surrounding him is inevitably conveyed telepathically to his subjective mind, and operates as an adverse suggestion of irresistible potentiality. It requires a very strong will, perfect faith, and constant affirmative auto-suggestion on the part of the patient to overcome the adverse influence of an environment of incredulity and doubt, even though no word of that doubt is expressed in presence of the patient. It goes without saying that it is next to impossible for a sick person to possess the necessary mental force to overcome such adverse conditions. Obviously, the mental healer who undertakes a case under such circumstances, procures the discharge of the family physician, and prohibits the patient from using medicines, assumes a very grave responsibility, and does so at the risk of the patient's life and his own reputation.
Success in mental healing depends upon proper mental conditions, just as success in healing by physical agencies depends upon proper physical conditions. This is a self-evident proposition, which the average mental healer is slow to understand and appreciate.
The success of the physician depends as largely upon his knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of his patient, his personal habits, his mode of living, his susceptibility to the influence of medicines, etc., as upon a correct diagnosis and medicinal treatment of the disease. In like manner the success of the mental healer depends largely upon his knowledge of his patient's habits of thought, his beliefs, his prejudices, and, above all, his mental environment.
These remarks apply to all methods of mental healing; and, for the purposes of this book, Christian science may be taken as a representative of all systems of healing by mental suggestion, as distinguished from oral suggestion.
Hypnotism, as practised by the Nancy school, may stand as the representative of mental treatment of disease by purely oral suggestion. The following extract from Professor Bernheim's able work on " Suggestive Therapeutics " (chapter i.) embraces the essential features of the methods of inducing sleep practised by that school: