NOTES FROM SUGGESTIVE THERAPEUTICS: H. Bernheim, Associated Booksellers, Westport, Conn. 1957: (Originally published in France 1886 and in English 1889)
No: hypnotic sleep is not a pathological sleep. The hypnotic condition is not a neurosis, analogous to hysteria. No doubt, manifestations of hysteria may be created in hypnotized subjects; a real hypnotic neurosis may be developed which will be repeated each time sleep is induced. But these manifestations are not due to the hypnosis,--they are due to the operator's suggestion, or sometimes to the auto-suggestion of a particularly impressible subject whose imagination, impregnated with the ruling idea of magnetism, creates these functional disorders which can always be restrained by a quieting suggestion The pretended physical phenomena of the hypnosis are only psychical phenomena. Catalepsy, transfer, contracture, etc., are the effects of suggestion. To prove that the very great majority of subjects are susceptible to suggestion is to eliminate the idea of a neurosis. At least it is not an admission that the neurosis is universal, that the word hysteria is a synonym for any nervous impressionability whatever. For, as we all have nervous tissues, and as it is a property of such tissues to be impressionable, we should all be hysterical.
The sleep itself is the effect of a suggestion. I have said that no one could be hypnotized against his will. M. Ochorowitz has opposed this proposition energetically. Perhaps he has not quite
grasped my idea. It is certain that any one who does not want to be hypnotized, and who knows that he need not be influenced if he does not wish to be, successfully resists every trial. It is also true that certain subjects cannot resist because their willpower is weakened by fear or by the idea of a superior power which influences them in spite of themselves. No one can be hypnotized unless he has the idea that he is going to be. Looked at in this light my proposition cannot be attacked. The idea makes the hypnosis; it is a psychical and not a physical or fluid influence which brings about this condition. It is a singular thing that psychologists like M. Janet and M. Binet have failed to recognize the purely psychical nature of these manifestations. M. Delboeuf has not been deceived in the matter. (p viii)
The experiments lately made by M. Rourru and M. Buret, of Rochefort, have been cited in opposition to the doctrine of suggestion. I have reference to the action of drugs at a distance. Certain subjects in the hypnotic or waking condition are supposed to have a singular aptitude for being influenced by a substance contained in a bottle placed by their side, and of whose contents they are ignorant, the effect being as if the substance had been injected.
I confess that this experiment has never been successful in my best cases of somnambulism, and I will frankly state my opinion regarding it, though perhaps I may be wrong. I was present at an experiment of this kind and in it, at least, I was convinced that suggestion was the explanation of the phenomenon. One should first be aware of the fact that in all degrees of hypnosis the subjects hears and understands everything even though he may appear inert and passive. Sometimes the senses are particularly sharp in this state of special concentration, as if all the nervous activity were accumulated in the organ of which the attention is solicited. These subjects think that it is their duty to try to carry into effect the operator's thought, and they therefore use all this sensorial hyper-acuteness, all this concentrated attention, in trying to guess what is wanted of them. Knowing that they are expected to feel the effect of a substance held in a bottle, they suggest to themselves vague phenomena such as discomfort, anxiety, agitation and nausea, which correspond to the effects of most poisons; as alcohol, opium, emetics, valerian, etc. If there is any one among the assistants who knows what the substance in question is, and who, astonished by these primary manifestations on the subject's part, betrays his sentiments by word, the subject hears each word, though spoken in a low voice, and seizes upon the suggested aid held out to him. If no one speaks, he tries to find some indication to set him on the right track, in the faces of those present, in the gestures, in the slightest sign of approbation or disapprobation, and in odors; he gropes his way, and sometimes he guesses rightly. If there is no sign, if none of the assistants and not even the operator knows what the bottle contains, the subject returns to his passive state after making a few manifestations which are not very sharply defined, and the experience has failed. (p ix-x)
Manner of hypnotizing: I PROCEED to hypnotize in the following manner. I begin by saying to the patient that I believe benefit is to be derived from the use of suggestive therapeutics, that it is possible to cure or to relieve him by hypnotism; that there is nothing either hurtful or strange about it; that it is an ordinary sleep or torpor which can be induced in everyone, and that this quiet, beneficial condition restores the equilibrium of the nervous system, etc. If necessary, I hypnotize one or two subjects in his presence, in order to show him that there is nothing painful in this condition and that it is not accompanied with any unusual sensation. When I have thus banished from his mind the idea of magnetism and the somewhat mysterious fear that attaches to that unknown condition, above all when he has seen patients cured or benefited by the means in question, he is no longer suspicious, but gives himself up, then I say, " Look at me and think of nothing but sleep. Your eyelids begin to feel heavy, your eyes tired. They begin to wink, they are getting moist, you cannot see distinctly. They are closed.' Some patients close their eyes and are asleep immediately. With others, I have to repeat, lay more stress on what I say, and even make gestures. (p 1) It makes little difference what sort of gesture is made. I hold two fingers of my right hand before the patient's eyes and ask him to look at them, or pass both hands several times before his eyes, or persuade him to fix his eyes upon mine, endeavoring, at the same time, to concentrate his attention upon the idea of sleep. I say, "Your lids are closing, you cannot open them again. Your arms feel heavy, so do your legs. You cannot feel anything. Your hands are motionless. You see nothing, you are going to sleep." And I add in a commanding tone, "Sleep." This word often turns the balance. The eyes close and the patient sleeps or is at least influenced.
