PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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194         PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
earnest, tried to interest the French Academicians and the French scientists in his discovery, but without success. His public was convinced, however, that he had come upon a therapeutic agent of incalculable importance. Mesmer's treatment rooms became crowded. He made friends and enemies quickly ; he also made money. He was held in high esteem by both nobility and rabble ; he became a household saint, a hero, a god, a myth. To the common people his * animal magnetism ' was a sure cure which satisfied them, no matter how the scientists fumed. As money poured in the seances attained finesse: Mesmer refined his technique. Entering his dimly - lighted and richly appointed salon, he donned a lilac silk robe, and strode about, carrying an elegant iron wand, with which he touched the sides of the patients, and especially those parts which were diseased. According to an eye-witness, ' often, laying aside the wand, he magnetized them with his eyes, fixing his gaze on theirs, or applying his hands to the hypochondriac region and to the lower part of the abdomen \
In order to impress the Academy, he prepared a paper expounding the theory which lay behind his treatments. Summed up in twenty-seven propositions, his theories were based on false assumptions and un-proven claims and it was small wonder that the Academicians dismissed him as a charlatan. Besides, he spoke in terms of the mind, and French physicians, as proud of their science as were their Viennese colleagues, did not recognize the part played by mental forces in medicine. The times called for physiology and chemistry, not psychology.
By this time Mesmer, noting the different susceptibility of patients, was puzzled as to the reason. He considered that he himself was the possessor of ' animal