W.J. Sidis Archive    Boris Sidis Archive     Jones-Putnam Letters     Sidis re Freud 1     Sidis re Freud 2




 Harold Addington Bruce

American Magazine, 1910, 71, 71-81.


IN a previous article1 in this magazine I gave an account of the wonderful new science of psychopathology, or medical psychology, out of which has been developed within the past few years a scientific system of mental healing which the doctors of our country, as of other lands, are beginning to adopt. Now I want to say something about the men who, by their investigations and marvelous cures, have done most to convince the medical world that the human mind possesses powers which, when scientifically directed, are almost incredibly efficacious in conquering many widespread and hitherto baffling diseases, and conquering them without the use of medicine, surgery, or any external aid whatsoever.

        They are an exceedingly interesting group, these premier psychopathologists. There are four of them, representing by birth as many countries―France, Austria, Russia, and the United States. But the Russian in early manhood made his way to this country, so that, of the four leaders of scientific mental healing, two are Europeans and two Americans. Their names are Pierre Janet of Paris; Sigmund Freud, of Vienna; Morton Prince, of Boston; and Boris Sidis, of Brookline, Mass.


Healing Through Hypnotism

        Of the four, I must speak first of Janet. He it was who, under the inspiring guidance of the famous Dr. Charcot, first called attention to the importance of psychology as an aid in the practice of medicine, and made the marvelous discovery of the role played by mental experiences of an emotional nature in the causation of many diseases. Yet, curiously enough, he began his professional career without any idea of becoming either a psychologist or a physician.

        His great ambition, cherished from early youth, was to win a name as a philosopher. Graduating from a Parisian college with high honors, he was, in 1881, when only twenty-two years old, appointed Professor of Philosophy in the College of Chateauroux, and afterwards received, a similar appointment in the College of Havre. But in the meantime he had become interested in the experimental investigations of hypnotism begun in the town of Nancy by Drs. Liébeault, Bernheim, Beaunis, and Liégeois, and by Dr. Charcot at the great Parisian hospital of the Salpêtrière. In hypnotism Janet thought he saw an unrivalled instrument for studying the nature of men; and, returning to Paris, he entered the Salpêtrière as a pupil of Charcot's―a pupil who was soon to excel his master.

        He found that Charcot had brought together, for clinical study, what a visitor to the Salpêtrière once described as "the greatest collection of hystericals the world has ever seen.” Up to that time it had been generally believed that hysteria was a physical malady associated with, and resulting from, some organic trouble. Charcot's investigations had proved that this was entirely wrong. Still more important, Charcot had vastly broadened the medical conception of hysteria by showing that quite frequently maladies diagnosed as organic and incurable were in reality nothing but hysterical affections.

        Thus, patients were brought to him who had not uttered a word for years, but when hypnotized spoke fluently; while others, supposed to be paralytics, walked with ease during the hypnotic trance, and sometimes during natural sleep. In one very striking case a male patient, who had long been suffering from a paralysis of the legs, got out of bed one night in a somnambulic state, seized his pillow, which he held tightly pressed to his breast as though it were a child, fled into the hospital courtyard, and climbed nimbly up a gutter-pipe and up the sloping roof of one of the buildings. An attendant who ran after him was quite unable to climb the roof, and had much trouble in persuading him to descend; and when, after having come down from his dizzy perch, the attendant awoke him, he instantly became paralyzed as before, and had to be carried back to bed.

        But Charcot did not live to round out his epoch-marking labors by discovering the mechanism of hysterical affections and their proper treatment. This it remained for Janet. What he saw in the Salpêtrière so inspired him with a desire to help the human wrecks that thronged its wards, that he abandoned all thought of metaphysical achievements, and resolved to enlist in the battle against disease. It would be tedious to describe in detail the investigations which ultimately convinced him that hysteria was the product of emotional experiences, and that it could be cured by mental means; but it is at least possible to give a few illustrative cases that will satisfy the reader as to the vital importance of this discovery.


The famous medical psychologist who has discovered that hysteria is the result of emotional experiences and that it can be cured by mental means.


