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.
We are accomplishing much today in a therapeutic way by educational methods pure and simple. The civilized world is witnessing a movement on the part of the medical profession that is destined to equip the people to fortify themselves against the ravages of the malarial and tubercle infections, which have so long been the most formidable of the enemies of the human race, with results that promise the dawn of a new and brighter day to millions of people, as well as the saving to the world annually of thousands of human lives.
For the protection of the people against the ravages of the malarial infection, they are taught the importance of the isolation of the infected individual by the use of screens to prevent the transmission of the infection by the mosquito, and the employment of quinin taken internally to render them immune to the infection, as well as to cure the disease after the failure to observe the precautions to prevent it.
But the message that science brings today to those infected with the tubercle bacillus is an index to another important truth that the profession by these psychotherapeutic prophylactic procedures is attempting to drive home to the consciousness of mankind. Our leading pathologists and clinicians are saying to the individual in the incipient stage of tuberculosis: "Your hope is in the line of self-development; you must live so as to maintain a degree of resistive power in the cells of your organism to the extent that they will be invulnerable to the ravages of the tubercle bacillus, and this factor will not count so far as you are concerned."
The very beginning of the treatment of tuberculosis is by suggestion. It suggests that the individual avail himself of fresh air in abundance, of sunshine, easily assimilated food, sleep, and work. It assures the patient that he can outlive the enemy; and the physician who himself most sincerely believes in the efficacy of the moans to secure the desired therapeutic result is always the most successful in the treatment of this disease, because his confidence not only enables the patient to better co-operate in the employment of the regimen outlined, but has a weighty psychophysiological significance in the promotion of the welfare of the patient as well.
Ilis association with his patient results not only in the administration of psychotherapy, strictly speaking, but in the training of the patient into such habits of thought and action that call into play neuron elements, the functionating of which enables the patient to conform to the physiological requirements of health. Such association inspires hope, confidence, and expectancy, and the mental states thus created, or induced, encourage all of the involuntary physiological processes. Such a psychophysiological stimulus aids the functionating of the normal nervous mechanisms of the animal physiology to the extent that increased phagocytosis results and a corresponding increase in constructive metabolism, which adds to the dynamic potency of every cell of the human organism.
By the employment of psychotherapy we assist nature in her efforts to combat morbid processes, and in this way we aid all other therapeutic expedients. By such measures we place the patient under the most favorable circumstances for nature to do her work, and, at critical moments, we stimulate the patient's flagging powers and thus bridge over a yawning gulf. We can palliate many of the distressing symptoms of disease, but we can not atone for all the outrageous infringements of nature's inexorable laws. Neither can we remedy such matters by dosing with drugs, or by surgical procedures, or by any other therapeutic device; moreover, it is not likely that we ever shall be able to do so.
Psychotherapy, correctly construed, could very appropriately be designated as the employment of psychological, physiological, and educational therapeutics. Such must bo the conception of "psychotherapy" before it is rational. When the physician fails to employ ideas purely as a physiological or functional stimulant, especially in depressing diseases, he omits the sine qua nun to successfully treat disease. When he leaves out of consideration the measures to get his patient to conform to the physiological requirements of health as a means of obtaining the best therapeutic results, he is neglecting one of the greatest therapeutic adjuncts available. When he fails to educate his patient into such habits of living - eating, exercise, sleep, work, rest, fresh air, sunshine, and cheerfulness - as well as to arouse in him such mental states as are within themselves of direct therapeutic value, he is strongly allied to the charlatan who ignores other well-recognized therapeutic agencies.
But it is particularly in functional and neuropathic disorders that psychotherapy is most successful. When the term "functional" is employed in the above statement, we must understand that both mind and body are in disorder - that the function of the disturbed brain cells accompanies the ineffective will, and that to reinforce the will means to again bring into equilibrium the disturbed brain cells. There is a strong temptation for the psy-chotherapeutist to give attention only to the mental symptoms of disease, but the more firmly the physician adheres to the standpoint of psychophysiology, the better he will see disorder and cure in the right proportion. 1
The entire personality, mind and body, should be considered, and the popular separation between organic and functional diseases should no longer be tolerated. Every psychical disturbance is organic, inasmuch as it is based on a molecular change which deranges the function. Some of these changes are beyond restitution; some can be restored to normal activity by medicinal prescriptions, mechanics, and hydrotherapy, or dietetics; but the vast majority can be repaired only by physiological stimuli which reach directly the higher brain cells through the sense organs, and which we call psychical under one aspect, but which certainly remain physiological influences from another aspect.1
1 Hugo Miinsterberg: Psychotherapy.