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.
Not only are results realized in so-called functional and psychoneurotic conditions - such as headaches, neuralgias, rheumatism, impotency, certain forms of asthma, writer's cramp, constipation, nocturnal enuresis, inebriety, drug habit, hysteria, and monomania but excellent results are obtained in various gyne-cological diseases of a functional character, and in perversions and weaknesses of all kinds; also in pernicious and other forms of anemia, chronic malarial infection, and for the relief of the morbid psychic element accompanying organic valvular lesions, and to assist in the functionating of the disabled heart as well.
Medicine has always paid much attention to the psychic side of disease. Though unconsciously and unintentionally, she has been forced to consider the psychic factor not only in coming to her diagnosis, but also in planning her treatment. From time immemorial physicians have consciously or unconsciously utilized the minds of their patients, directly or indirectly, to combat their ills. What constitutes the more recent development in this field is the more extended and more precise application of psychic methods of diagnosis, and the elaboration and more intelligent utilization of psychotherapeutic methods. As Professor Lewellys F. Barker remarks,1 "Modern medicine is striving toward rational psychic diagnosis and rational psychotherapy."
The inquiry into the psychic state of the patient is often more important than the somatic inquiry, but how seldom does the physician investigate systematically the cause of the mental condition. The technic of eliciting mental symptoms has to be learned and practiced just as one has to learn and practice the technic of physical diagnosis.
The latest movement in the employment of psychotherapy in the treatment of mental diseases is in connection with the name of Freud, of Vienna, commonly referred to as the psychoanalytic form of psychotherapy, in which he seeks to remove the ultimate mental cause giving rise to certain symptoms resulting from a psychical trauma - a disagreeable idea which, inhibited in the mind, becomes the source of mischief and produces phobias, obsessions, and hysterical manifestations. This method of diagnosis and psychotherapeutic treatment, which is entirely in its beginning, promises wide application in a hitherto very intractable class of patients.
1Address before Rush College medical students, 1907.
Among others whose contributions to the development of modern psychotherapy stand out conspicuous are the names of such men as Janet, Bernheim, Liebeault, Binet, Dubois, Prince, Putnam, Boris Sidis, Munsterberg, Jung, Forel, and many others.
These writers apparently would limit the field of psychotherapy to neurology and psychiatry when it is equally applicable as a therapeutic adjunct in all classes of professional work. They have conclusively demonstrated that a functional disorder, so-called, is as much a real disease as any other abnormal mental or physical state. The work of the general practitioner is preventive as well as curative, and, if he is well equipped with the theoretical basis of psychotherapy, together with the practical methods of its employment, many patients would be relieved by him before their symptoms reach such gravity as to seek aid from the neurologist or psychiatrist. Psychotherapy is applicable in all classes of medical practice as an adjunct to other recognized agencies.
The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, June-July, 1909, contains eight interesting and highly instructive papers upon various aspects of psychotherapy which were read before the American Therapeutic Society at the annual meeting in New Haven, Connecticut, in May, 1909.
The significance of the awakening interest in this branch of therapeutics on the part of the medical profession is indicated by the fact that the president of the American Therapeutic Society, Frederick H. Gerrish, professor of surgery in Bowdoin Medical College, Brunswick, Maine, in the endeavor to learn what subjects most interested the physicians constituting the membership of this society, wrote to almost the entire membership, asking each to suggest topics for three symposia. Many of the correspondents proposed psychotherapy, and these suggestions, he said, coincided with his purpose to have, if possible, a discussion on the subject which has not been previously presented, and one of such importance that every medical practitioner, whatever be his favorite line of work, should be well grounded in its principles and familiar with its methods.
