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BiOLOBY imm



SUGGESTION AND MENTAL ANALYSIS



SUGGESTION AND
MENTAL ANALYSIS

AN OUTLINE OF THE THEORY
AND PRACTICE OF MIND CURE



WILLIAM BROWN

M.A., M.D. (OxoN.), D.Sc!, M.R.C.P. (Lond.)

WILDE READER IN MENTAL PHILOSOPHY IN THE UNIVERSITY

OF OXFORD

LECTURER ON MEDICAL PSYCHOLOGY, BETHLEM ROYAL HOSPITAL

LONDON

LATE NEUROLOGIST TO THE FOURTH ARMY, E.E.F., FRANCE



SECOND EDITION, REVISED AND ENLARGED




NEW ^%SJr YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

[Printed in Great Britain,]



PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION

The call for a second edition has followed
so quickly upon the publication of the
first that occasion has not arisen for any
great change in the scope or plan of this
book. But I have taken the opportunity
to go carefully through the text, removing
crudities of style in certain places, and
altering and supplementing the wording in
others where perusal of reviews of the book
indicated its necessity, to obviate future
misunderstanding. An additional chapter
(Chapter XIII) has been added in order to
emphasize the fact of the incompleteness
of present theories of suggestion and the
need of further unbiassed investigation, and

5

50.H)i3



6 PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION

also to make clear the need of specialized
training in neurology and psychiatry for
the practice of psycho-therapy.

William Brown.

80 Harley Street, London, W.l,
Sep. i^th, 1922.



PREFACE

In setting out to write this little book, my
central object was to give an elementary and
non-technical account of the relation between
two distinct and, in the main, mutually
exclusive forms of theory and practice in the
field of psycho-therapy, viz. suggestion and
auto-suggestion on the one hand, and mental
analysis (including the special Freudian
system of psycho-analysis) on the other. It
has for some years been my view that these
two modes of thought can be harmonized, in
spite of the vehement disclaimers of extreme
partisans, and that a sound system of psycho-
therapy should satisfy the more moderate
claims of both. In the following pages an
attempt is made to justify this view in an
elementary way. For a more detailed account
of the analytic standpoint, I would refer



PREFACE



readers to my Psychology and Psycho-therapy,''
Indeed, on that side, the present book may
be regarded as an introduction to the larger
work. But I have taken the opportunity to
deal somewhat more fully with the problems
of suggestion and hypnosis than was there
possible, and in particular to examine the
view of which M. Emil Coue is the most
prominent and enthusiastic exponent at the
present day. Those who are acquainted with
the literature of the subject, may not find
much that is new in M. Coue's position. But
although I have had occasion to criticize
the '' psychological background '' of M.
Coue's work, I would like to record my appre-
ciation of his extraordinarily clear and pene-
trating insight into the/^c/j- of suggestion,
his transparent sincerity and his untiring
zeal. He is not a doctor, and can therefore
demonstrate his skill before the general
public as no member of the medical profession

1 Published by Edward Arnold & Co., London. Second
Impression, 1922,



PREFACE



would be permitted to do. Hence it is
only fair to point out that for many years
medical men specializing in neurology
and psycho-therapy have employed similar
methods of treatment on suitable cases with
success in no way inferior to that claimed for
his work. But their more profound know-
ledge of the facts of physical and mental
disease has allowed them to make progress in
psycho-therapy which leaves the amateur
far behind. Psycho-therapy is not so simple
as those untrained in medicine and in medical
psychology sometimes appear to imagine.
Auto-suggestion, or the patient's appeal to
his own subconscious, must be supplemented
— and supplemented so extensively as to be
almost replaced — by autognosis,or knowledge
of many of the chief motive-forces actuating
that subconscious. Suggestion appeals to the
subconscious as to some mysterious deus
ex machtna ; analysis proceeds to rend the
veil of the mystery and to show of what men-
tal material that subconscious is made. If



10 PREFACE



this analysis is often over-subtle in the hands
of some of its devotees, that is no refutation
of its claim to be an indispensable factor in
diagnosis and treatment.

Certain chapters of the present book were
delivered as extempore lectures to audiences
in the Universities of Oxford and London,
and this explains, although I fear that it
does not altogether excuse, the personal
element in the style of exposition.

The concluding chapters on philosophy
may be found to be less elementary than
the earlier chapters. This is unavoidable,
since philosophy is always and essentially a
difficult subject.