A Few Illustrative Cases

        A girl of eighteen once applied at the Salpêtrière for treatment for convulsive attacks from which she had been suffering for two years. They came on at irregular but increasingly frequent intervals, and invariably began with a fainting-fit. As consciousness gradually returned she would utter piercing shrieks of terror, with cries of "Lucien! Lucien!"―as if appealing to some one to defend her. Then she would rush to the nearest window, throw it open, and lean out, calling "Thieves! Thieves!" After this she would immediately reёnter her normal condition, knowing nothing of what had occurred during the convulsive attack.

        Dr. Janet suspected that the scene which she thus dramatically enacted was reminiscent of some disastrous experience of her earlier life, and was the direct cause of her hysteria; but the girl assured him that she knew nobody named Lucien, and could not recall anything that had ever given her such terror as she displayed.

        Put into the hypnotic trance, however, the patient remembered that some years before she had been offered a grievous insult from which a certain Lucien had defended her; and that, a few days afterwards, thieves had broken into the chateau where she was working. The emotional shocks caused by these experiences were responsible for the convulsive, somnambulic attacks; which, in turn, had obliterated all recollection of the original experiences from the girl's waking memory. Still more remarkable, the convulsive attacks ceased the moment Janet succeeded in making her remember the episodes that had caused them.


Made Her Lover Look Like a Pig

        In another case that gave him far more trouble, the patient suffered from a persistent hallucination of seeing a man in the room with her. Her relatives believed that she was insane, and wished to place her in an asylum, as she occasionally manifested suicidal tendencies. But Dr. Janet diagnosed her case as one of hysteria, and with the aid of hypnotism made the interesting discovery that the hallucinatory image which she thought she saw was the figure of a lover who had deserted her several years before. It appeared that every time she thought of her faithless sweetheart, his image rose before her.

        To Janet it seemed a perfectly simple matter to "suggest" away the hallucination, by impressing upon her, during hypnosis, the idea that when she awoke she would no longer see the imaginary form. But he found that for some reason the suggestion would not "take." Day after day he patiently hypnotized her, always without success. Finally, he began to suspect that at bottom she did not want to be cured, and that the passionate desire to see her lover if only as a phantasm constituted too strong a "self-suggestion" to be overcome by direct attack. Another method would have to be tried.

        "Very well," he one day said to her, while she was hypnotized, "if you want to continue seeing your lover, you shall see him. But, remember, you will always see him with the head and face of a pig."

        He then brought her out of the hypnotic sleep into her natural state. Five minutes later she uttered a cry, and covered her eyes with her hands.

        "What is the matter?" inquired Janet, calmly.

       "It is terrible! Terrible!" she exclaimed. "I see a man standing in the corner of the room, and his face is like a pig's!"

        "How absurd!" said Janet.

        After this, he left her to her own devices, no longer hypnotizing her. For a few days she complained that everywhere she went she saw the man with the face of a pig. Gradually the hallucinatory image faded, and at length entirely disappeared, leaving her restored to perfect health. As Dr. Janet afterwards explained, the grotesque hallucination which he had succeeded in impressing upon her had brought about a profound revulsion of feeling. Manifestly, she could not love a man with a pig's head. She no longer wanted to see her sweetheart, or to think of him, and in proportion as she ceased to think. of him, the hallucination disappeared.


Adjusting the Cure to Fit the Case

        This method Janet calls the method of substitution, but it is only one of several methods used by him. Many patients do not have to be hypnotized in order to respond to his therapeutic suggestions. Like every good physician he varies his methods to suit the requirements of the case.

        The point on which he insists, is that in dealing with hysteria and other maladies curable by mental means the great thing is to recognize that they are invariably conditioned by mental states; and that, in order to be sure of working a cure, it is necessary to get at the underlying subconscious ideas and eradicate them.

        Furthermore, he lays stress on the tremendously important fact that profoundly distressing emotional experiences of the kind just indicated do not always give rise only to mental and nervous symptoms, but frequently cause most appalling physical disorders, curable, however, by the methods of psychopathology.

