A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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it was done unconsciously. After a time the suggestion was reluctantly advanced that in the Salptriere of pre-Charcot days epileptic and hysterical patients had learned by imitation to reproduce these symptoms and it was within the bounds of possibility that Charcot's hysterical patients were influenced by the master's suggestion when they went into la grande hystirie at his clinic. At the time, however, no one pressed these heretical views for the authority at the Salpetriere could not be gainsaid.
Charcot's experiments led him to describe three states as characteristic of hypnosis lethargy, catalepsy, and somnambulism. The description of these states stood for many years as the scientific basis of hypnotic phenomena. The experimental work at that time aimed at the understanding of the electrical excitability of nerves. The minutest details concerning the response of muscles to electrical stimulation, to pressure, heat, cold, and friction, which caused catalepsy, were studied as having a bearing on hypnosis. Experimental work gave valuable information on the subjects of neurology and physiology, but did not lead to a discovery of the secret of hypnosis. Apparently the investigators had still to take into account the more specifically psychological aspect. Now it had been known for some time that hypnosis had a clarifying effect on the memory, and strange phenomena had been noticed in this connection. For instance, one subject sang an aria of the opera LyAfricaine while under hypnosis, though she could not remember a note of it when in a normal condition. Two facts emerged from this : first that forgetfulness was not a unitary mental function ; second, that in a waking condition there seemed to be an element of active suppression of memory. Some subjects could not restrain themselves from passing into the rigid, cata-