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.
Every process of experience involves millions of such elements. The effort to explain the results of psychotherapeutic measures involves a complex mechanism, which belongs to a system of reactions of which all parts of the body are in steady correlation. The influence exerted by the stimuli of ideas upon the physiological processes of the body, and' the practical application of this influence as a therapeutic agent, is one of the most interesting developments of modern medicine.
But it should be definitely understood that "ideas" given as a therapeutic measure must be practical, and not given merely to influence morbid psychic and nervous conditions. Such measures are being recognized by able physicians throughout the entire world. Crothers tells us: "If the physician had been a consultant on all matters of mind and body, there would have been no Christian science and Emanuel movement. There would be no proprietary medicines bought and sold for every imaginary condition. Epidemics and endemics would have been checked at the beginning, and the great questions of health would have been settled in the home by the family physician before they attained prominence that required public recognition. The trained physician who becomes an adviser to every man and woman is the ideal to which practical medicine is rapidly moving." 1
1 T. D. Crothers, M. D.: Forecasts of Medical Practice in the Future. - New York Medical Journal, March 4, 1911.
Howard A. Kelly remarks: 1 "During convalescence the physician must avail himself of various methods of psychic stimulation and re-education, and here his knowledge of the world and of the men and women in it, their hopes, their desires, and their failings, will be most helpful to him. He must consider how long to keep the attention of his patient focused upon her cure, and how to prevent her from giving herself unhealthy suggestions. In other words, he must teach her so to train her attention that the action of the mind becomes healthy, and that it ceases to dwell upon the abnormal. He must excite in his patient the desire to get well, and must convince her as the treatment progresses that she is in reality getting well. He must teach her the importance of overcoming little difficulties, assuring her that, as she does one thing after another to which she may be disinclined, she will acquire an ever-increasing power of self-control, and that sooner or later her self-mastery will be regained.
"On the emotional side, a prolonged training is often necessary in order to get rid of abnormal fears, anxiety, and apprehension. The patient should be taught to cultivate the useful and invigorating emotions; she should be taught the dangers of excessive emotion of any kind, and the great harm of indulging in such passions as anger, hate, and fear. The positive rather than the negative side should be followed. Faith, hope, and love should be encouraged, and then worry, fear, and despair will disappear of themselves. Finally, work, physical and mental, must be undertaken, for in a properly directed occupation-therapy lies the greatest hope for making the cure permanent. These nervous women have to be educated gradually how to take up their work, and the physician's ingenuity will be greatly taxed in order to decide as to the particular physical and mental occupations suited to the individual cases coming under his care; one patient will be benefited by gardening, another by some active mental pursuit. In all cases the program of the day should be carefully arranged, and the patient should be encouraged to follow it closely. The work should be chosen in accordance with the ability and previous training and occupation of the patient.
It should be interesting to her and should be such as to be capable of giving expression to her better self."
1 Medical Gynecology, pages 224, 560.
Kelly further says:
"Our best neurologists today are making large use of hypnotism and suggestion in inducing sleep. To effect anything by this means, the physician must know his patient well enough to inspire confidence and must engage her aid in a common cause, operating against a common enemy - insomnia. The attitude of expectation thus created must be enhanced by the external conditions of the moment, such as retiring at a fixed hour, quieting the mind, and composedly awaiting the advent of the expected guest - sleep."
In referring to the treatment of chronic Bright's disease, Dr. Robert Ortner, of the University of Vienna, says: 1
"Especially in the interstitial variety, so much of success - of whatever hygienic, climatic, dietetic, and medicinal therapy is instituted - depends upon the establishment and maintenance of a normal psychic and nervous condition with a cheerful, hopeful frame of mind, that we as physicians must not fail to do our part in this most important branch. I encourage them by citing other cases that are living, working, and happy."
Psychotherapy has a definite field of its own, as well as being an adjunct in all classes of professional work, and it should never be considered as antagonistic to other therapeutic expedients. When it is skillfully and judiciously employed, it is unquestionably one of the most important therapeutic resources at our command, the value of which we are appreciating more and more as our experience with its employment becomes broader.
Donley has well said: 2 "When we have apprehended that psychotherapy means nothing but methods whereby we may bring about a cure of the mind, or by or through the mind, we not unnaturally inquire what is the ultimate purpose that these methods subserve. This purpose may be stated in one word - re-education. To mediate between theory and life is the highest privilege, as well as the most difficult and perplexing task, of the psychotherapist. Whatever the proximate object of his endeavor, the fundamental aim of his labor is, and must always continue to be, to make the theories of science bear fruit in life and conduct. Every psychotherapentio procedure, of whatever sort, has in view this definite end - to bring about a readjustment, some sought-for and desirable reorganization of the individual in respect of his inner and outer experience; to assist him, as well as may be, in his efforts, hitherto frustrated, toward the consummation of a more harmonious adaptation to his social and physical environment; in a word, to place at his disposal those principles of modern psychology which, rightly used, will not improbably facilitate and further his psychic re-education. The situation is in nowise different from that which confronts the teacher of normal minds, except in this, that the psychotherapist is, as a rule, engaged upon problems whose solutions are freighted with an immediate and greater moiety of happiness and misery."
1 Potter: Ortner's Treatment of Internal Diseases.
2John E. Donley. M.D.: Psychotherapy and Re-Education. - Journal of Abnormal Psychology, April-May, 1911.
By the employment of psychotherapeutic principles the great majority of chronic invalids can be trained up to a state of healthy mental and physical vigor, and by this achieve a self-reliance that can come to a patient only where such measures are employed. The patient is taught how to use his capacity - of both mind and body, conscious and subconscious - and to acquire a degree of self-reliance that proves a valuable asset through life.
What are possibilities with any therapeutic resource are, of course, not actualities in all patients alike, dependent upon an inherited quality of nerve and brain plasm, modified by education and environment. We must take our patients as they are, and make the best of each according to his or her individual limitations or possibilities.
Psychotherapy has found a response with the more enlightened spirit of our age, and by its employment we not only treat the patient, but by the very application of these methods instill into him or her facts and principles that serve to qualify them to become master of their own potentialities, be they much or little, weak or strong.
Munsterberg remarks: "In recent decades the thorough work of scientific physicians has developed a psychotherapy of considerable extent and of indubitable usefulness, far removed from the simultaneous efforts of the churches and the popular mental healing cures. A number of eminent men in all countries have tested the methods and have published results. But the curious side of it is that all this is essentially a movement of leaders, while the masses of the profession hesitate to follow. ... It is as if the prescription of the modern chemical drugs were confined to some leading scholars of the country, while thousands abstained from it in their office work and their family practice. In reality, psychotherapy ought to be used by every physician, as it fits perfectly the needs of the whole suffering community. Its almost exceptional use in the hands of a few scholarly leaders deprives it of its true importance. It is the village doctor who needs psychotherapy much more than he needs the knife and the electric current."