My thanks are due to the Editors of the
British Medical Journal^ Lancet^ and Church
Quarterly Review for permission to reprint
long extracts from three articles of mine
which originally appeared in their pages.

William Brown.

13 Welbeck Street, London, W.i.
April igth, 1922.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I

Suggestion and the Subconscious
Good and Bad Auto-suggestion
Subconscious Motives .
Mental Dissociation



15

17
18
20



CHAPTER II



Mental Analysts .....
Theory of Abreaction or Psycho-catharsis
Method and Theory of Psycho-analysis
Freud's Sexual Theory
Repression ....

Preconscious and Unconscious
The Censor ....



21

22
24

25
26
28
30



CHAPTER HI



Mental Analysis — continued

Freud's Theory of Dreams .
Alternative Theory of Dreams
Transference

Autognosis ....
II



32
32
35
37
41



12 CONTENTS



CHAPTER IV

Hysteria as a Dissociation

C. G. Jung's Word-Association Test
Mental Conflict, Repression, and Dissociation
Dreams — Somnambulism — A " Fugue " .
Value of Hypnotism as a Therapeutic Agent



PAGE

43
44
49

62



CHAPTER V

Neurasthenia and Compulsion Neurosis .,.(>']
Dejerine's Theory of Neurasthenia . . . 6S

Preoccupation and Anxiety ..... 70
Psychasthenia — Obsessions and Phobias ... 75

CHAPTER VI

A Case of Hysterical Epilepsy and Amnesia — with-

Dreams . . . . . . . .81

CHAPTER VH

Hypnosis and Suggestion ...... 91

Hypnosis ........ 91

Methods of Producing Hypnosis .... 93

Susceptibility to Hypnosis ..... 97

Relation of Hypnosis to Suggestion . . . loi

CHAPTER VHI

Suggestion without Hypnosis ..... 105
Definition of Suggestion . . . . . 106

The Normal State of Increased Suggestibility . . 109

The " Law of Reversed Effort " . . . .111



/



«^



CONTENTS



13



CHAPTER IX

Suggestion, Auto-suggestion, and Mental Analysis
Theory and Practice of M. Coue . . . ,

Another Method of Suggestion Treatment
Relation of Suggestion to Mental Analysis
Psycho- therapy and Religion ....

chapter X

The Philosophical Background — Bergson's MetA'
physical System
Intuition and Intellect
Time and Free Will
Elan Vital .
Creative Evolution



PAGE

116
116

120

123
125



127

129
130
132
137



CHAPTER XI

Bergjon's Theory of the Relation of Mind to Brain 143
Perception ........ 145

Pure Memory and Rote Memory . . . .149

Matter and Mind 154



CHAPTER XII

Criticism of Bergson ....
Perception and Thought ' . . .

The Meaning of " Image "...
Personality .....

^chapter xiii

Conclusion^ — The Practice of Psycho-therapy



. 160

. 163

. i6s



168



SUGGESTION AND MENTAL
ANALYSIS

CHAPTER I
SUGGESTION AND THE SUBCONSCIOUS

One of the most fundamental problems
calling for solution by Psychology at the
present day is the nature of the so-called
subconscious or unconscious mind, and its
exact relationship to consciousness on the
one hand, and to the physiological processes
of the brain and other parts of the body on
the other. To attempt such a solution is
beyond the scope of this small volume. All
that one can do here is to deal with certain
outstanding facts of normal and abnormal
psychology in an elementary way and to
show, by implication, that they indicate the
occurrence of processes going on outside
the main consciousness, but revealing, by the
results they eventually produce in that main



i6 suggi:gtion and mental analysis

personal consciousness, that they are them-
selves mental and not merely physical in
nature.

A simple illustration is the power that
many people possess of waking up at a definite
(early) hour in the morning by the mere
expedient of saying calmly and with con-
viction to themselves over-night that they
will wake up at that hour. Their subcon-
scious or unconscious mind registers this
suggestion, retains it in the absence of the
main consciousness during the night, and
brings it into effect at the right moment in
the morning. If dreaming occurs, the sub-
conscious plays a preponderant part in the
production of the dream, and may combine
the suggestion with the dream in an ingenious
way. Thus, on one occasion it was im-
portant that I should wake up at five o'clock
in the morning. After giving myself the
necessary suggestion over-night I slept
soundly, but towards the morning I found
myself dreaming that I was doing an after-
noon (2-5) examination paper in the Exa-
mination Schools at Oxford and that an
examiner had called out, '' Time, gentlemen,



SUGGESTION AND THE SUBCONSCIOUS 17

please ! " I looked up at the great clock
at the end of the room and observed that
the hands pointed to 4.57. I then awoke,
to find that my watch at the side of my bed
registered the same time.