I use the word sleep, in order to obtain as far as possible over the patients, a suggestive influence which shall bring about sleep or a state closely approaching it; for sleep properly so called, does not always occur. If the patients have no inclination to sleep and show no drowsiness, I take care to say that sleep is not essential; that the hypnotic influence, whence comes the benefit, may exist without sleep; that many patients are hypnotized although they do not sleep. (See farther on.) If the patient does not shut his eyes or keep them shut, 1 do not require them to be fixed on mine, or on my fingers, for any length of time, for it sometimes happens that they remain wide open indefinitely, and instead of the idea of sleep being conceived, only a rigid fixation of the eyes results. In this case, closure of the eyes by the operator succeeds better. After keeping them fixed one or two minutes, I push the eye-lids down, or, stretch them slowly over the eyes, gradually closing them more and more and so imitating the process of natural sleep. Finally I keep them closed, repeating the suggestion, "Your lids are stuck together; you cannot open them. The need of sleep becomes greater and greater, you can no longer resist." I lower my voice gradually, repeating the command, " Sleep,'' and it is very seldom that more than three minutes pass before sleep or some degree of hypnotic influence is obtained. It is sleep by suggestion,--a type of sleep which I insinuate into the brain.
Passes or gazing at the eyes or fingers of the operator, are only useful in concentrating the attention. They are not absolutely essential. (p 2)
As soon as they are able to pay attention and understand, children are as a rule very quickly and very easily hypnotized. It often suffices to close their eyes, to hold them shut a few moments, to tell them to sleep, and then to state that they are asleep.
Some adults go to sleep just as readily by simple closure of the eyes. I often proceed immediately without making use of passes or fixation, by shutting the eye-lids, gently holding them closed, asking the patient to keep them together, and suggesting at the same time, the phenomena of sleep. Some of them fall rapidly into a more or less deep sleep.
Others offer more resistance. I sometimes succeed by keeping the eyes closed for some time, commanding silence and quiet, talking continuously, and repeating the same formulas; ,, You feel a sort of drowsiness, a torpor; your arms and legs are motionless. Your eyelids are warm. Your nervous system is quiet; you have no will. Your eyes remain closed. Sleep is coming, etc." After keeping up this auditory suggestion for several minutes, I remove my fingers. The eyes remain closed. I raise the patient's arms; they remain uplifted. We have induced cataleptic sleep.
Others are more rebellious, preoccupied, unable to give themselves up: they analyze their own feelings, are anxious, and say they cannot sleep. I command them to be calm. I speak only of drowsiness, of sleepiness. " That is sufficient,'' I say, "to gain a result. without sleep. Keep perfectly quiet and do not worry." When a patient is in this frame of mind, I do not try to get cataleptiform effects, because, being only drowsy yet always awake, always apt to regain full consciousness, he is easily roused out of this state. Sometimes then, satisfied with a doubtful state of somnolence, and without wishing to prove if the patient is really influenced, I leave him to himself, asking him to remain in this condition for some time. Some remain under this influence for a long period without being able to say whether they have done so voluntarily or involuntarily. Generally during the second or third séance I succeed by means of this suggestive education which the patient has had, in inducing a more advanced stage of hypnotic influence which is no longer doubtful but accompanied with suggestive catalepsy or even with somnambulism.
