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The Practitioner 2011;255(1737): 24

100 years ago: Treatment of neurasthenia by hypnotism and suggestion

21 Feb 2011Registered users

Practitioner 1911:Mrs. H. Aged 35, a lady of good social position, came to me in 1905. She had been ill for five years and had undergone many forms of treatment, including two rest cures, a course of high-frequency electricity, and osteopathy. She was a clever vivacious woman of highly artistic temperament, and felt her disability to take her place in society most acutely. The least exertion, mental or physical, left her exhausted; she had almost constant headache, and her sleep was disturbed by harassing dreams. She proved a most susceptible subject, falling at once into a state of somnambulism with amnesia on waking. She responded at once to suggestions, recovered the habit of dreamless sleep, and in three weeks was able to return home cured. I meet her occasionally, and she continues perfectly well and full of all kinds of activities. In this case the nervous breakdown followed a time of prolonged nursing and great anxiety aggravated by morbid remorse. She reproached herself for the illness of one of her children whom she had sent to a new school against the advice of her friends. This state of things was revealed after a little questioning, and the suggestions aimed at removing the feeling of remorse, which had become almost an obsession, by assuring her that she was not to blame in the matter and that everything would turn out for the best and end happily. Of course she had been told this hundreds of times by all sorts of people in her waking state, but it was only when mental receptivity had been insured by hypnotism that suggestions were accepted as true and acted as curative impulses.

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