        In the case of the paralyzed roof-climber, for instance, Janet learned that the paralytic, who was a widower, had bad violent quarrels with his mother-in-law over her treatment of his only child. It was after one of these quarrels that his paralysis had set in, as the result of panicky, irrational, subconscious fear as to what would happen to the child if he should ever be unable to rescue it from the clutches of its wicked grandmother. In this way he had unwittingly suggested to himself the idea of paralysis, and, since he was of an unstable, neurotic temperament, the suggestion had proved so powerful that he had actually become paralyzed. The roof-climbing incident at the Salpêtrière, like the scene enacted by the girl with the convulsive attacks, was reminiscent of the cause of the paralysis, and pointed the way to its successful treatment.

        In appearance Janet is a rotund, robust, merry-faced little Frenchman, with a rich fund of humor, sensible and practical. So, likewise, with our two American psychopathologists, Drs. Prince and Sidis.


A Russian revolutionist who has become a noted American scientist through the invention of the curious method of "hypnoidization" by which many cures have been effected. Dr. Sidis is also the father of the twelve-year-old mathematical prodigy who lectured before the professors of Harvard on the fourth dimension.


Dr. Sidis―a Russian Revolutionist

        Dr. Sidis has a two-fold claim on the interest of the readers of this magazine, as being the father of that wonderful the eleven-year-old Harvard student, William James Sidis―he was twelve in April―whose remarkable achievements I described in an article which appeared recently in this magazine.2 As his name implies, Dr. Sidis is a Russian, but all his scientific work has been done in the United States.

        Born in a city of southern Russia, he became involved, while still a very young man, in the Russian revolutionary movement; was arrested, clapped into a fortress, and narrowly escaped a sentence to Siberia. After his release the police made matters so uncomfortable for him that he fled the country, and, after a brief sojourn in Germany, came to New York, knowing not a word of English, friendless, and almost penniless.

        This was in 1888. Less than a decade later―the young Russian having managed to put himself through Harvard, where he came under the stimulating influence of Professor William James, and was led to specialize in psychology―he astonished the veterans in that science by the publication of a striking book on "The Psychology of Suggestion." In the meantime he had been appointed Associate in Psychopathology in the then recently established Pathological Institute of the New York State Hospitals. Here he remained several years, developing his method of hypnoidization and effecting many impressive cures.

        One of these may well be given to illustrate with increased emphasis the subtle and far­reaching influence of the mind in causing disease, and the diagnostic and therapeutic value of hypnoidization.

        There was brought to Dr. Sidis, as a last resort before committing the sufferer to an asylum, a young man of twenty-five who presented as complex and astonishing a combination of symptoms as is to be found in medical annals.

        He was afflicted, for one thing, with an insistent belief that he was always making mistakes, even with regard to the most trifling matters. If, for instance, he wrote a letter, he was never sure that he had addressed it correctly, and others had to read the address over in order to satisfy him, In locking his bedroom door, he had to try the lock over and over again, to get full assurance that he had really locked it. When retiring he never felt certain that he had turned off the gas-jet, and felt obliged to get up and test it with a lighted match, Besides this perpetual "folie de doute," as it is technically called, he was troubled with an absurd desire to "tear out his eyes, put them under a weight, and have them crushed." He frequently suffered, too, from brief attacks of psychic paralysis, or "aboulia," feeling temporarily deprived of all power of speech and motion.

        Nor does this exhaust the catalogue of his ills. He had an irrational fear of contracting some deadly disease, more particularly consumption, and was forever washing his hands "to rub the germs off." He complained of a palpitation of the heart, and was unquestionably troubled by a chronic irritation of the bladder, which caused him a great deal of inconvenience. and which ordinary medical treatment had utterly failed to relieve. Altogether, his condition seemed to be hopeless, and such as to justify the fear of his family that he was doomed to spend the remainder of his life behind the walls of an institution.

        But Dr. Sidis, by the application of some delicate tests, ascertained that, whatever the nature of his complicated malady, the unfortunate young man was not really insane. The likelihood, therefore, was that his entire complex of symptoms, physical as well as mental, was actually nothing more than the outward manifestation of unpleasant subconscious ideas, associated with forgotten experiences of his earlier life. To get at these subconscious ideas, Dr. Sidis made use of his method of hypnoidization.