Whilst with some patients success is more readily obtained by acting quietly, with others quiet suggestion has no effect. With these, it is better to be abrupt, to restrain with an authoritative voice the inclination to laugh, or the weak and involuntary resistance which this maneuver may provoke.
Many persons, as above stated, are influenced at the very first séance, others not until the second or third. After being hypnotized once or twice, they are speedily influenced. It is often enough to look at such patients, to spread the fingers before the eyes, to say, "Sleep,'' and in a second or two, sometimes instantly, the eyes close and all the phenomena of sleep are present. It is only after a certain number of séances, generally a small number, that the patients acquire the aptitude for going to sleep quickly.
It occasionally happens that I influence seven or eight persons successively, and almost instantly. Then there are others who are refractory or more difficult to influence. I only try for a few minutes. A second or third séance often brings the hypnosis which is not obtained at first.
Patients in whom hypnotic suggestibility is very well developed, fall asleep, however slight may be the idea of sleep that is given them. They can be hypnotized by correspondence,--for example, by assuring them that as soon as they have read a letter they will fall asleep. They can be hypnotized by means of the telephone, as M. Liegeois has shown. No matter what voice conveys the suggestion it produces its effect.
Some people can be hypnotized with chloroform before they are really under its influence. All surgeons have seen patients go to sleep suddenly without any period of excitement, after a few breaths of the anesthetic and before it certainly has done its work. I have noticed this fact in some of my own patients whom I have chloroformed in the presence of the dentist in order that a tooth might be extracted. Profiting by this observation, each time I use chloroform I take care to suggest to the patient before he has taken the first inspiration that he will fall asleep quietly and quickly. In some cases the hypnotic sleep thus comes before the anesthesia. If it is deep enough to cause complete anaesthesia, as I have seen it, the operation can be performed without delay; if not, I keep on giving chloroform until the anaesthesia is complete, which takes place more rapidly, because aided by suggestion. By acting in this manner, I also prevent the period of excitement in these cases. (p 4)
It is wrong to believe that the subject influenced are all weak-nerved, weak-brained, hysterical, or women. Most of my observations relate to men, whom I have chosen on purpose to controvert this belief. Without doubt, impressionability varies. Common people, those of gentle disposition, old soldiers, artisans, people accustomed to passive obedience, have seemed to me, as well as to M. Liebault, more ready to receive the suggestion than preoccupied people, and those who often unconsciously oppose a certain mental resistance. Cases of insanity, melancholia, and hypochondria are often difficult or impossible to influence. The idea of being hypnotized must be present: the patient must submit entirely to the hypnotizer, using no cerebral resistance; then, I repeat, experience shows that a very large majority of people are easily influenced.
I have hypnotized very intelligent people belonging to the higher grades of society, who were not in the least nervous, at any rate in the sense in which that word is commonly used. Doubtless, it is often impossible to influence people who make it a point of honor to show that they cannot be hypnotized, that they have minds better balanced than others, and that they are not susceptible to suggestion, because such persons do not know how to put themselves into the psychical state necessary to realize the suggestion. They refuse to accept it, consciously or unconsciously; in fact they oppose a kind of counter-suggestion.
The degree of influence produced varies according to the subject. The following is the classification of the various degrees proposed by M. Liebault.
Some subjects experience only a more or dullness, a heaviness in the lids, and sleepiness the smallest number of cases; it is the first degree of M. Liebault. This sleepiness may vanish as soon as the operator's influence is withdrawn. In some cases it lasts for several minutes, in others longer, an hour, for instance. Some subjects remain motionless. Others move a little, and change their position, but still remain sleepy. At the following séances, this condition may pass to a more advanced degree, though often one cannot go beyond that first attained. For example, in the case of a woman, I induced more than a hundred times a sleepiness lasting from half an hour to a" hour, but only this somnolence of the first degree. (p 5)
In some cases, somnolence, properly so-called, cannot be induced, but the eyelids remain closed and the patients cannot open them. They speak, answer questions, and assert that they are not asleep, but I say, " You cannot open your eyes." They make fruitless efforts to do so. The lids are as if cataleptic. It has seemed to me, though I cannot state it as a fact, that this form of hypnotism is more frequent in women than in men. One woman made strange efforts to open her eyelids. She laughed and spoke fluently. I repeated, " Try to open them." She used all her force of will without succeeding, until I brought the charm to an end by saying, "You may open them." I consider this also a variety of the first degree.