In the introductory address by Professor Gerrish, as president of the American Therapeutic Society, he says: "Indeed, most physicians, and some neurologists, have little appreciation of this branch of the healing art, and treat it cavalierly, if they deign to give it any consideration. The time seemed opportune for a careful, serious, scientific study of the subject by this society, the only national organization in America devoted exclusively to therapeutics. Furthermore, it was plain to me that this association, whose single purpose is so conspicuously declared by its name, was under a peculiar obligation to the profession in the premises, and ought, as far as possible, to correct the misapprehensions which prevail concerning psychotherapy, and accord the sanction of its interest and influence to this valuable form of treatment. By great good fortune the aid of eight physicians was enlisted in this cause, all of whom are learned in modern psychology, expert in neurology, skillful in psychotherapy, and enthusiastic in expounding their favorite doctrines.
They constitute a galaxy which can not be duplicated on this continent."
It is particularly pleasing to me to see that all that I have claimed for psychotherapy as an adjunct to the generally recognized therapeutic agencies, in the general practice of medicine, still stands unscathed and unreproached by the theories of the eight participants in this symposium, all of whom, in the words of Professor Gerrish, "are learned in modern psychology, expert in neurology, skillful in psychotherapy, constituting a galaxy which can not be duplicated on the continent."
The theories advanced by these scholarly essayists and that given by me in explanation of the results obtained by the employment of psychotherapeutic principles, or of the personal influence of the physician both with and without the employment of hypnotism, are identical in idea, in fact, and in method, as well as in scope of application, the difference being only one of phraseology - of terms used to convey ideas.
For practical purposes, our knowledge of psychotherapy should consist of an apprehension of facts and a description of those facts in terms that can be comprehended by the intelligence of the average physician, as well as by the well-educated medical student. Our medical education has been so deficient in this branch of study that the average well-educated physician is lost in eonfusion of terms used by the majority of psychotherapeutists to elucidate the principles of psychotherapy, and they fall short of an elucidation of the subject that would be of practical value to the general practitioner.
Our medical schools are responsible for the apparent apathy on the part of many physicians as regards psychotherapeutic treatment, as in none of them, except two or three of the larger eastern universities, is the subject taught as a part of the medical curriculum. The physicians who have been aroused to a realization of the utility of such measures are, as a rule, those who have had their attention drawn to the subject by experiences in the postgraduate schools of Europe and also, in some measure, in New York and Chicago.
The spirit of commercialism which actuates the movements of the promoters of our multiplicity of medical colleges is evidently responsible for the neglect of the teaching of such methods as will establish or induce in the individual comparative immunity to infection and other etiological factors of disease. Many physicians are narrow enough to see in such measures as will increase the efficiency of the individual a direct antagonist to all other therapeutic expedients, instead of regarding them as an efficient therapeutic adjunct.
Doctor Jacob Gould Sherman, in his address before the Joint Council on Medical Education and the Committee on Public Legislation of the American Medical Association, sounded the keynote to the situation in saying,1 "And if in this presence I do not say that the medical profession has been commercialized, I do not hesitate to assert that many medical schools and colleges have been established for the pecuniary benefit of their promoters, with the result that we now have in the United States almost as many of these institutions as all the rest of the civilized. world, and our standards of medical education are a disgrace to the nation and an outrage on humanity. . . . Considering the close relation between mind and body and the dependence of some diseases on mental conditions, I am often amazed that medical men fail so completely to realize the importance of the study of the sciences of mind as a part of that curriculum of the preliminary education they lay down for prospective students of medicine."
1Journal of the American Medical Association, April 16, 19J0.
Upon this phase of the subject Munsterberg remarks: "Indeed the time is ripe for a systematic introduction of psychological studies into every regular medical course. It is not a question of mental research in the psychological laboratory where advanced work is carried on, but a solid foundation in empirical psychology can be demanded of every one. He ought to have as much psychology as he has physiology."
Lewellys F. Barker, professor of medicine in Johns Hopkins University, tells us that1 "America, so far ahead in many subjects of medical instruction, is no less than fifty years behind Europe in this particular."
1 Address before Rush College medical students.