How Dr. Sidis Hypnoidizes His Patients―

        Here is his own account of the manner in which he puts his patients into the hypnoidal state:

        "The patient is asked to close his eyes and keep as quiet as possible, without, however, making any special effort to put himself in such a state. He is then asked to attend to some stimulus such as reading or singing (or to the monotonous beats of a metronome). When the reading is over, the patient, with his eyes shut, is asked to repeat it and tell what comes into his mind during the reading, or during the repetition, or immediately after it. Sometimes the patient is simply asked to tell the nature of ideas and images that have entered his mind. This should be carried out in a very quiet place, and the room, if possible, should be darkened so as not to disturb the patient and bring him out of the state in which he has been put.

        "As modifications of the same method, the patient is asked to fix his attention on some object, while at the same time listening to the beats of a metronome; the patient’s eyes are then closed. After some, when his respiration and pulse are found somewhat lowered, and he declares that he thinks of nothing in particular; he is asked to concentrate his attention on a subject closely relating to the symptoms of the malady.

        “The patient, again, is instructed to keep very quiet, and then is asked to look steadily into a glass of water on a white background, with light shining through the contents of the glass; a mechanism producing monotonous sounds is set going, and after a time, when the patient is observed to have become unusually quiet, he is asked to tell what he thinks in regard to a subject relating to his symptoms. In short, the method of hypnoidization is not necessarily a fixed, it admits of many modifications; it is highly pliable and can be adjusted to the type of case as well as adapted to the idiosyncrasies of the patient's individuality."

A Remarkable Cure

        Simple as this process sounds, it has a peculiar effect, sending the patient into a half-waking, half-sleeping state―the hypnoidal state―during which he can recall, sometimes with startling vividness, memories of events and experiences which have long faded from his consciousness. It was thus with the young man whose case has just been outlined.

        Fragmentarily but vividly a host of grim memory pictures floated into his mind, and were described by him as he lay hypnoidized. When he was a very young child, it appeared from the statements he made during hypnoidization, he had lived with an aged grandfather who had been a sufferer from a peculiarly distressing bladder trouble, had been remarkably absent-minded, and had had difficulty and hesitancy in handling anything given to him. All this the child had watched with great sympathy and grief. After his grandfather's death, however, he had gradually forgotten, so far as his conscious memory was concerned, all about the old gentleman and his troubles; but the impression made on his sensitive, imaginative nature had been too profound to allow the sad experiences he had witnessed to fade away completely. In other words, the young man's bladder trouble, his "aboulia," and his "folie de doute," were symptomatic of no organic malady but were purely functional, and were the “working out" of the painful emotional experiences of childhood, which subconsciously he had lever forgotten, and which had been able to spring into baneful activity and develop into disease-symptoms as soon as he had weakened himself by overstudy.

        So with his other symptoms. By means of the method of hypnoidization, his irrational fear of contracting consumption was traced back to his having witnessed, at a tender age, the death agonies of an aunt who had died of tuberculosis. His absurd desire to tear out his eyes and crush them had its origin in another experience of childhood, when he had an inflammation of the eyes and had to undergo the ordeal of having them bathed with various washes. During hypnoidization he also recollected having heard, when a child, horrible stories about people whose eyes "swell and bulge and then crack and break." One can readily imagine, as Dr. Sidis says, "what a deep and lasting though subconscious influence such gruesome tales may exert on the sensitive mind of a highly imaginative child."

        Not all of these forgotten memories were recovered by a single hypnoidization. It required weeks of patient endeavor to bring them fully above the threshold of consciousness. But eventually Dr. Sidis had in his possession, so to speak, a complete map of the starting-points of his patient's symptoms, and was able to work an absolute and permanent cure.

        All that he had to do, having once got at the specific disease-producing memories, was to recall them one by one to the young man's waking consciousness, showing them to him in their true light as mere memory-images of past events, and at the same time impressing upon him, through suggestions given during hypnoidization, the belief that they would henceforth have no ill effect on him.

A Doctrine of Reserve Energy

        Now, while he has been curing his patients, Dr. Sidis has also been studying them, and has reached some novel and startling conclusions. Chief among these is his doctrine of reserve energy.

        According to this doctrine, each of us possesses a stored-up fund of energy, of which we ordinarily do not make any use, but which we could be trained to use habitually to our great advantage. Dr. Sidis contends that it is by arousing this potential energy that the patients whom he treats are cured; and he further insists that, by the remarkable results he has obtained in educating his boy, he has demonstrated the possibility of training people to draw readily and helpfully on their hidden energies.