In the second degree, the patients keep their eyes closed. Their limbs are relaxed, they hear everything that is said to them as well as what is said around them, but they remain subject to the inclination to sleep. Their brain is in the condition called by magnetizers, hypotaxic, or charmed. This degree is characterized by suggestive catalepsy.
By this word the following phenomenon is meant. If, as soon as the patient falls asleep, the limbs being relaxed, I lift his arm, it stays up I if I lift his leg, it remains uplifted. The limbs passively retain the positions in which they are placed. We call this suggestive catalepsy, because it is easy to recognize that it is purely psychical, bound up in the passive condition of the patient, who automatically keeps the attitude given just as he keeps the idea received. In fact, in the same or in different patients, one sees the phenomenon more or less marked according to the depth of the hypnotic influence and the psychical receptivity. At first, this cataleptiform condition is hardly apparent. The lifted limb remains up a few seconds, but falls down afterward with a certain hesitancy; or the fore-arm only remains lifted. If one wishes to lift up the whole arm, it falls down again. The individual fingers do not keep positions into which they are put, but the entire hand and the forearm remain fixed.
With some patients, for example, if one arm be quickly raised and let alone, it falls back again, but if it is held up for a few seconds to fix the idea of the attitude in the brain, so to speak, then it remains up.
Finally, with others, catalepsy is only obtained through a formulated verbal suggestion. The person hypnotized has to be told, "Your arms remain up. 'Your legs are up." Then only do they remain so. (p 6) Some keep the new position passively, if nothing is said to them, but if they are dared to change it they regain consciousness, so to speak, call upon their dull will power, and drop the limb. Then they often wake up. These cases constitute the intermediate phases between the first and second degrees. Most cases, on the contrary, in spite of every effort cannot alter the attitude impressed upon them.
The progressive development of suggestibility can thus be traced by the special phase of the cataleptiform condition. In a vast number of cases this condition is very pronounced from the first. After a patient has been hypnotized for the first time, the limbs keep the position imposed without the necessity of formulated suggestion. They remain fixed, sometimes as long as the hypnotic condition lasts, sometimes falling down again slowly, gradually, at the end of a few minutes, a quarter of an hour, half an hour, or a still longer period.
On halting again, some patients who have not gone beyond the second degree, imagine that they have not been asleep because they remember everything they have heard. They believe that they have been influenced from a wish to be obliging, but if the experiment is repeated, suggestive catalepsy again appears. This is not sleep, it is at least a peculiar psychical condition which diminishes the force of cerebral resistance, and which renders the mind receptive to suggestion.
In the third degree the drowsiness is more pronounced. Tactile sensibility is diminished or destroyed. Aside from suggestive catalepsy, the patient is capable of making automatic movements. I move both arms, one about the other. I say, "You cannot stop." The arms keep UP the rotation for a longer or shorter time or indefinitely. The patient hears everything that is said around him.
In some cases this automatic rotation follows the impulse given to the arms. The verbal suggestion is not necessary. In cases of this degree, suggestive contracture can also be brought about.
The fourth degree is characterized, in addition to the preceding phenomena, by the loss of relationship with the outer world. The patient hears what the operator says, but not what the others around him say. His senses are only in communication with the operator. They are, however, susceptible of being put into relationship with any one. (p 7)
The fifth and sixth degrees--characterized according to M. Liebault, by forgetfulness, upon waking, of all that has happened during sleep--constitute somnambulism. The fifth degree is light somnambulism. The patients still remember in a vague sort of way. They have heard some things confusedly; certain memories awake spontaneously. Destruction of sensibility. suggestive catalepsy, automatic movements, hallucinations caused by suggestion,--all these phenomena of which we shall speak later in greater detail, reach their greatest expression.
In deep somnambulism, or the sixth degree, the remembrance of all that has happened during the sleep is absolutely destroyed and cannot revive spontaneously.
We shall see later that these memories can always be revived artificially.
The patient remains asleep according to the operator's will, becoming a perfect automaton, obedient to all his commands.
