Catalog # SKU3589
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 3.00 lbs
Author Name James J. Walsh
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Two Volume Set

Including The History Of
The Use Of Mental Influence,
Directly And Indirectly,
In Healing And The Principles
For The Application Of Energies
Derived From The Mind
To The Treatment Of Disease.

James J. Walsh

This is the first time in the history of medicine that an attempt has been made to write a text-book of the whole subject of psychotherapy. We have had many applications of psychotherapeutics to functional and organic nervous and mental disease and also indirectly to nutritional diseases; but no one apparently has attempted to systematize the application of psychotherapeutic principles, not only to functional diseases, but specifically to all the organic diseases.

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The archives of old-time medicine disprove the notion that clinical learning and teaching-that is, observation and demonstration at the bedside-were not part of medical education until quite modern times. The medical books of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are full of descriptions of actual cases, while, over a millenium before, one of Martial's epigrams tells of a patient who dreaded the coming of his physician because he brought with him so many students, whose cold hands gave chills to the poor victim.

Coincidence and Consequence.-In spite of the opportunities for careful observation thus afforded and the facilities for training clinical observers in medicine, many remedies came into vogue, were enthusiastically applied, and then, after a time, went out of use and were heard of no more. Sometimes they were subsequently revived and had even a greater vogue than when originally brought out. But most of these remedies eventually went forever into the lumber room of disused treatments. Of the many thousands of remedies which had the approval and the praise of past generations, two score at most hold a place in the pharmacopeia of to-day.

There are many reasons for this initial success and eventual failure; but the most important explanation lies not so much in reason as in coincidence. In the majority of human ills there is a definite tendency to get better, and almost anything that is given to the patient will be followed by relief and improvement. The recovery is not, however, on account of the remedy, but occurs only after a definite succession of events that would have taken place either with or without the remedy.

Mental Influence.-What the old physicians did not, as a rule, appreciate, or at least failed to value at its true significance, was the effect upon the patient's mind of the taking of a remedy. Because of the confidence with which it was given, the patient, having full faith in the physician who gave it, became impressed with the idea that now he must get well. The very presence of the physician and his assurance that the illness was not serious and that many symptoms that were sources of dread to the patient were only concomitant conditions of the ailment, naturally to be expected under the circumstances, relieved the patient from worry, and so gave his nervous energy a chance to exert itself in bringing about improvement. In other words, the suggestive elements of the presence of the physician and the taking of his remedy were important therapeutic factors which enabled what was an absolutely inefficient remedy, as the event proved when closer observations of it had been made, to relieve even serious symptoms, or helped a weak remedy to accomplish good results by strengthening the patient's resistive vitality.

In recent years we have come to study much more closely this suggestive element and to appreciate better its true value. Suggestion has always been an important factor in therapeutics, but has been used indeliberately and indirectly rather than with careful forethought. Not that the great thinkers in medicine have not known its value and have not used it deliberately on appropriate occasions, but that the profession generally has been so much occupied with the merely material means of curing that practitioners have not realized the influence for good of the psychotherapeutic factors they were unconsciously employing.

The history of the phases of psychotherapy brings out clearly how much it has always meant in the curing of human ills.

Constancy of Psychotherapy in Medicine.-Though we are prone to think of it as coming to attention in our time, psychotherapy has played an important role in every phase of the history of medicine. It has always been at work, though usually under other names, and has been effectively used without conscious direction. Germs and their pernicious activity were not recognized before our time, yet many definite precautions against them, such as cooking of food and the keeping of perishable goods on ice, which now seem to be the direct result of our knowledge of bacteriology, were commonly practiced. The influence of the mind on the body exerted itself quite apart from man's recognition of its place or appreciation of its power. When employed unconsciously it was in many ways even more effective than it will be when a consciousness of the means by which it is applied becomes more general. For most people are unwilling to confess that their minds exercise as much influence as now proves to be the case, and that over-solicitude means so much in inhibiting the curative powers of nature, and that it is this which is favorably affected by psychotherapy.

The great physicians employed psychotherapy very commonly, and on that account many of their disciples were inclined to think that they were neglectful of medication and other remedial measures. At all times physicians have had to be large-minded and have had to recognize the limitations of medicine in their own time, to turn to other agents and to appreciate how much their own influence on the patient and that of the patient on himself meant for the relief of symptoms and the increase of resistive vitality.

Some of the phases of indeliberate psychotherapy, however, are even more interesting than this chapter of the history of genuine and deliberate psycho-therapeutics. Not a few of the remedies recommended, even by distinguished physicians, were utterly inert, yet accomplished good through their effect upon the patient's mind. If we were to omit all reference to certain favorite prescriptions that passed down from generation to generation, sometimes for centuries, yet eventually proved to be quite inefficient for the purpose for which they were employed, what a large lacuna would be left in the history of medical treatment! Galen's theriac is a typical example of this. Still more strikingly the role of psychotherapy is seen in the many remedies that were recommended at various times for such self-limited diseases as erysipelas, ordinary coughs and colds, pneumonia and typhoid fever. Anything that was administered just before the change for the better came in these diseases, or that was persistently taken until that change came, was proclaimed as curative.

An even more interesting chapter in the positive history of psychotherapy is that which shows how the value of genuine remedies was exaggerated by suggestion, and how these remedies became therapeutic fads, and sometimes almost seemed to be cure-alls. What a large place antimony holds in medical history, though it is now entirely discredited! How beneficent has venesection seemed, though it is now frankly confessed that it has but a narrow usefulness for a very circumscribed set of ills! Calomel in large doses has a history very like that of antimony. Alcohol in various forms, now so strikingly losing its hold in therapeutics, must also be placed in this category.

Psychotherapy has perhaps had its most fruitful field of potency in connection with discoveries in the physical sciences. Whenever a discovery has been made in any science, an application of it to medicine has been mooted by some fertile mind, though as a rule it eventually proved to have no place in medicine. One might ordinarily expect that the suggestion would be latent only when the discovery was in one of the sciences allied to medicine, but this relation has not been necessary. Discoveries in astronomy even, in light, in electricity, in every department of physical science, have each been given their opportunity to affect patients' minds favorably, and have succeeded.

820 pages - in two volumes 8½ x 11 softcover

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