Saturday, January 29, 2011

Deal with the cause.

Josef Breuer (1842 –1925) was an Austrian physician whose works laid the foundation of psychoanalysis. Breuer is perhaps best known for his work with Anna O. (the pseudonym of Bertha Pappenheim), a woman suffering from 'paralysis of her limbs, and anaesthesias, as well as disturbances of vision and speech.

Until Breuer's time, hypnosis had primarily been used for the alleviation of pain in surgery, and according to Liebeault's method, the simple suggesting away of symptoms. However, circa 1880, Breuer made an accidental discovery that changed the methods of hypnotherapy. As a matter of fact, it not only changed the methods of hypnotherapy, but actually introduced an entirely new art in itself as it was Breuer's work which attracted Freud and led him into methods of psychoanalysis which are so common to psychiatrists today.

In any case, Breuer had been treating a patient whom he called Anna O. [Anna O. being the pseudonym used for Bertha Pappenheim, an Austrian-Jewish feminist and the founder of the Jüdischer Frauenbund (League of Jewish Women).] The case is a long and involved one, and is well known to all students of psychiatry. During one portion of therapy, they found however, much to her distress, (and Anna O. was a hysterical patient with many, many different problems) that she could drink no water. In fact, no matter how intense her thirst became, she felt it was a physical impossibility for her to swallow water. Thereupon, she subsisted for a number of months on watery fruits and melons until, during a hypnotic session, she revealed in a fit of anger, how to her great disgust, a former governess had permitted a dog to drink water out of a glass in her presence. As soon as she awoke from the trance she immediately asked Breuer for a drink of water, emptying the glass with ease.

This led Breuer to the realization that the simple recalling of the traumatic experiences from the past of the dog drinking the glass of water was responsible for removing the symptoms. After coming to this conclusion, Breuer then attempted to associate all of the patient's symptoms with traumatic experiences in the past. After working with Anna O. for over a year, Breuer was able to remove her symptoms of blindness, paralysis, deafness, the contracture of her right arm, her anesthesia's, cough, trembling, and all of her other symptoms, merely by repeated trances which revealed more and more of her previous experiences, which contained damaging traumatic incidents.

The importance of Breuer's work lies in the change of emphasis in hypnotic therapy, from the direct removal of symptoms to the dealing with the apparent cause of these symptoms.

Breuer described his final methodology as follows: In the morning he asked Pappenheim under light hypnosis about the occasions and circumstances under which a particular symptom occurred. When he saw her in the evening, these episodes—there were sometimes over 100—were systematically "reeled off" by Pappenheim in reverse temporal order. When she got to the first occurrence and thus to the "cause", the symptoms appeared in an intensified form and then disappeared "forever".

Anna's/Bertha's case also shed light for the first time on the phenomenon called transference, where the patient's feelings toward a significant figure in his/her life are redirected onto the therapist. By transference, Anna imagined to be pregnant with the doctor's baby. She experienced nausea and all the pregnancy symptoms. After this incident, Breuer stopped treating her.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Do we see what we believe?

Joseph Jastrow (1863 - 1944 ) is a psychologist American . He studied at the Johns Hopkins University and became the first American to receive a doctorate in psychology in 1886 . After that he went to the University of Wisconsin and it was there that he introduced the use of hypnosis there around 1889.

Joseph Jastrow is best known for his drawings and his ambiguous optical illusions , illustrating the question "what do you think you see, or do we see what we believe?"

The duck-rabbit of Joseph Jastrow, a figure which can be viewed alternatively as a head like a duck or rabbit head.

Saturday, January 22, 2011



Hypnotism Innocuous This fact understood, away goes the . fear of hypnotism and all belief that one person can hypnotize another to commit crime. This is a groundless fear, a fear that arises in ignorance. The editor of the Suggester and Thinker in an editorial in his magazine, says of this belief in the evil of hypnotism: "It originated in fancy alone and belongs to the age of superstition, darkness and witchcraft and cannot exist today upon any legitimate grounds." Every Suggestion that is repugnant to a person is by him rejected.

H. L. Flint, as well known upon the hypnotic stage as any person in the Mississippi Valley, in a late interview reported in the press, said, in reply to the question as to whether or not a man can be hypnotized to commit crime, "I should say unconditionally, 'No! When under hypnotic influence, the subject's moral sensibilities are more acute than in the normal state and often, when in hypnosis, he cannot be made to do those little peccadillos that he will do when normal. It is correct to say that he will never do anything that he will not do at any other time, as far as his moral nature is concerned.' "

The name is a misnomer. It comes from "hypnosis” meaning sleep. Sleep is not necessary to the phenomena nor to receive benefits from the use. In but few experiments is sleep necessary. Besides, the word carries with it the misconceptions of a false theory. There is no such thing as "hypnotic power" or "hypnotic phenomena." The phenomena occur, but they are not hypnotic. They are not the effect of a power that the operator possesses, but are the effect of the subject's own mind. All the phenomena produced by an "hypnotic" subject are as honest as those produced by him in school, home or workshop and are as natural and normal as those are really identical in origin. The phenomena exist as a part of the daily life of all persons. In a subject, they are artificially reproduced and exaggerated.