This division of hypnotic sleep into several degrees, is purely theoretical. It permits us to classify each patient influenced, without making a long description necessary. There are variations and cases intermediary between the several degrees. All possible transitions may be noticed from simple drowsiness and doubtful sleep to the deepest somnambulism.
I add that docility to suggestion and the ease with which diverse phenomena are provoked, al-e not always in proportion to the depth of the hypnotic sleep. Certain patients sleep lightly, answer questions, remember everything upon waking. Nevertheless, contracture, insensibility, automatic movements, ordered or communicated, therapeutically suggestions, succeed well with them. This will be easy to understand when J have spoken of suggestion in the waking condition.
Others, on the contrary, fall into a deep, heavy sleep and remember absolutely nothing upon waking. While they are asleep they can be questioned in vain,--tormented with questions, yet they remain inert. Suggestive catalepsy is very difficult to induce in these cases. The arms are held up only for a short time. Suggestions, actions, illusions, hallucinations, commands to be carried out upon waking, are not realized; we might suppose they are not in relation with the operator; however, it is enough to pronounce the word, "awake," for them to wake spontaneously; an evident proof that this relationship does exist. In several cases where sleep was such as I have just described, I have obtained immediate therapeutic effects through auditory suggestion. (p 8) Return of sensibility, disappearance of melancholy, increase in muscular strength measured by the dynamometer, prove that in spite of their apparent inertia, they have been in relationship with me during the sleep.
Others, finally, answer all questions, speak fluently, and appear wide awake, except that the eyes are closed. They are not cataleptic or only slightly so. Neither hallucinations nor illusions can be provoked in them, but nevertheless on waking, amnesia is complete.
Each sleeper has, so to speak, his own individuality, his own special personality. I only wish to emphasize that the aptitude for realizing suggestive phenomena is not always proportional to the depth of the sleep.
Such is the classification of the various degrees of induced sleep as pointed out to me by Dr. Liebault and published in the first edition of this book. I have, indeed, been able to confirm the truth of the facts so well observed by my colleague.
I believe, however, that it is interesting to consider these facts from a wider point of view, and to give to the word hypnotism a more extended meaning than that of induced sleep.
The observations I am about to make, far from striking a blow at M. Liebault's idea, really go to confirm it, by showing that suggestion is the key-stone of the arch of all hypnotic manifestations.
In the first place, investigation reveals the following:
Some patients influenced by hypnotism, have no recollection of what has passed as soon as they return to their normal condition. Everything is a dead letter. This is the first category.
Others retain a vague or incomplete memory. Certain facts remain, others are obliterated. Some have heard talking, but do not remember what has been said; or, they have heard the remarks of the operator, but not those of others. This is the second category.
Finally, others remember everything that has occurred. Among these, some are conscious of being stupid, drowsy, or sleepy, and yet they may have heard everything, but were not able to make any movements, and could not throw off their drowsiness. (p 9)
I insist upon the fact that all or some of these suggestions may be realized with or without sleep. Other suggestions may succeed where that of sleep itself remains useless, for the sleep is also nothing but a suggestion It is not pbssible in all cases, and it is not necessary in cases of good somnambulism in order to obtain the most diverse phenomena. They can be dissociated, so to speak, from sleep. Catalepsy, paralysis, anesthesia, and the most complex hallucinations may be realized in many cases without the necessity of preceding these phenomena by sleep. Susceptibility to suggestion occurs in the waking state.