        If he is right in this contention his psychopathological researches obviously have a vital bearing, not only on the problems of medicine, but on equally important problems in the domain of educational and social reform. In any event, it is conceded that by his masterly analysis of the laws of suggestion, his development of the hypnoidal state, and his classification of the factors governing the production of mentally caused diseases, he has made highly original and valuable contributions to the growth of the new science which seems to promise so much for the future of humanity.

        This being so, it is interesting to know that Dr. Sidis will soon be in a position to carry on his investigations more extensively and systematically than in the past, since, through the generosity of a wealthy New England woman, Mrs. Martha Jones, he has come into possession of a beautiful estate near Portsmouth, N. H., given for the express purpose of establishing a psychopathological institute―the first of its kind in the United States.

        Here he will not only receive patients for treatment, but will install a complete laboratory equipment for careful experimental work; and he also hopes, as soon as he has the institute organized, to found a training-school to which physicians can come for instruction in the principles and methods of psychopathology.


A great American physician who is also a civic reformer and man of affairs. Dr. Prince is the premier advocate of the method of "reëducation" by which nervous patients are argued back to health.


A Man of Affairs and a Reformer

        And now to pass from Dr. Sidis to Dr. Morton Prince, who is Professor of Neurology at Tufts College Medical School, a former president of the American Neurological Association, a member of the Association of American Physicians and of the American Medical Association, and a psychopathologist of unique characteristics and marvelous accomplishment.

        If you were to meet Dr. Prince at one of his numerous clubs, you would see in him a typical, courteous, highly cultured, self-contained Bostonian. You might be inclined to put him down as a man who had found life easy and taken it accordingly. Yet all his life he has been doing interesting things, strenuous things, big things. He is one of the most remarkably versatile men I have ever met. He is known in State Street as a successful manager of trust estates, in the hospitals of Boston as a physician who has labored tirelessly for the relief of suffering, among neurologists and psychologists as ranking in the very forefront of both professions, and by his fellow citizens generally as a resourceful, ardent, uncompromising civic reformer.

        The city of Boston, indeed, owes more to Morton Prince than it can ever repay. He was founder of the Public Franchise League, which of recent years has successfully waged two most important campaigns in behalf of people against the gas and street railway companies. In the struggle last year to secure the adoption of a new city charter, he took a leading part as chairman of the executive committee of the Committee of One Hundred.

        In other respects, Dr. Prince is a conspicuous figure in the life of Boston. Despite all the demands made on his time as man of affairs, physician, experimental scientist, and civic reformer, he has managed to keep up an active interest in athletics, dating from his college days at Harvard. He is an enthusiastic yachtsman, and was one of the founders of the old Myopia Hunt Club. But the sport which most strongly appeals to him―though he can no longer indulge in it―is football. And with right good reason, for it was he who, with H. R, Grant, introduced into Harvard, in 1874, the Rugby game out of which modern American football has since been evolved.

        In his second year at the Harvard Medical School he won a Boylston Prize for an essay on "The Nature of Mind and Human Automatism," a paper of considerable significance as proof of the early age at which Dr. Prince took a serious interest in psychological problems. It is not until some years later, however, that hr began to appreciate the importance and possibilities of medical psychology, and started in to experiment with hypnotism.

        From that day―back in the early eighties―he has been continuing his explorations of the subconscious, with results that have enriched both psychology and medicine. He has been particularly successful in dealing with so-called "total dissociation of personality," a singular malady productive of the most intense mental suffering, hut fortunately of comparatively rare occurrence. Undoubtedly, though, his most helpful contribution to the development of scientific mental healing is found in the emphasis he has laid on the importance of what is known as "psychic reёducation."


Psychic Re­education

        Nowadays, there is evident in psychotherapeutic circles a tendency to credit the origination of this valuable method to Dr. Paul Dubois, a distinguished European neurologist. In reality the palm should he awarded to Dr. Prince, who was making use of psychic reёducation as early as 1890, and as long ago as 1898 published a detailed explanation of its principles and warmly advocated its use in the treatment of neurasthenia and other widely prevalent nervous disorders. Besides which, while Dr. Dubois seems to consider it the only effective method of mental healing, Dr. Prince recognizes that it is merely one of various methods, the choice of which depends on the character of the case in hand.

