PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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204        PSYCHOTHERAPY: SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
catalepsy, lethargy, etc., could be produced in a normal, non-hysteric person. Bernheim's chief interest seemed to lie in demolishing the already tottering school of Salpetriere experimentalists. He reproached the Sal-p&triere group for narrowing the field of hypnosis to hysteria. They reproached Bernheim for using normal subjects. The scientific controversy between the Nancy School and the Salpetriere group raged for almost t went Y_y ears.
Bernheim extended his interest beyond the experimental field, describing suggestive hypnosis as a remedy for diseases remote from the nervous system. Suggestion, to Bernheim, was a force that might be used widely in treating all forms of human ailments. If suggestion were so powerful, why not autosuggestion. After all, hypnotism was only the suggestion to relax and to sleep. Why could one not suggest repose and calmness to oneself, why not overcome fears by mastery over oneself, or cure disease by one's autosuggestion ? These possibilities Bernheim held as belonging to the not distant future.
In applying suggestion for cure, Bernheim would say : 1 You will get well, your state will improve, you will become calm at first, less frightened, then stronger. Your aches will grow less ; the pains will grow less. Gradually the muscles will loosen up, your joints will be less stiff, your limbs will become stronger and stronger/ These suggestions were repeated for several days in the same manner. There was nothing forceful about the manner of treatment. The suggestions were given in a tone which implied certainty. Patients coming to Nancy breathed an air of hopefulness and success. Although suggestive therapy was astonishingly successful, it met with opposition from medical men. Bernheim had to plead that there was a mental life, forming a vital part