A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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is no doubt largely due to the marvellous and (to most minds) mysterious character of the effects producible by its means; and this prejudice may be expected to diminish as our insight into the mode of its operation deepens. The results achieved by hypnotic suggestion become in some degree intelligible if we regard it as a powerful means of diverting nervous energy from one channel or organ to others, so as to give physiological rest to an overworked organ or tissue, or so as to lead to the atrophy of one nervous habit and the replacement of it by a more desirable one. And in the cure of these disorders which involve a large mental element the essential part played by it is to drive out some habitually recurrent idea and to replace it by some idea, expectation or conviction of healthy tendency.
It is in the treatment of these disorders, and in the restoration of ' lost memories' (a form of dissociation), that hypnosis and other forms of suggestion have made their most arresting popular appeal. The blind have been made to see, and the halt and the lame to walk ; yet, as one doctor remarked when discussing the cures obtained by this means with ' shell-shocked ' soldiers, ' The man walked out of the hospital cured, but fell down paralysed at the door of the next hospital \ This criticism is just, and the reason is obvious. The paralysis was the result of some cause, and if the cause still persisted then, though relief of the paralysis might be obtained by suggestion, the cause remaining would be liable, and would be expected, to produce the same or some other similar disability later. It is exactly on a par with the prescription of aspirin for headache or of bromides for insomnia. These may give temporary relief to the symptoms, but the symptoms will recur if the cause is a fever or a worry unless the fever is cured or the worry dissipated. But in many