The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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166        THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
" I begin by saying to the patient that I believe benefit is to be derived from the use of suggestive therapeutics; that it is possible to cure or to relieve him by hypnotism; that there is nothing either hurtful or strange about it; that it is an ordinary sleep, or torpor, which can be induced in every one, and that this quiet, beneficial condition restores the equilibrium of the nervous system, etc. If necessary, I hypnotize one or two subjects in his presence, in order to show him that there is nothing painful in this condition, and that it is not accompanied with any unusal sensation. When I have thus banished from his mind the idea of magnetism and the somewhat mysterious fear that attaches to that unknown condition, above all when he has seen patients cured or benefited by the means in question, he is no longer suspicious, but gives himself up. Then I say, ' Look at me, and think of nothing but sleep. Your eyelids begin to feel heavy, your eyes tired. They begin to wink, they are getting moist, you cannot see distinctly. They are closed.' Some patients close their eyes and are asleep immediately. With others, I have to repeat, lay more stress on what I say, and even make gestures. It makes little difference what sort of gesture is made. I hold two fingers of my right hand before the patient's eyes and ask him to look at them, or pass both hands several times before his eyes, or persuade him to fix his eyes upon mine, endeavoring, at the same time, to concentrate his attention upon the idea of sleep. I say, 4 Your lids are closing, you cannot open them again. Your arms feel heavy, so do your legs. You cannot feel anything. Your hands are motionless. You see nothing, you are going to sleep.' And I add, in a commanding tone, ' Sleep.' This word often turns the balance. The eyes close, and the patient sleeps, or is at least influenced. I use the word ' sleep,' in order to obtain as far as possible over the patients a suggestive influence which shall bring about sleep, or a state closely approaching it; for sleep, properly so called, does not always occur. If the patients have no inclination to sleep, and show no drowsiness, I take care to say that sleep is not essential; that the hypnotic influence, whence comes the benefit, may exist without sleep; that many patients are hypnotized, although they do not sleep.
" If the patient does not shut his eyes cr keep them shut, I do not require them to be fixed on mine, ot on my fingers, for any length of time, for it sometimes happens that they remain wide open indefinitely, and instead of the idea of sleep being conceived, only a rigid fixation of the eyes results. In this case, closure of the eyes by the operator succeeds better. After