The above example illustrates also the
nature of auto-suggestion or self-suggestion,
and shows that it is best defined in relation
to the subconscious. The subconscious re-
sponds to suggestion, that is, to affirmations
made with belief or conviction. If emotion
is present, the success of the suggestion is
still more fully ensured — assuming, of course,
that the emotion is of the right kind. In
the case of a good or useful auto-suggestion
the emotion should be that of enthusiasm
and confident expectation (akin to, if not
identical with, faith).

Bad auto-suggestions occur involuntarily
with all of us from time to time, and in many
cases, alas ! are all too frequent. The emo-
tion which has special power in reinforcing
them is the emotion of fear. These auto-
suggestions tend especially to exaggerate
and to prolong ill-health of mind and body.
In a certain proportion of cases they may



1 8 SUGGESTION AND MENTAL ANALYSIS

perhaps be held responsible even for the
initiation or production of such ill-health.
It is therefore clear that in all cases of ill-
health the inculcation of habits of good
auto-suggestion is most desirable, both to
neutralize the previous bad auto-suggestions,
and also to give an additional uplift to the
vital powers of the mind and body.^ -"

During the War, those of us who had the
opportunity of seeing nerve cases near the
firing-line met innumerable examples of
functional nerve illness (i.e. illness involving
no detectable organic or structural change in
the nervous system) initiated by bad auto-
suggestion. One of my soldier-patients was
guarding an ammunition-dump, when the
dump was blown up by bombs from a
German aeroplane. The man, in a state of
intense fear, began to run away. Trembling
at the knees, he fell down, and at this moment
the idea crossed his mind that he was
paralysed. He then found that his legs
actually were paralysed, and as he had been
hit by fragments of earth, he attributed his
condition to this. On examination of him
at the casualty clearing station I found no



SUGGESTION AND THE SUBCONSCIOUS 19

signs of organic injury of his nervous sys-
tem, and therefore dragged him out of bed
and urged him to walk, assuring him with
the utmost confidence that he would certainly
be able to do so. This suggestion neutra-
lized his original bad auto-suggestion, and
within a few minutes he had completely
regained the power over his legs. Even in
such a simple case as this, however, there
was an additional mental factor, viz. the
wish to become a casualty and so get away
from the danger area. In other cases this
wish often played a more prominent part
in the production of symptoms, although in
a subconscious form, i.e. not clearly present
in the patient's main consciousness. It
played a still more prominent part in fixing
the symptoms if the soldier reached the Base
or England untreated.

The various mental factors at work in
producing shell-shock were especially easy
to disentangle in early cases, before the lapse
of time had consolidated the illness and
complicated it with the effects of meditation,
false theorizing, and the subconscious work-
ing of other motives and desires in the



20 SUGGESTION AND MENTAL ANALYSIS

patient's mind. In addition to the two
above mentioned, there were two other
factors that stood out with special clearness
in shell-shock of hysterical type. These
were: (i) mental dissociation of a crude
type, shown by a loss of memory (or amnesia,
as it is technically called) for the events of
the frightening experience ; and (2) the
*' bottling-up " of the emotion of fear. The
two factors are essentially related to one
another, and they are overcome by the same
method, viz. by recalling the lost memory,
under light hypnosis, with as great a vivid-
ness as possible, so that the bottled-up fear
is again released.^ This latter process is
known as " abreaction " or psycho-catharsis,
and has a definitely curative effect.

Thus the simplest cases of functional nerve
illness take us beyond mere suggestion and
auto-suggestion, and lead us inevitably to
an analysis of the subconscious, and a
closer investigation of its constituent ele-
ments.

1 For a full explanation of these factors, in relation to the
best illustration of their working that has come to my notice,
see my Psychology and Psycho-thera-py, 2nd impression, Edward
Arnold & Co., 1922, pp. 21-23 ; the case of the Ypres gunner.