To define hypnotism as induced sleep, is to give a too narrow meaning to the word,--to overlook the many phenomena which suggestion can bring about independently of sleep. I define hypnotism as the induction of a peculiar psychical condition which increases the susceptibility to suggestion. Often, it is i true, the sleep that may be induced facilitates suggestion, but it ;, not the necessary preliminary It is suggestion that rules hypnotism. (p 15)
This is not a unique observation; the same thing is manifested by many patients susceptible to hypnosis, who are not in the least hysterical, and even by those who do not pass into a deep sleep but only into that of the second or third degree. Some of them at least, show exactly the same phenomena in the waking condition as in the hypnotic state; some exhibit suggestive catalepsy with muscular contraction, or a varying contracture only; others, catalepsy with automatic movements; others, at the same time, suggestive sensitive-sensorial anesthesia; and others still, all suggestive phenomena up to hallucinations. I do not have to assume a deep authoritative voice nor frighten my patients with a look, in order to obtain the suggestive phenomena. I spoke pleasantly, in the simplest manner possible, and obtain the effect, not only in the docile, obliging patients and in well-balanced, clear-headed patients, possessed of strong will and some of them ever? of a spirit of insubordination. Modifications of sensibility may be obtained, in some cases, by suggestion in the making condition. (p 79)
The following is what we constantly observe at Nancy. When a patient, hysterical or not, is hypnotized by no matter what method, by fixation upon a brilliant object, or upon the operator's fingers or eyes, by passes, vocal suggestion, or closure of the eyelids, there conies .a moment at which the eyes remain shut. Often, but not always. they are rolled up under the upper lid. Sometimes a twitching of the lids occurs, but this is not constant. We neither observe the existence of neuro-muscular hyper-excitability nor exaggeration of the tendon reflexes. Is this state that of lethargy! I insist upon it, that in this condition, as in all hypnotic conditions, the hypnotized patient hears the operator. His attention is fixed upon him and his ears are prepared to catch any sound. He frequently answers questions; indeed, this is almost always the case, if it is insisted upon, and he is told that he can speak. Then although he remains motionless and insensible, with his face as expressionless as a mask, and to all appearance isolated from the outer world, he hears everything. Upon waking, later, he may or may not remember all that has passed. The proof is that without touching him and without blowing on his eyes, he is awakened by simply saying, once or twice, " Wake up.'' In this condition, the subject is capable of manifesting the phenomena of catalepsy or somnambulism without the necessity of subjecting him to any manipulation, provided the degree of hypnosis is deep enough.
In order to cause a limb to assume the cataleptic condition, it is not necessary to open the patient's eyes or to subject him to a brilliant light or to a loud noise, as is done at the Salptriere. It is sufficient to lift the limbs, keeping them up for some time and asserting that the patient is unable to lower them again. They remain in suggestive catalepsy and the subject hypnotized, whose will or power of resistance is enfeebled, passively maintains the position imposed upon him. (p 89)
About 1815 an Indian Portuguese Abbot from Indies, who had become celebrated under the name of Abbot Faria, gave a series of strange mystic lectures, in which he taught that the cause of somnambulism was in the subject and not the magnetizer, and that the sleep cannot be produced against the subjects will. (p 109)
Although the doctrine of suggestion had its precursors, it was not until the year 1841 that it was definitely established and demonstrated by James Braid, of Manchester. To him is due the discovery of hypnotism! and the words "bradism" and "Braidic suggestion" have remained in science to commemorate a new doctrine which arose in the face of Mesmerism.
Braid proved that no magnetic fluid exists and that no mysterious force emanates from the hypnotizer. The hypnotic state and its associated phenomena are purely subjective in their origin, which is in the nervous system of the subject himself. The fixation of a brilliant object so that the muscle which holds up the upper eyelid becomes fatigued, and the concentration of the attention on a single idea bring about the sleep. The subjects can even bring about this condition in themselves, by their own tension of mind, without being submitted to any influence from without. In this state, the imagination becomes so lively that every idea spontaneously developed or suggested by a person to whom the subject gives this peculiar attention and confidence, has the value of an actual representation for him. (p 110) The oftener these phenomena are induced, the more readily and easily can they be induced, for such is the law of association and habit. If the hypnotizer's will is not expressed by his words or his gestures, or if the subject does not understand them, no phenomena appear. The attitude which is given the hypnotized subject, the position into which the muscles of his limbs or face are put, may give rise to sentiments, passions, and acts corresponding to these anatomical attitudes, in the same manner that the suggestion of certain sentiments or passions may give rise to a correlative mimicked attitude or expression.
This part of Braid's work cannot be attacked. Observation confirms it on all points. But is this true of the phreno-hypnotic experiments in which, by manipulation of the neck and face, he pretends to excite certain corporeal and mental manifestations, according to the parts touched, and in this way to stimulate through the medium of the sensory nerves of the head, organs localized in the brain corresponding to the different passions, benevolence, imitation, theft, etc!
I believe with Brown-Sequard "that Braid did not guard sufficiently against the effects arising from suggestion when he believed that he had found proofs of the verity of the phrenological doctrines in his subjects. It is easy for any one to see how Braid committed the faults which I mention, if he realizes that a single word spoken to the hypnotized subject from a distance, is sufficient to suggest a whole series of ideas to him, or to develop the most varied sentiments or acts.""
