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.
A number of times in my life has it been my unpleasant duty, yet high privilege, to have an opportunity to stand by a patient, in the face of a positively unfavorable prognosis made by those who did not appreciate the great power of suggestion upon the subconscious, and tell him, "You are going to get well." I have had such patients squeeze my hand as I held theirs and say, "If you stand by me, Doctor, I will get well."
All classes of illness, sickness, or disease, in conjunction with other methods of treatment, need moral or psychological support. They need leadership. We need men in the profession to do as Napoleon did when his men were dying by hundreds each day on his march in the East. He visited the camp, and took each one by the hand and assured him strongly and positively that, if he would be brave, he would get well. Just as this one visit of his to the sick and discouraged soldiers put an end to an epidemic where several hundred men were dying each day, so would many human lives be saved by this simple suggestion, given with confidence and with conviction in conjunction with other therapeutic measures.
The medical profession has been looking too long at the surface of things. We have dealt too much with externals, with effects, and have neglected causes.
There are three-fourths of the human race who need arousing and being shocked into a self-consciousness of strength and ability, confidence and determination; not only in facing the questions of health and disease, but in all other problems of life. The man who gives such patients some of his own optimistic personality is giving them strength and life itself. They convert countless millions and millions of brain centers, lying dormant and unused, into action to encourage every bodily cell to increased function.
The trouble is that the majority of people have not sufficient confidence within themselves. They do not recognize their power, and have no confidence in the latent potentialities dormant and unused within them, that can be called into action only through faith and confidence. A new self-consciousness needs to be awakened within them. The great majority of people are incapable of thinking and reasoning for themselves. Their minds, through education and experience, have not had the foodstuffs to enable them to exercise reason. They are governed by fear and ruled by emotion. Others go through life in a listless, dreamlike mental condition, referred to by Jastrow as mental loafing.
The will is capable of reproducing those impressions made upon the brain only through experience and education. Whatever idea is uppermost in their minds, whatever impression is the strongest, is the one that most influences them.
The physician who is so engrossed in the pathology of the case that at each visit he recites it over and over again to his patient, assists in encouraging not the patient, but the disease. He fastens the morbid psychoneurotic element of the patient stronger upon him, and thus intensifies his disease by lessening his resisting powers.
People are hypnotized by their beliefs. Belief in an idea or a theory, or a creed or a drug, or a man or a woman, is the place where the individual relinquishes self-responsibility, takes mental refuge, and agrees to act upon the idea or series of ideas that are presented to him either consciously or subconsciously. It is all a matter of getting the confidence of people and making suggestions.
"Keep off the grass, keep off the grass," is a sign that one sees everywhere in the study and application of this subject. It is before the door of the prevailing educational systems. Political and economic problems, religious and therapeutic creeds, orthodox and heterodox alike, all mold and shape the actions of men by the use of suggestion in disguised form. How sensitive people are when we tell them the truth.
Three years ago, in one of our northern cities, a gentleman invited me to attend what he called a remarkable hypnotic exhibition. It was the last service of a ten-day religious revival meeting iN a tent with a capacity for fully five thousand people. The last song had been sung and the last prayer offered before the speaker appeared upon the platform. He walked up and down before his audience as if heaven and hell, life and death, time and eternity were all on his shoulders. He then struck a pose, by the side of his little stand, that itself filled his audience, who were already under the influence of his suggestions, with expectant awe and fear. With all the intensity of a tragedian he then began: "There are people under the sound of my voice here tonight that before this hour is over will have made a record for hell or heaven! There are people under the sound of my voice that before another year has rolled around will have approached the judgment bar of God!" One strong expression after another of this kind followed, and in less than three minutes a little woman with an unstable, nervous organization near me dropped upon her knees with the cry, "Lord, help; O Lord, save the people!" etc.
On and on went the suggester, the pulpit orator, the speaker, the hypnotist, and one after another followed the example of the little woman until within twenty minutes pandemonium reigned. The whole tent reverberated the echoes of crying, shouting, and praying.
I walked up close to the leader and noted that he went from one to another and suggested what the Lord would do and what the penitent must do. To one he suggested, "Just get up and say, 'Glory, hallelujah; it's all right.' " For at least forty times the poor fellow jumped up, and clapped his hands and exclaimed, "Glory, hallelujah; it's all right!" Dozens of others were playing their stunts in different ways.
This was in one of the most enlightened and cultured states in our great union, and this was a tame affair compared with BOOM experiences of the writer in his own former southern state, both among whites and negroes.