door on my return visit, his wife, whose nervous system had been shattered by such experiences for several years, met me with the exclamation, "Oh, Dr. Munro, do you reckon Mr. Blank will ever wake up?"
"Why, certainly, Mrs. Blank; he is breathing, is he not!"
"Yes, he has been resting nicely, and I was able to retire last night and get some sleep for the first time in three weeks."
Upon awakening the patient in question, who was a large, strong, well-educated, successful business man, I congratulated him upon having a good night's sleep and assured him that he would not care for more whisky, and was going to be a man after that.
That evening I said to him, "Mr. Blank, I desire to put you to sleep again," and, extending his hand, he said, "Dr. Munro, you c-a-n-t do it. I thank you very much for the treatment last night and shall always appreciate it, but I do not expect to touch any more whisky, and I shall get along all right."
I assured him that I was very glad indeed to hear him talk that way, and that for his wife's and daughter's sake, as well as his own, I knew he would feel happier. I turned, however, to an attendant and directed that a placebo capsule (of powdered licorice root) be given at eight o'clock, and, in case he did not sleep soundly by nine, to give a second capsule, suggesting to the patient that he would sleep soundly all night. He refused hypnotic suggestion, but took the placebo capsules and slept soundly.
It is very easy to get an individual to accept a suggestion that is in accordance with his natural desires. Some people do not want to get well. They enjoy the sympathy and attention of an overanxious family ad nauseam. In such cases a suggestion given to set up a reaction may become necessary.
A physician had a pneumonia patient who had insisted that he was going to die on a certain night. The family had asked that another doctor be called in, and that each of them stay on watch during the night.
The attending physician had kindly assured the family that there were no alarming symptoms, and also did all he could to reason with and reassure the patient. Nevertheless, at the appointed time, the young man sent for his family and began bidding them good-by, when at that juncture the attending physician walked into the room, where the new recruit had for two hours been on watch.
He was a man who did things in his own way; so he insisted that all the family go out of the room and demanded of the patient, as if he were mad enough to fight, what all this commotion meant ? When the young man assured him that he was going to die and could not get well, etc., the wise old physician answered, "Well, die, - you, die and be in a hurry about it; make haste and let me see you." Then placing his hand on his forehead, he called the boy by name and said to him kindly, "I am tired of all this foolishness. You are going to get well. You can't die, it matters not how hard you try. Now, close your eyes and go to sleep, and let me hear no more from you." The patient was relieved of his morbid psychoneurotic condition and made a nice recovery.
A hypodermic of 1/10 grain of apomorphin has served the author as a most valuable means of suggestion.
In some psychoneurotic cases a Paquelin cautery, heated to a cherry-red heat before the patient's eyes and brushed with quick light strokes down the spine, proves a most valuable expedient as a means of suggestion. Hundreds and hundreds of physicians are using the static machine at so much per treatment. Says one, who is honest enough to admit that it is only a suggestive means of treatment: "It matters not what be the trouble, I give them all the same dose."
A man who will exercise the courage to do so, can use suggestion and get results when all such subterfuges are worthless. He can take his equipment with him wherever he goes, and the general practice of medicine is unquestionably the field for its most valuable and effective employment.
In my work among the physicians it has been a matter of observation that psychotherapy is being appreciated just in proportion as culture and education are most in evidence. Its successful employment, as with all other branches of medicine, depends largely upon the personality of the physician. There is no disease or condition where its use is contraindicated, provided the right suggestions are given to help the patient.
If used to benefit the patient, its employment will make friends for the physician. No selfish, cold-blooded physician who is in the practice of medicine solely for the money, and who has his patients' interest not more at heart than the desire to secure a fee, can ever be a successful psychotherapist. It is best employed by the man who is most willing to stand up for his weaker brother - who is most anxious to help his patients to help themselves. Character, which is educated thinking, desiring, willing, and acting, is a valuable asset in the make-up of a physician's therapeutic armamentarium. With such an asset his conduct toward his patients will be governed accordingly.