Never has a criminal been condemned, or a person acquitted, in this country upon the plea of hypnotism. Never has any judge considered such a plea. I will only cite one typical case. It goes its rounds in the press several times a year. Concerning it, I give as high an authority as exists upon the matter. Chief Justice Albert H. Horton, of the Kansas Supreme Court, in an address reported in the State Journal (Topeka) , for April the 6th, 1895, says: "In affirming the conviction of Gray, no new doctrine was announced, no new rule of evidence established. Hypnotism was not considered nor ruled upon in any way. The reports are therefore wholly unfounded." But Judge Horton's statement is ignored, …

"That hypnotism and its chief handmaiden, Suggestion, have been proven to be an unalloyed blessing to millions of the human race, cannot be successfully controverted." ~ T. J. Hudson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

There are fundamental, transcendent laws, and living in harmony with these is the key to mental and spiritual health.

Thomas Cogswell Upham (1799 –1872) was an American philosopher, psychologist, pacifist, poet, author, and educator. He was an important figure in the holiness movement. He served as the Bowdoin College professor of mental and moral philosophy from 1825-1868.

His most popular work, Mental Philosophy received 57 editions over a 73-year period. Additionally, he produced a volume of 16 other books and the first treatise on abnormal psychology, as well as several other works on religious themes and figures. Specific teachings included a conception of mental faculties - one of these restoring the will to psychology be developing a tripartite division of mental phenomena into intellectual, sentient, and voluntary. The intellect subsumed sensation and perception, attention, habit, association, and memory as well as reasoning. Sensibilities included natural emotions and desires, such as appetites, propensities, and affections, and also moral emotions, such as a feeling of obligation. Finally, the last division was the will, which allowed for volition as a basic component of human nature. This positing of a will free to choose between desires and obligations reflected the authors own spiritual journey from a Calvinistic background to the Wesleyan holiness perspective.

However, perhaps the most critical contribution to the field of psychology was Upham's concept of Positive psychology which asserts: There are fundamental, transcendent laws, and living in harmony with these is the key to mental and spiritual health. This concept laid the foundation for a healthy kind of religiosity.

From “Mental Philosophy [1869]
There are a few cases (the recent instance of Jane Rider in this country is one) where persons in the condition of somnambulism have not only possessed slight visual power, but perceptions of sight increased much above the common degree. In the extraordinary narrative of Jane Rider, the author informs us that he took two large wads of cotton and placed them directly on the closed eyelids, and then bound them on with a black silk handkerchief. The cotton filled the cavity under the eyebrows, and reached down to the middle of the cheek, and various experiments were tried to ascertain whether she could see. In one of them a watch enclosed in a case was handed to her, and she was requested to tell what o'clock it was by it; upon which, after examining both sides of the watch, she opened the case, and then answered the question. She also read, without hesitation, the name of a gentleman, written in characters so fine that no one else could distinguish it at the usual distance from the eye. In another paroxysm, the lights were removed from her room, and the windows so secured that no object was discernible, and two books were presented to her, when she immediately told the titles of both, though one of them was a book which she had never before seen. In other experiments, while the room was so darkened that it was impossible, with the ordinary powers of vision, to distinguish the colours of the carpet, and her eyes were also bandaged, she pointed out the different colours in the hearth rug, took up and read several cards lying on the table, threaded a needle, and performed several other things, which could not have been done without the aid of vision.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Social Service and the Art of Healing

Richard Clarke Cabot (1868 - 1939) was a physician, philosopher, educator, and social work pioneer. He was a meticulous scientific observer and record keeper, an innovator in teaching methods, a talented speaker, a prolific writer, and an outspoken commentator on medical, moral, and ethical issues, and was a pioneer in social work. He saw his calling as the integration of empirical knowledge with spiritual belief. A close friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, he served as Emerson's editor, biographer, and literary executor.

While teaching at the Harvard Medical School, 1899-29, Cabot introduced case analysis as a teaching method. It was soon adopted as the standard for medical education. The medical social service program that Cabot introduced at MGH was widely imitated by hospitals across the country.
He changed the way that the outpatient department was run, believing that economic, social, family and psychological conditions underpinned many of the conditions that patients were being presented with.

