This section is from the book "Mental Therapeutics Or Just How To Heal Oneself And Others", by Theron Q. Dumont. Also available from Amazon: Mental Therapeutics or Just How to Heal Oneself and Others.
There are certain leading principles connected with the effective use of Mental Suggestion, which should be carefully studied by the practitioner of Mental Healing, or the person who wishes to fit himself for such practice. These principles are not concerned with the nature of Mental Suggestion itself, but rather with the application thereof, particularly in the work of Mental Healing. I shall direct your attention to each of these principles in turn, and I ask that you carefully make note of the spirit underlying each.
Authority. The principle of Authority is an important one in the application of Mental Suggestion. It is based upon the well-established psychological law that the mind of the average person is -strongly impressed by statements, spoken or written, which are expressed with the air of strong authority. It makes little or no difference whether the authority is real, or whether it is assumed, just so long as the air carries with it the assumption and implicit assertion of authority. This fact is well known to many students of human nature, especially to those whose success depends upon the acceptance of their statements or suggestions to the public.
It seems that the tacit assertion of authority on the part of some one posing as a leader of thought, or practitioner of law, medicine, or theology, robs the average listener of his desire to analyze, weigh, consider, and demand proof of the assertions made to him. In the same way, there are found many persons who will question statements made to them in conversation, whereas they accept without question the same kind of statements made from the pulpit, or printed in the pages of a book. There seems to be some power in the printed word, or word spoken from the pulpit or judge's bench, to render unnecessary the production of proof of the truth of the word. The proof is taken for granted in such cases, it seems.
Some psychologists have compared this acceptance of suggestions and statements made with an air of authority to the bolting of food instead of masticating it as usual. Or, again, it has been compared to the taking of medicine in a capsule, the taste being hidden by the covering. No matter how it may be looked at, the fact remains that a suggestion given with the air and in the manner of one having authority has a much greater effect than the same suggestion given with an air of "everydayness," or doubt. The principle of Burr's axiom that "Truth is that which is boldly asserted, etc.," depends upon this strange fact of human psychology. The "Thus saith the Lord" manner, air, and tone of voice, has carried home many a suggestion and statement which has had but little strength in itself. The powerful suggestor is he whose attitude, manner, demeanor, tone of voice, and general expression of countenance strongly proclaims that "There is no doubt here!"
Hollander well*says regarding this principle of suggestion: "Some people will obey any authoritative tone and manner. They are most effective on those who have never used their owTn wits and resources in life, but who have depended upon others for orders and instructions. The degree of suggestibility along these lines decreases as we ascend among people who have had to 'do things' for themselves, and who have not depended upon others so much."
The practitioner of Mental Suggestion will do well to preserve a gravity of demeanor and manner, and to employ positive tones of authority in giving his suggestions. His tones must carry with them the impression that he believes thoroughly in the truth of what he is saying; and that there exists not even a shadow of doubt of the desirable result to arise therefrom. He will do well to carefully study the professional air of a successful physician when diagnosing a case, and prescribing for the patient. There must always be the air of certainty, lack of doubt or indecision, and the tone of conviction. The patient is very receptive to such suggestive influences, and likewise to those of an opposite or negative character.
Association. The principle of Association is also a very important one in Mental Suggestion, as well as in every other form of mental impression or mental process. The Law of Association makes it much easier for persons to think of things in connection with other things, than to think of things by themselves. In fact, a little self-analysis will show one that he is in the habit of judging things largely by reason of their association with certain other things. And, likewise, if these certain other things be present in connection with a third thing, then that third thing is identified with the first thing even though there be but little real sameness between them.
Hollander says of this principle: "A suggestion is more likely to be successful if the idea is - introduced by a person who is trusted, loved, or feared, or under circumstances that inspire these sentiments; or in a tone of voice or with a manner that one has always associated with ideas that are to be acted on or believed. One or the other of these qualities, or more often a combination of them, is an invariable characteristic of the person who is suggestive."
Therefore, the practitioner of Mental Suggestion should take care to assume the general appearance, manner, and surroundings which are associated in the mind of the patient with a successful physician. The patient associates healing of disease with certain mannerisms of the successful physician; and if the practitioner gives him the same impression he will feel more certain of the result, and of the virtue of the methods to be used. To understand this, we have but to contrast the manner of a dancing master with that of a successful surgeon; and then contrast the impression made upon the patient by each one of these two in turn; which one would have the greater associative value to the patient by the laws of suggestion? Which one would the patient have the most confidence in, and therefore gain the best results from? The student and practitioner of Mental Suggestion will do well to carefully note this point, and to employ it to his advantage in his suggestive work.