CHAPTER II

MENTAL ANALYSIS

I HAVE recently had the scientific good
fortune to meet with a case of hysterical
amnesia with '* bottled-up " emotion and
physical symptoms, closely similar to the
case of the Ypres gunner referred to in the
footnote at the end of the previous chapter
and recorded in detail in my Psychology
and Psycho-therapy,

This second case was a motor driver who
suffered from a tremor of the right hand,
which had set in shortly after a motor
accident. He had just succeeded in avoid-
ing collision with another car, but had run
into a ditch in consequence, and his car had
overturned. He was driving with his right
hand at the time. His memory for the
accident was vague and disjointed. Under
light hypnosis (see Chapters IV and VI)
I made him live through the whole experi-

21



22 SUGGESTION AND MENTAL ANALYSIS

ence again with emotional vividness, so
that all the gaps in his memory were filled in.
As he went through this process of abreac-
tion his hand trembled still more and then
became quite steady. It remained steady
after he had been wakened from the hypnotic
sleep.

This cure may be explained as follows :
A patient with a " lost '' painful memory
is in such a condition that he needs to use
a certain amount of mental energy or nerve
energy in holding back this distressing
experience from the notice of the main
personality. By forcing the memory up
into his main consciousness one breaks
through that cordon of repressing energy, so
that the repressing energy is no longer
needed to hold the memory down, and yet it
is not taken away from the patient and he
can use it for other purposes. He has to
face the unpleasant memory fairly and
squarely, and it thus becomes harmless once
more. The circumstances of his accident
made this impossible for my patient at the
time, hence the memory was able to persist
in a dissociated state in the subconscious, and



MENTAL ANALYSIS 23

reveal itself through the persistent tremor
of the right hand.

The metaphor I like to use Is that of a
business man who is being blackmailed.
He may be frightened at first, and be ready
to pay the blackmailer his fee, perhaps year
after year, to the detriment of his business.
If, however, he meets a sensible friend who
urges him to do the right thing, to face the
blackmailer, in open court if necessary, and
tell him to do his worst, then matters are
eventually readjusted, and he can now spend
this money on his business again.

Crude dissociation such as I have described
occurs as the main or central symptom in
hysteria only. An additional example is
described in full detail in Chapter IV. But,
as we shall see in Chapter V, there are other
forms of functional nerve disease — or psycho-
neuroses, as they are otherwise called — in
which this crude form of dissociation does
not occur, but in which the same general
factors of mental conflict and repression, in
addition to bad auto-suggestion, are recog-
nizable.

It is to Breuer and Freud that the credit is



24 SUGGESTION AND MENTAL ANALYSIS

due of being the first to suggest, not the
above-mentioned view of a repressing energy,
but the view that dissociation is the result of
mental conflict and subsequent repression.
They found that if the lost memories were
induced to come up with emotional vividness
by hypnotism or by long talks, and talked
out (abreaction), the patient felt better.
But the now famous doctrine of psycho-
analysis was a later development, for which
Freud alone is responsible.

Psycho-analysis

The word Psycho-analysis connotes both
a method and a theory. As a method it is
a method of free association, of bringing
back early memories, early phantasies, and
early mental tendencies by getting the patient
to fall into a state of reverie with the critical
sense in abeyance and to allow ideas to come
up from the subconscious. It was found by
Freud that these ideas, when they came up,
were often emotionally tinged. It was found
that memories of early childhood eventually
appeared, and especially that memories in
relation to what Freud calls infantile sexu-



MENTAL ANALYSIS 25

ality appeared to have more and more
prominent value and importance in relation
to the symptoms and in clearing up the
symptoms.

Thus, in addition to the method of psycho-
analysis there has arisen the theory of psycho-
analysis, according to which the psycho-
neuroses are due to disturbance of sex-develop-
ment, the theory that sex life on its psychical,
if not on its physical, side begins early in life,
that it is not single but multiple, that there are
a number of partial processes or tendencies
(sadism, masochism, exhibitionism, sexual
curiosity, etc.), and these tendencies of
early life can undergo normal development,
in which they are partially transformed,
parts being outgrown, parts converging to
form the unitary sexual instinct of adult life,
and the remainder being *' sublimated "
into higher forms of social and intellectual
activity. If any partial process persists
untransformed, it constitutes a perversion.
If it persists but undergoes repression, the
result in consciousness is the symptoms of a
psycho-neurosis.

