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February 23, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(8):700. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520340046008

Some form of psychotherapy has undoubtedly been in use since the beginning of the race. The priest-doctor, when dealing with a mind diseased, would try first exorcism, hoping thus to expel the devil or demon that was possessing the patient. Failing in this he would employ some such pharmacotherapy as the administration of asafetida; and the prognosis was indeed bad when an evil spirit could remain in a body saturated with this substance.

The thoroughly scientific Hippocrates appreciated and no doubt experienced the value of suggestion. In the middle ages Paracelsus, "who was not altogether a quack," employed "magnetic healing." Mesmer, a century ago, was able to convince the most brilliant and intellectual minds in Europe of his powers. Then came animal magnetism, the assumptions made for the theosophy of Madame Blavatsky, spiritualism, Dowieism and Eddyism as curative agencies. So that to-day hundreds of "faith cures," "mind cures," mental healing