Earnestness. Earnestness has a great suggestive value. The public speaker, preacher, or lawyer who manifests earnestness and belief in what he is saying, has a decided advantage over those who fail to manifest the same suggestive principle. Earnestness and belief are more or less contagious; we are affected by these notes in the voices of those to whom we listen. The patient coming for suggestive treatment is quite sensitive to these vibrations, and is strongly responsive to the same. A few words uttered in an earnest, confident manner will accomplish far more than a long speech delivered in a manner which does not carry with it earnestness and the tone of confidence and belief.
Hollander says of this: "The quality of voice counts for more than we suspect in the relations of daily life. The speaker's power to move us depends upon his being able to create in us the feeling by which he is or pretends to be moved, and thus cause similar vibrations in our own nervous system. In this respect we are like so many musical glasses. We ring when we are in unison with the exciting object, but not otherwise. Only words that come from the heart can reach the heart. For this reason a speaker who speaks out of the fulness of his heart will be more suggestive, will create more nerve vibrations amongst his hearers than any other man who has the same amount of feeling, but cannot convey what he feels in the same manner. The more one thinks of it, the more plainly it appears that in all regions of thought the pivot on which everything turns is that of personality. What we mean by it, what importance we attach to it, colors our every idea on every subject. The personal is the one thing that interests."
The student or practitioner of Mental Suggestion should never lose sight of the fact that earnestness in giving Suggestion makes up for many deficiencies therein; and when added to other strong qualities it becomes almost irresistible. Cultivate the air, tones, and vibrations of earnestness, and half your battle has been won. The earnest suggestor will "get over" even a poorly worded suggestion, whereas a suggestor lacking earnestness will be unable to impart power and dynamic force to even the most carefully expressed suggestion. Here, as in many other things in life, earnestness will often carry one through when all else fails him. It is the one quality which may be said to be absolutely essential in all Mental Suggestion in the treatment of physical ills. Earnestness covers up and cures a multitude of deficiencies and shortcomings in suggestion as in many other phases of mental activity. Cultivate earnestness I
Repetition. The principle of Repetition is an important one in Mental Suggestion. Indeed, it is an axiom of Mental Suggestion that "Suggestion gains force by repetition." It is a psychological analogy to the well-known physical examples of the repeated taps of the hammer driving the nail into the hardest wood; or of the constant dripping of the water-drops wearing away the hardest stone. Each repetition of a positive suggestion will tend to make a deeper impression upon the subconscious mind. The same suggestion repeated in different words, and with different illustrations, will serve to greatly strengthen the original induced idea.
We have examples and illustrations of this in our everyday lives. We often refuse to accept certain ideas when first presented to us, but after a while the constant repetition of them overcomes our resistance, and we end by accepting the once neglected idea; in fact, after a time we actually come to think that we have always believed it, if indeed we have not originated it ourselves. The constant repetition of "they say" has ruined many a good character; or, on the other hand, has built up many a fictitious reputation. Advertisers thoroughly understand this principle of psychology, and make good use of it. The constantly repeated suggestion of "Use Celluloid Soap-it's 101% Pure!" has brought us around to it eventually. Or the repeated suggestion that "You will eventually use this kind; why not now?" has done the work for many of us.
Hollander well says: "There is weakened resistance through repetition of the attack, the force of habit. We have heard certain things affirmed over and over again, until we have come to accept them as veritable facts, notwithstanding that we possess not the slightest personal knowledge of, or any logical proof regarding them. Thus public opinion is moulded.9 9
A politician of national reputation once said: "Proof! We don't need proof! Tell the public a thing solemnly, and authoritatively, and repeat it sufficiently often, and you will never need to prove anything!""
The practitioner of Mental Suggestion should * realize the value of repetition in administering therapeutio suggestion; and should carefully study out plans of stating the same thing over and over again in many ways, forms, and style of expression. Let him l,earn to drive the suggestive nail home by many taps-to wear away the adverse mental auto-suggestions of beliefs, by the repeated dripping of the drops of positive ideas and suggestions.