The modern form of Freud's sexual theory



26 SUGGESTION AND MENTAL ANALYSIS

contains many additions to and complica-
tions of the above bare outline, especially
as regards the phenomena of narcissism, or
self-love, and his formulation of the whole
doctrine in terms of mental energy under the
name '' libido theory " ; but space does not
admit of more detailed explanation here.

Repression

The general conception of repression may
be explained in an elementary way as follows :
If one is faced with a temptation that is out
of harmony with one's main personality,
there are three general ways of dealing with
it. One may give way to it — lower one's
ideals to make way for it and consciously
surrender oneself to it. The result is nothing
harmful from the narrowly medical point of
view, however harmful from the moral point
of view, in regard to the health of the soul.
Another way of dealing with it is to face it,
to consider it carefully in relation to one's
ideals, one's social and domestic duties and
one's general purposes, and then to reject it
by reason. Here, again, the result is a nor-



MENTAL ANALYSIS 27

mal solution of the conflict, free from morbid
symptoms, and the personality emerges from
the conflict with added power of will and
undiminished coherence. But there is a
third way, the way of compromise and
cowardice. One may be astonished to find
that one is capable of such a craving and
turn one's mind away in horror. Like the
ostrich, one buries one's head in the sand and
hopes half-heartedly that the enemy will
pass one by. One distracts one's mind and
looks elsewhere, but not whole-heartedly.
The result is that dissociation occurs. The
experiences tend to fall away from the
general sway of the conscious mind, they
are repressed and pass into the subconscious.
They retain their original energy, and from
their new vantage ground produce stress and
strain in the conscious mind which the latter
does not understand, and ultimately produce
an outbreak of physical symptoms or mental
symptoms, or both. The right way to deal
with a repression of this sort is to recall the
memories to the patient's mind, to call the
craving up again, and let the patient face it
and deal with it as a normal person would do,



28 SUGGESTION AND MENTAL ANALYSIS

intellectualize it and destroy it, or sublimate
it, i.e. direct it in modified form to useful
social activities.

Preconscious and Unconscious

Freud's own doctrine of repression is more
complex and technical than this, and is
closely bound up with his general theory of
the unconscious. Freud avoids the term
subconscious, preferring to call the out-of-
consciousness part of the mind the uncon-
scious. But within this general unconscious
he distinguishes two forms, viz. the pre-
conscious and the unconscious proper. The
distinction is, put briefly and not quite
accurately, one between unrepressed and
repressed memories and mental activities,
and does not exist in the early years of child-
hood, but gradually takes shape as the child
passes through the various stages of conven-
tional, social, and ethical education. This
course of education, together with the natural
development of the mental life, involves
the repeated process of repression. Primi-
tive tendencies are held in check and driven



MENTAL ANALYSIS ±9

out of consciousness by the activity of the
ethical ideas of later development.

The distinction is also one between two
different forms of mental activity, a primary
process and a secondary process, as Freud
calls them. The primary process is charac-
teristic of the mental activity of early child-
hood. The young child turns away from
pain instead of facing it, and tends to cling
to the memories of earlier pleasurable experi-
ences, and to seek the satisfaction of its
clamouring desires or wishes in the form of
intensified memories of previous satisfactions.
This is what Freud means when he says
that the unconscious can do nothing but
wish.

So soon as the power arises of freeing one-
self from the exclusive influence of the
memories of previous satisfactions, and of
turning to seek means of bringing about a
new and objectively-satisfying experience
by changes in the external world, the
secondary process has set in. The secondary
process, which is the characteristic form of
activity of the preconscious, can face pain-
ful experiences and memories, and make use



30 SUGGESTION AND MENTAL ANALYSIS

of them in bringing about desirable changes
in the outer v/orld instead of merely turning
away from them. It is this '' turning
away " in early life which is the beginning
of repression and the pre-condition of all
later repressions. The abandoned memories
and desires in the unconscious persist in all
their pristine vigour, and serve as a nucleus
of attraction for later suppressed ^ tenden-
cies of the preconscious that happen to be at
all analogous to themselves. These are thus
drawn into the unconscious and fall under the
sway of the primary process.

The Censor

The repressing force of the secondary
process is known metaphorically as the
endopsychic censor^ and constitutes a resist-
ance placed " like a screen " between the
unconscious and the preconscious. The re-
pressed tendencies and ideas of the uncon-
scious can only reach consciousness after
first overcoming this resistance, undergoing

^ Note that suppression (U titer driickung) in Freud's theory


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