He envisaged that social workers would work in a complementary relationship with doctors, the former concentrating on physiological health, and the latter on social health. In addition to this, he saw that social work could improve medicine by providing a critical perspective on it while working alongside it in an organizational setting. In 1905 Cabot created the first positions of professional social worker in the world.

In 1909 he published his "Social Service and the Art of Healing" and wrote: "I found myself constantly baffled and discouraged when it came to treatment. Treatment in more than half of the cases...involved an understanding of the patient's economic situation and economic means, but still more of his mentality, his character, his previous mental and industrial history, all that brought him to his present condition in which sickness, fear, worry, and poverty were found inextricably mingled."

He delivered talks on medical social service to hospitals and social service organizations throughout the nation. By 1913 there were 100 hospital social service departments in the United States.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Your mental life can have a profound negative impact upon your physical health.

George Miller Beard (1839 – 1883) was a U.S. neurologist who popularized the term neurasthenia, starting around 1869.

He is remembered best for having defined neurasthenia as a medical condition with symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, headache, impotence, neuralgia and depression, as a result of exhaustion of the central nervous system's energy reserves, which Beard attributed to civilization.

His book, "Practical Treatise on Nervous Exhaustion (Neurasthenia)" [1880], was one of the first books to express the concept that your mental life can have a profound negative impact upon your physical health.

One of the more unusual disorders he studied from 1878 onwards was the exaggerated startle reflex among French-Canadian lumbermen from the Moosehead Lake region of Maine, that came to be known as the 'Jumpers of Maine'. If they were startled by a short verbal command, they would carry out the instruction without hesitation, irrespective of the consequences.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The “Hidden Observer”

Ernest Ropiequet "Jack" Hilgard (1904 - 2001) was an American psychologist, professor at Stanford university, who became famous in the 1950s for his research on hypnosis, especially with regard to pain control. Along with André Muller Weitzenhoffer [1], Hilgard developed the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scales from the 1950s onwards.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Father of Modern Hypnotism.

Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault (1823-1904) is universally acknowledged as the founder of the famous school that became known as the "Nancy School", or the "Suggestion School", (in order to distinguish it from the Charcot and Salpêtrière Hospital-centred "Paris School", or "Hysteria School") and he is considered by many to be the "The Father of Modern Hypnotism." The reason for this is primarily because Liebeault was the man who concluded and published the observation that all the phenomena of hypnotism are subjective in origin.

Liebault describes seven stages of hypnosis which shade one into another and are not capable of accurate division. That is to say, the hypnotist cannot be certain at any one moment that a patient is not passing into a deeper or lighter stage.

Liebault classifies as follows.
First a state in which the eyelids become heavy. There is a sense of drowdness, but there is also complete consciousness, and commonly in this state the patient refuses to believe that he is hypnotised at all. As this stage passes into the next, voluntary movements, commonly carried out by reflex action, can be inhibited.
2. In the second stage there is a certain degree of catalepsy. The patient is unable to open his eyes when told that he cannot do so, or is unable or able to raise a limb according to the suggestion made. It will be seen how valuable this knowledge is to distinguish between a paralysis psychologically caused and a paralysis caused by a lesion.
3. The third is a very drowsy stage, with a subsequent partial forgetting of what happened during the trance.
4. Fourth, a stage in which the patient ceases to be in relation with the outer world and hears only what is said by the operator. In this stage it is possible to suggest anaesthesia, and in my own experiments, in order to discover which stage the patient has reached, I have found that one may drive a needle into the flesh, even to the point of drawing blood, and no sensation of pain will be felt by the patient. Obviously the possibilities of hypnosis in cases of childbirth suggest a field which one day may be opened up by the obstetrician. Esdaile had immense success in this field in Calcutta. Baudouin recounts a case of childbirth when the whole process not only was timed by hypnotic suggestion, but the mother was not aware of her child being born until all was over. This method may come to be regarded as superior to that which involves the use of drugs and anesthetics which is sometimes followed by unpleasant symptoms.
5. The fifth stage we might call somnambulistic, because during this stage, if the right suggestions are made, the patient will walk about the room. Moreover, in this stage illusions can be suggested. One writer tells of a lady brought into this stage of hypnosis who was told that her favourite cat had had its tail chopped off. Even when she recovered from the trance, she was found fondling the animal, and bemoaning that it had been so cruelly treated, when all the time the tail was there as usual.
6. The sixth stage is one in which suggestions made will readily be carried out after the patient awakens.
7. In the seventh stage the patient may be so deeply asleep that he makes no response.

In fact, the lighter, rather than the deeper stages, are the more valuable from the therapeutic point of view.
Leslie D. Weatherhead, Psychology, Religion and Healing (1952)