A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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ix                 SCIENTIFIC HYPNOSIS AND THE OCCULT              351
to some unfavourable mental condition of the subject. Confidence and goodwill on the part of the subject (or patient) are almost essential to success. It is to be noted that even after hypnosis has been induced on several occasions a patient may be so influenced by injudicious friends that he cannot again be hypnotized or, if hypnotized, is much less amenable to the power of suggestion.
Attempts to hypnotize children of from six or seven to fifteen years of age seldom fail ; and the fit and strong are more easily hypnotized than the sickly, the strong-willed than the weak-willed. There is apparently no difference between the sexes.
One fear many patients have is that under hypnosis they may behave in a manner which they may regret later, and, what would make it even worse, they may not know what has happened. They must be reassured on these points and they must be told that they will remember everything that happens while they are hypnotized, if they so wish. However deep the hypnotic state, the patient will remember everything if he is told to do so. Confidence is increased if the patient sees others hypnotized.
Having given the patient confidence, the next step is to help him to attain a receptive state. As far as possible all distracting external sources of sensory stimulation should be eliminated, the room darkened and as quiet as possible. Spectators may be allowed, unless they distract the patient. It is advantageous, though not absolutely necessary, for the patient to be placed in as comfortable a position as possible, with the clothing loose. The patient may lie down on his back, or on his side if he wishes. The former is preferable as the weight of the body is then more equally distributed. If he lies on his back his legs should be straight down, not crossed. His