A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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v                     THE EVOLUTION OF PSYCHOTHERAPY                 201
leptic state. As a consequence, the French investigators concluded, not unnaturally, that some subjects were ' selectively responsive' to certain hypnotists. Then, too, some individuals reacted to hypnotism in a more complicated way, half the body becoming as if anaesthetized while the other half was in a state of stupor, for example. Charcot concluded that hypnosis only occurred in hysterical individuals, whose nervous sensibility predisposed them to it. He contended that there is a regular sequence in these three stages and that, according to the will of the operator, one or the other can be produced. He obtained a state of lethargy by fixing the patient's eyes on a given point, or by gentle pressure on the eyeballs. This state resembles natural profound sleep, but is distinguished from it, and from all other conditions, by a characteristic feature neuro-muscular hyper-excitability ; i.e. if a nerve is pressed the muscles supplied by that nerve will be put into action, and if a muscle is stroked or pressed, it will contract. Thus, pressure on the ulnar nerve will, in Charcot's subjects, produce flexion of the third and fourth fingers, abduction of the thumb, extension and separation of the first and second fingers. It passes into the second stage when the eyelids are opened ; cataleptic rigidity may now be produced in a limb, and it may be bent or placed in any position. Moreover, emotions corresponding with the position are evoked. If the subject is put into a pugilistic attitude, his expression will become fierce and determined ; if into one of prayer, he will wear the aspect of devotion. Moreover, if only one eye be opened, onesided catalepsy is produced, and the other remains lethargic. A bright light or sudden noise will also produce this condition, and in closing the eyes the subject falls into lethargy. The third stage is produced from the first or second by gently rubbing the top of