Moreover it seems to me that at the end of his life Braid felt some doubt about his experiments relative to phreno-hypnotism. In his last memoir, a remarkable resume of his work addressed to the Academy of Sciences in 1860, at the time of the experiments of Azam and Hroca, he passes by his phreno-hypnotic researches in silence. He contents himself with saying that his experiments on the emotional phenomena induced by contact with the scalp, led him to conclude that: the results obtained neither proved nor disproved the phrenological organology. He explains his error relative to the correlation which he supposed to exist between the frontal integument and the memory, by the fact that contact with the forehead of a hypnotized subject gives rise to a more efficacious suggestion by driving. away distraction and reveries, and so enabling the subject to fix his attention better on the question, and answer it correctly. (p 111)
When an assertion is made, our first impression is to believe it. The child believes what it is told. Daily experience, the habit of correcting errors which are imposed upon us, the second nature with which social education furnishes us, gradually weakens this inborn credulity, this naiveté of youth. Like all the innate feelings of the human soul, this credulity always survives to a certain extent. Say to some one, " There is a wasp on your forehead," and mechanically he puts his hand on the spot. Indeed, there are persons who even believe they feel the sting.
An idea may originate in the mind through imitation, and may give rise to a corresponding sensation. For example, we see a person scratching himself, and the idea of itching, the fear of having gotten upon us the insect which we saw upon our neighbor, is often sufficient to produce the sensorial image of itching, and we feel the necessity of scratching some part of the body. The first itching suggests a second somewhere else on the body. The necessity of emptying the bladder is felt at the sight of a person making water; and yawning is contagious. Nervous habits, nervous cough, and sometimes vomiting, chorea, hysterical convulsions, and certain vicious habits of children, are among the pathological states which may be developed by imitation. Not infrequently the pupil unconsciously acquires his master's gestures, intonation, and certain of his peculiarities of expression. (p 132)
Some people are very susceptible to these sensory suggestions; They are endowed with lively imaginations, that is to say, they have a great aptitude for mentally creating an image of the suggestions induced by speech, vision, and touch, and this image projected to the exterior through the peripheral nerves of the corresponding organs, reproduces an actual sensation as vivid as if it had an objective cause in these same organs; for example, the pain of a stump, which is referred to a member which no longer exists. Such may be the effect of imagination. Charpignon says, "When I think of an acid fruit, I represent to myself an apple yielding under a knife, or being crushed by my teeth, my mouth waters, and I experience a sensation almost as distinct as if the object itself had been the cause of it."
Do we not all possess a certain cerebral docility which makes us obey commands? We tell a child to walk, and he lifts his leg mechanically. Say to a person, "Close your eyes," and many persons will close them without reflection. The idea suffices to bring about the corresponding movement automatically, and sometimes even contrary to the will. A well-known experiment shows the influence of an idea upon the act. I. hold the end of my watch chain between two fingers at the height of my forehead; the watch hangs vertically suspended and moves to the right or left, backwards or forwards, or in a circle, according as I conceive the idea of these successive movements. I try in vain not to interfere voluntarily, but am unconscious of the motion which my hand imparts to the chain. Simply the idea of motion is enough to occasion it. Is not this the secret of table turning, which has turned so many heads for more than thirty years! Involuntarily and unconsciously everyone imparts a slight movement to the table, and the sum of all these unconscious movements, results in the tipping of the table. (p 133)
The one thing certain is, that a peculiar aptitude for transforming the idea received into an act exists in hypnotized subjects who are susceptible to suggestion. In the normal condition, every formulated idea is questioned by the mind. After being perceived by the cortical centers, the impression extends to the cells of the adjacent convolutions; their peculiar activity is excited ; the diverse faculties generated by the gray substance of the brain come into play; the impression is elaborated, registered, and analyzed, by means of a complex mental process, which ends in its acceptation or neutralization; if there -is cause, the mind vetoes it. In the hypnotized subject, on the contrary, the transformation of thought into action, sensation, movement, or vision is so quickly and so actively accomplished, that the intellectual inhibition has not time to act. When the mind interposes, it is already an accomplished fact, which is often registered with surprise, and which is confirmed by the fact that it proves to be real, and no intervention can hamper it further. If I say to the hypnotized subject "Your hand remains closed," the brain carries out the idea as soon as it is formulated. A reflex is immediately transmitted from the cortical center, where this idea induced by the auditory nerve is perceived, to the motor center, corresponding to the central origin of the nerves subserving flexion of the hand;--contracture occurs in flexion There is, then, exaltation of the ideo-motor reflex excitability, which effects the unconscious transformation of the thought into movement, unknown to the will.