        It is based on the discovery that nervous derangements can frequently be overcome by analyzing and explaining in the fullest detail to the patient the distinctly mental origin of his different symptoms, the circumstances giving rise to them, and the power which he himself possesses of throwing them off, the whole ha process thus being one of "reëducating" his reason and his will.

        To illustrate, Dr. Prince once had a patient who came to him to be treated for neurasthenia characterized chiefly by extreme fatigue. She could not walk a block without becoming utterly exhausted. Patient inquiry traced the trouble to an unfortunate suggestion implanted in her mind by another physician who, when she first got into a run­down condition, had told her that she was suffering from lead poisoning. She had accepted and exaggerated his wrong diagnosis, and had subconsciously superimposed upon it the notion that she would inevitably be exhausted by the slightest exertion. In two weeks she was walking briskly, after Dr. Prince had made clear to her that the fatigue was a false fatigue, caused by self-suggestion.

        A second patient, a woman thirty-five years old, had a morbid fear of fire. If a match were struck in her presence she would hunt everywhere, even in bureau drawers, for possible sparks that might cause a conflagration. Every night before retiring she spent an hour or more passing from room to room to make sure that there was nothing that could start a blaze. She was so afraid of fire that she could not be induced to go near an open fireplace where coal or wood was burning.

        Inquiry showed that this abnormal dread had originated in a distressing experience she had had with fire many years before, and, having ascertained the origin of her "phobia,” Dr. Prince was able to "educate" her into overcoming it.

      It is, however, by no means always possible thus to argue nervous invalids into health. The method has distinct limitations, and must often be accompanied, or even superseded, by other psychotherapeutic measures. Especially is this necessary when, as so frequently happens, the malady to be treated is rooted in emotional experiences of such, remote occurrence as to be entirely forgotten by the victim. To recall these lost memories, Dr. Prince, unlike Dr. Dubois, freely avails himself of the remarkable power of hypnotism, or of Dr. Sidis' method of hypnoidization.


Whose admirers claim that he has founded not only a new system of mental healing but a new psychology.


Dr. Freud's Method of  Psycho-Analysis

        It remains to speak of the work of Dr. Sigmund Freud, of Vienna, a psychopathologist for whom his admirers advance the claim that he has "evolved not only a system of Psychotherapy but a new Psychology.

        In one of Dr. Janet's cases, it will be remembered, a cure was obtained as soon as the emotional experiences responsible for the hysterical condition were recalled to the subject’s memory. Freud―who like Janet, studied under Charcot at the Salpêtrière―was much impressed by this and other cases similarly cured, and after his return from Paris to Vienna, in the early nineties, he began, in collaboration with another Viennese neurologist, Dr. Joseph Breuer, to treat hysterical patients by the process of recollection.

        His method was to hypnotize them, and then question them about the origin of their symptoms, the effect being in many cases the disappearance of the symptoms as soon as the patient "worked off" the subconscious, forgotten emotion by recalling it and describing it to the psychopathologist.

        But Freud found, as all psychopathologists have found, that it is not possible to hypnotize everybody, and that he would have to devise some other method applicable in the case of non-hypnotizable patients. The plan he ultimately hit upon was to urge and assure his patients that they could remember the facts he needed to get at, if only they would concentrate their attention and frankly tell him the thoughts, no matter how unpleasant, that came to them in connection with their symptoms. To this method he gave the name of "psycho-analysis."


The Case of the English Governess

        I have space for but one case, typical of the many that have been treated successfully by Dr. Freud. It is that of an Englishwoman, employed as governess in the family of an Austrian manufacturer. The symptom of which she principally complained was a persistent hallucinatory odor of burnt pudding, which she seemed to smell everywhere she went. Close questioning by Dr. Freud traced the origin of this hallucination to an episode in a schoolroom when the children in her charge, were affectionately playing with her, had neglected a little pudding they were cooking on the stove, and had allowed it to burn. But why this should cause the development of a hallucination was not at all obvious.

