Methods classified in Two Divisions. - Mental and Oral Suggestions - Absent Treatment. - Christian Scientists handicapped by Ab surd Theories. - They claim too much.- The Use of Drugs. - Dangers arising from too Radical Change. - Importance of Favorable Mental Environment. - Mental Healing requires Mental Conditions. - Treatment by Hypnotism. - Bernheim's Methods. - Illustrative Cases. - The Practical Value of the System. - The Illogical Limitations of the Theory. - Potency of Telepathic Suggestion. - Researches of the Society for Psychical Research. - Mr. Gurney's Experiments. - They demonstrate the Theory of Effluent Emanations. - Diagnosis by Intuition.- Potency of Mesmerism. - Permanency of Cures.- Conditions necessary. - The Example of Jesus. - Self-healing by Auto-suggestion.
THE science of mental therapeutics may be classed in two general divisions, which are distinguished by the different methods of operation. The same general principle underlies both, but the results are attained by different modes of procedure.
The first method is by passivity on the part of the patient, and mental suggestion by the healer.
The second is by passivity on the part of the patient, and oral suggestion by the healer.
In ordinary practice both methods are used; that is to say, the oral suggestionist often unconsciously telepaths a mental suggestion to the subjective mind of the patient. If he thoroughly believes the truth of his own suggestions, the telepathic effect is sure to follow, and always to the manifest advantage of the patient. This is why it is that in all works on hypnotism and mesmerism the value and im portance of self-confidence on the part of the healer, or, in other words, belief in his own suggestions, is so strenuously insisted upon. Practice and experience have demonstrated the fact, but no writer on the subject attempts to give a scientific explanation of it. But when it is known that telepathy is the normal method of communication between subjective minds, and that in healing by mental processes it is constantly employed, consciously or unconsciously to the persons, the explanation is obvious.
Again, where mental suggestion is chiefly relied upon, the healer usually begins operations by making oral suggestions. Thus, the Christian scientist begins by carefully educating his patient in the fundamental doctrines of the school, and explaining the effects which are expected to follow the treatment. The mind is thus prepared by oral suggestions to receive the necessary mental impressions when the treatment proper begins. The most effective method of healing employed by that school consists in what it denominates "absent treatment." This is effected by purely telepathic means. The patient is absent, and often knows nothing, objectively, of what is being done for him. The healer sits alone and becomes passive; or, in other words, becomes partially self-hypnotized, and addresses the patient mentally, and proceeds to argue the question with him. The condition of health is strongly asserted and insisted upon, and the possibility of disease as strenuously denied. The advantages of this means of treatment are obvious. The telepathic suggestions are made solely to the subjective mind of the patient, and do not rise above the threshold of his consciousness.
The subjective mind, being constantly amenable to control by the power of suggestion, accepts the suggestions offered, and, having in its turn perfect control of the functions and conditions of the body, it proceeds to re- establish the condition of health. In other words, it abandons the abnormal idea of disease; and, in obedience to the telepathic suggestions of the healer, it seizes upon the normal idea of health. It will readily be seen that by this method of treatment the patient is placed in the best possible condition for the reception of healthful suggestions. He is necessarily in a passive condition. That is, being unconscious, objectively, of the mental suggestions which are being made to his subjective mind, he is not handicapped by antagonistic auto-suggestions arising from objective doubt of the power of the healer, or of the correctness of his theories. The latter is the most serious obstacle which the Christian scientist has to contend with; and it is safe to say that if his school had not been handicapped by a theory which shocks the common-sense of the average man, its sphere of usefulness would have been much larger than it is now.
The school is doing a great and noble work as it is, but it is chiefly among those who are credulous enough to disbelieve the evidence of their own senses. There is, however, a large and growing class of people, calling themselves Christian scientists, who ignore the fundamental absurdities of the theory of the founder of the sect, and content themselves with the knowledge that the practice produces good results. Each one of these formulates a theory of his own, and each one finds that, measured by the standard of results, his theory is correct. The obvious conclusion is that one theory is as good as another, provided always that the mode of operation under it does not depart, in any essential particular, from the standard, and that the operator has the requisite faith in his own theory and practice.
Another circumstance which handicaps the enthusiastic votaries of each of the schools consists in the tendency of all reformers to claim too much for their systems. Forgetting that they have to deal with a generation of people with a hereditary belief in the power of medicines to cure disease, a people whose habits of life and thought are materialistic to the last degree, they expect to change that belief instantaneously, and cause the new method to take the place of the old in all cases and under all circumstances. In other words, they expect to cure all diseases by mental methods alone, and they seek to prohibit their patients from employing any other physician or using any medicines whatever. This is wrong in theory and often dangerous in practice. It may be true, and doubtless is, that one great source of the power of drugs to heal disease is attributable to the mental impression created upon the mind of the patient at the time the drug is administered. This being true, it follows that when a patient believes in drugs, drugs should be administered. If Christian science or any other mental method of healing can then be made available as an auxiliary, it should be employed. But this is just what the ultra-reformers refuse to do.