The intelligent action of the secondary
self may be illustrated by the
execution of certain post-hypnotic acts.
Thus, one of my patients who,
at a later period, consented to become the subject of experiment,
developed an enormously increased power of time appreciation. If told,
during hypnosis, for example, that she was to perform some specific act
in the waking state at the expiration of a complicated number of
minutes, as, for example, 40,825, she generally carried out the
suggestion with absolute accuracy.
In this and similar experiments,
three points were noted.
(1) The arithmetical problems were far beyond
her normal powers;
(2) she normally possessed no special faculty for
(3) her waking consciousness retained no recollection
of the experimental suggestions or of anything else that had occurred
It is difficult to estimate the exact
value of suggestion in connection
with other forms of treatment. There are one or two broad facts which
ought to be kept in mind.
1. Suggestion is a branch of medicine,
which is sometimes combined by
those who practise it with other forms of treatment. Thus it is often
difficult to say what proportion of the curative results is due to
hypnotism and what to other remedies.
2. On the other hand, many cases of
functional nervous disorder have
recovered under suggestive treatment after the continued failure of
other methods. Further, the diseases which are frequently cured are
often those in which drugs are of little or no avail. For example, what
medicine would one prescribe for a man in good physical health who had
suddenly become the prey of an obsession? Such patients are rarely
insane; they recognise that the idea which torments them is morbid; but
yet they are powerless to get rid of it.
3. In estimating the results of
suggestive treatment, it must not be
forgotten that the majority of cases are extremely unfavourable ones.
the value of suggestion and its freedom from danger become more fully
recognised, it will doubtless be employed in earlier stages of disease.
4. It should be clearly understood that
the object of all suggestive
treatment ought to be the development of the patient's will power and
control of his own organism. Much disease would be prevented if we
develop and control moral states.