        "You are, perhaps without knowing it, keeping something from me," Freud told her. "That incident distressed you greatly, or was connected with something else that distressed you. What was it?"

        "I don't know," she said,

        "Were you thinking of anything particular at the time?"

        "Well," she replied, after much hesitancy, "I was thinking of giving up my position."


        Gradually the truth came out. The governess had unconsciously fallen in love with her employer, a widower, whose children she had promised their dying mother to care for always. The episode of the burnt pudding represented a moment when some obscure scruple had urged her to leave the children because of something dimly felt to be wrong in her attitude of mind toward their father.

        When this confession was made―a confession new to her as well as to Dr. Freud, for she had studiously concealed from herself her feelings with regard to her employer―the hallucinatory smell of burnt pudding disappeared. She had, by her avowal of the hidden truth, "worked off" the disease-producing emotion.

        But, as the scent of the burnt pudding wore away, it became evident that another hallucinatory scent had underlain it and still persisted―the scent of cigar-smoke. Again Dr. Freud made use of his psycho-analytic method, and at length recalled to his patient's mind a scene which, while apparently trivial, afforded the correct explanation of the second hallucination. This scene she described to him as though it were a picture at which she was actually gazing.

        "We are all sitting down to dinner, the gentlemen, the French governess, the children, and I. A guest is present, an old man, the head cashier. Now we are rising from the table. As the children leave the room the cashier makes as though to kiss them. The father jumps up, and calls out roughly, 'Don't kiss the children!' I feel a kind of stab in my heart. The gentlemen are smoking―they are smoking cigars."

        Again, as Freud pointed out to her, there was an underlying emotional disturbance―the shock of discovering that the man she secretly loved could be so rough and harsh with another who as, like herself, one of his subordinates. She had tried to forget the incident, but it had remained a vivid memory in her subconsciousness, to produce in time the hallucinatory scent of tobacco, symbolical of the submerged memory. Like the smell of the burnt pudding, the tobacco hallucination disappeared with her recital of the circumstances associated with it, and she was enabled to recover her usual health and spirits.


Freud's Audacious Theory

        In every case, Freud asserts, he discovered that, aside from the difficulty one would ordinarily experience in filling up memory-gaps, he had to overcome a considerable resistance on the patient's part, and that the resistance was due to the fact that the ideas to be remembered were all of a painful nature, of a character to give rise to feelings of shame, self­reproach, etc.

        This led him to develop the theory that all hysterical and allied disorders are invariably the result of the repression of unpleasant ideas which one does not wish to remember. Probing still further, Freud found, as he believes, that the repressed ideas which were the immediate cause of the disease-symptoms were in their turn connected with other repressed ideas, often harking back to early childhood, and that these earlier ideas were, without exception, of a sexual character. On this basis he has built up an elaborate system of abnormal psychology, featuring the "instinct for reproduction" as playing the determining role in the development of hysteria, neurasthenia, and other nervous derangements.

        Thus far, it must be said, no other leading psychopathologist has accepted this sweeping, audacious theory. But it is being pressed vigorously by Freud and a rapidly increasing band of disciples, two of whom―Dr. A. A. Brill, of New York, and Ernest Jones, of Toronto, Canada―have been ably presenting it for the consideration of American psychologists and physicians. By some Freud is regarded as having delved deeper than any other man into the mechanism of mentally caused diseases; by others he is condemned as an extremist who is “riding a hobby to death.” Friends and opponents agree, however, that, whatever his views, his psycho-analytic method of "tapping the subconscious" has resulted, like Dr. Sidis' method of hypnoidization, in placing a new and powerful instrument of diagnosis and therapy in the hands of the psychologically trained physician.

        And that the physician of the future will also be a psychologist, there can be no doubt. The widespread interest manifest, in medical circles, in medical institutions and periodicals, testifies abundantly to growing appreciation of the unquestionable truth that the labors of Janet, Freud, Prince, Sidis, and their fellow psychopathologists have opened a new era in the practice of medicine.



1. "The New Mind Cure Based on Science," published in the October, 1910, issue.
2. “Bending the Twig,” in the March, 1910, issue of THE AMERICAN MAGAZINE.


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