Boris Sidis Archives Menu Table of Contents Chapter I
A Symposium by Frederic H. Gerrish... James J.
Putnam... E.W. Taylor... Boris Sidis... George A. Waterman... John E.
Donley... Ernest Jones... Tom A. Williams...
Boston: Badger, 1908
THE purpose of this volume is to present a brief, intelligible statement of the methods of treatment by psychic means, which are approved by scientific physicians, and, also, a description of the classes of cases, to which such methods are appropriately applicable.
The book owes its composite character to circumstances, a knowledge of which will give added interest to its perusal; and it will be readily perceived that the value of the work is enhanced by the fact that it is prepared by a group of specialists, whose combined product must be of greater worth than that of any one writer, however able.
In 1909, one of the authors, Dr. Gerrish, was president of the American Therapeutic Society, and, as such, had the privilege of arranging the program for its annual meeting. A careful examination of the programs of the previous years disclosed the fact that, although this national association is specifically devoted, as its name implies, to the treatment of disease, no paper on psychic remedies had ever been read before it. This neglect of a whole class of curative measures is explicable only on the ground of the lack of appreciation of their value by the medical profession generally—a lack attributable, in large measure, to the failure of medical schools to attempt to interest their students in these agencies, and, in some degree, to the disrepute into which psychic remedies have been brought by their dishonest and otherwise objectionable exploitation by charlatans. Certain it is that the profession has looked askance at psychotherapy, and has been unwilling to accord it the respectful hearing to which its scientific merits entitle it. Dr. Gerrish considered the annual meeting of the national therapeutic society a peculiarly opportune occasion for the presentation of the whole subject, and conceived the project of a symposium, in which the different aspects of psychotherapy would be treated, each by a physician, whose knowledge and experience qualified him to speak with authority, and whose position in the medical profession was not only above reproach, but was stamped with the hallmark of dignity and respect. To execute this design he invoked the interest and invaluable assistance of Dr. Morton Prince, whose fame is world-wide; and by the personal influence of this master there was gathered a remarkable coterie of experts in psychotherapeutics. Dr. Prince opened the symposium with an essay on “The Psychological Principles and the Need of Psychotherapy”; and was followed by Dr. Taylor on “Simple Explanation and Re-education as a Therapeutic Method,” Dr. Jones on “Psycho-Analysis in Psychotherapy,” Dr. Sidis on “The Psychotherapeutic Value of the Hypnoidal State,” Dr. Waterman on “The Treatment of Fatigue States,” Dr. Donley on “Obsessions and Associated Conditions in so-called Psychasthenia,” Dr. Williams on “Psychoprophylaxis in Childhood,” and Dr. Putnam on “The Relation of Character-Formation to Psychotherapy.” Dr. Gerrish took “The Therapeutic Value of Hypnotic Suggestion” as the subject of his presidential address.These essays were received with marked favor on the occasion of their delivery, were soon published in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and then appeared in book form. The fact that a third edition of the volume has been demanded may well be taken as an evidence that it has won high esteem and wide appreciation. Indeed, it has been pronounced by persons well qualified to form an opinion in the premises to be the most valuable, as well as the most compact, presentation of psychotherapy that has ever been made. The new edition is issued in the hope that the book will continue to enlighten the medical profession and the public on a subject of great interest and practical importance, and aid them in distinguishing between genuine, scientific mind-cure and the many spurious articles that masquerade under various alluring and deluding name.
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