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 abuse of suggestion extends also into the medical profession. Through its use many people are made to submit, on the one hand, to useless surgical operations, which often aggravate the functional disturbance which they were intended to relieve, and, on the other hand, they are caused to refuse the help of honest surgery for the relief of pathological conditions beyond the reach of any other treatment.
There is absolutely no difference between hypnotic suggestion and suggestion employed without hypnotism. It produces the same influence or effect in kind, the difference being only one of degree as regards its effectiveness upon the psychophysical organism.
In reference to the observed tendency of the nervous system to conserve and reproduce its experience, or to conserve by some physical mechanism the systems of ideas that have been formed by the various psychotherapeutic methods of treatment, whether in hypnosis or in the normal waking state, Professor Morton Prince says:
"It makes no difference in what state a complex is formed - whether in every-day life, in sleep, trance, dissociated personality, subconscious states, or hypnosis - they are or may be equally firmly organized and conserved, and they are conserved, whether we can voluntarily recall the experiences or not. Whether they are to become organized depends upon the mode and conditions under which the impression is made upon the mind or nervous system, but, once organized, they are conserved and become a part of our personality."
Suggestion without hypnotism, even when used unconsciously, may stealthily and subtly dominate the mind or nervous system of the individual without his consent; while hypnotic suggestion, intelligently applied for the relief of functional ills of the physical organism, is always employed with the individual's consent.
One can not be hypnotized without the consent of the individual. The hypnotic state is induced only by the co-operation of the true ego, the real man, which is the sum total of the psychic and physical potentialities of the individual self-consciousness. When this ideal self is fully developed, or an ideal self is awakened and evolved as the result of the influence of heredity and experience, then the mind and body are its obedient servants. It is beyond the vision of the microscope or the range of the dissecting knife, and just in proportion as it is developed will it control the mind, and through the mind produce harmonious and healthful results in the body.
I have no wish to be visionary. Life is too short for impractical theories and suggestions, but, to speak plainly, some of us have been half-doctors long enough. We have been dealing too much with effects, and have failed to consider an important etiological factor of disease. Man is both a mental and physical being, and can not be treated simply as if we were conducting experiments in a chemical laboratory. Heretofore most of the advance made in the progress of medical science has been on a physical plane, and the achievements made in the branches of surgery, bacteriology, pathology, and hygiene challenge the admiration and applause of modern civilization. But while bacteriology and pathology can detect, and surgery remove and destroy, the diseased part, and hygiene lessen the conditions that occasion the infection of the organism with pathogenic germs, the causes of many so-called functional diseases - among them neurasthenia and certain forms of insanity - have remained obscure.
The number of inmates of the insane asylum in every state is yearly increasing far beyond the ratio of increase of population. Why so many diseased bodies and imperfect nervous organizations? These bear a strong evidence of the tendency for the species to degenerate rather than to grow healthier and stronger. These are burning and pertinent facts that are beginning to dawn upon the thinking portion of our craft.
Nor are the people satisfied. All over the world is the spirit of unrest and dissatisfaction being made manifest, as is indicated by the different "mind cure" schools and cults which attempt to carry their claims into extravagant absurdities. The doctors themselves realize this, and just in proportion as they are honest and educated men are they deeply troubled at their own deficiencies.
With a large acquaintance of professional men, I am prepared to say that physicians study hard and work unceasingly, and their brain and muscles, and their very heart's blood itself, are at the disposal of their patients; but still something more is needed. Either our remedies are insufficient, or we fail to understand the great human machine upon which we are experimenting.
While we do much good, and earn sufficient gratitude to enable us to strive on, and while we can maintain enough courage to look our patient squarely in the face, the suffering which we have not been able to relieve, and the relief and cures which we have not effected, and the universal prevalence of diseases that have not been eradicated, have become such prominent factors in the history of our profession as to seriously humble our pride.
The time has come when psychology should be brought to the front. I would that a chair of physiological psychology were established in all our medical schools. I should like to see every boy and girl in our common schools, old enough to understand it, made to realize that a power resides in the mind, and how they can use it to maintain a healthy body, and how, by an abuse of this force, they increase their susceptibility to disease, from whatever cause.
To say the least of it, the medical profession should better acquaint itself with the importance of psychic influences as etiological factors, as well as equip itself to make use of this therapeutic power in the cure of disease. "When the members of the medical profession become leaders and teachers in this important branch, the practice of medicine will be elevated to a higher plane. Then will the breach between that portion of intelligent laymen who feel that physicians are not doing their duty be bridged over.