The same thing occurs when I say to the hypnotized subject, "You have a tickling sensation in your nose." The thought induced through hearing is reflected upon the center of olfactory sensibility, where it awakens the sensitive memory-image of tl\e nasal itching, as former impressions have created it and left it imprinted and latent. This memory sensation thus resuscitated, may be intense enough to cause the reflex act of sneezing. There is also, then, exaltation of the ideo-sensorial reflex excitability which effects the unconscious transformation of the thought into sensation, or into sensory image. In the same way the visual, acoustic and gustatory images succeed the suggested idea. (p 137)
I have endeavored to show that hypnotism does not really create a new condition: there is nothing in induced sleep which may not occur in the waking condition, in a rudimentary degree in many cases, but in some to an equal extent. Some people are naturally susceptible to suggestion. From a psychological point of view, they are normally in the condition called hypotaxic or charmed, which makes them incapable of taking care of themselves, and enfeebles or suppresses all their moral resistance. Men, in many respects distinguished, and endowed with artistic qualities or brilliant intuitions, are often only grown up children, having all their intellectual power concentrated, as it were, in one or two faculties of the imagination. Everyone has heard of infant prodigies; lightning calculators, for example, like Mondeux and Inaudi, who solved the most complex problems mentally, by means of a prodigious natural power of abstraction, but who were incapable of intellectual efforts in other directions. Here, at least, an immense talent, bordering upon genius, compensates for the discord of cerebral functions. Many people have not this compensation. (p 179)
It is singular enough, that after having proved so well that the source of all hypnotic phenomena is in the subject's imagination, that all these phenomena are purely psychical, Braid did not dream of explaining the curative effects obtained by this same psychical influence. The founder of the doctrine of suggestion, Braid, forgetting his directing idea, did as all his predecessors had done, and as many of his successors still do; he made use of suggestion without knowing it. His patients knew that they were hypnotized with the idea of curing them in view; this idea remained with them during their sleep; they knew that the manipulations which were made were designed to free them from their troubles; this was a therapeutic suggestion.
Braid does not seem to have had any successors in his own country. Dr. Charpignon, in France, is one of those who have most deeply studied the influence of faith and of suggestion in the hypnotic condition. Hut side by side with the moral influence, he believes in the influence of a magnetic fluid which tends to restore the destroyed harmony.
In reality we must come down to 1860 to find the doctrine of suggestion entirely freed from all the elements which falsified it even in the hands of Braid himself, and applied in the simplest manner to therapeutics. Durand de Gros, like the Abbot Faria, had already employed simple vocal suggestion, speech, in the production of hypnotic phenomena. M. Liebault conceived the idea of applying the same vocal suggestion to therapeutics.
The patient is put to sleep by means of suggestion, that is by making the idea of sleep penetrate the mind. He is treated by means of suggestion, that is by making the idea of cure penetrate the mind. The subject being hypnotized, M. Liebault's method consists in affirming in a loud voice the disappearance of his symptoms. (p 206) We try to make him believe that these symptoms no longer exist or that they will disappear; that the pain will vanish, that feeling will come back to his limbs, that the muscular strength will increase, and that his appetite will come back. We profit by the special psychical receptivity created by the hypnosis, by the cerebral docility, by the exalted ideo-motor, ideo-sensitive, ideo-sensorial reflex activity, in order to provoke useful reflexes, to persuade the brain to do what it can to transform the accepted idea into reality.
Such is the method of therapeutic suggestion of which M. Liebault is the founder. He was the first to clearly establish that the cures obtained by the old magnetizer, and even by Braid's hypnotic operations, are not the work either of a mysterious fluid or of physiological modifications due to special manipulations, but the work of suggestion alone. The whole system of magnetic medicine is only the medicine of the imagination; the imagination is put into such a condition by the hypnosis that it cannot escape from the suggestion. (p 207)