"Towards the end of his life Rabbeinu [Rav Michoel Forshlager] told the following story: When one of his sons was born he entered the room of the Avnei Nezer to ask him to be the sandek at the bris. 'When I entered I saw my holy master sitting very close to his son, the Shem m'Shmuel. The face of the Rebbe was burning like fire. The Shem m'Shmuel's face radiated happiness and tears flowed forth from his eyes like a streaming river. I jumped back in fear...apparently at that moment his father was transmitting to him lofty matters.'" Michoel b'Achat by Benzion Bergman, p.42 [Hebrew]
Chapter Three: The First Dynamic
1.The first dynamic psychiatry
gained official university recognition in 1880. Following that new schools
began to develop and the first dynamic psychiatry declined by 1900. However,
the new schools were very much rooted and indebted to the first dynamic
psychiatry. Although there was much variation in the first dynamic psychiatry,
the following points remained constant:
a.Hypnotism was the royal road to
the unconscious. Other approaches, such as automatic writing, mediums and
crystal gazing, were supplementary. Psychotherapy mostly consisted of hypnosis
and suggestion, with particular attention given to the rapport between patient
b.Attention was devoted to specific
clinical issues (or "magnetic diseases") such as, spontaneous
somnambulism, lethargy, catalepsy, multiple personality, and hysteria.
c.A new model of the human mind was
developed. It viewed the mind as consisting of the duality of conscious and
unconscious psychism. Later the mind was viewed as a cluster of
sub-personalities underlying the conscious personality.
d.New theories of the pathogenesis
of nervous illness were devised. First they were based on the concept of
magnetic fluid, and then on the concept of mental energy.
2.As previously discussed, exorcism
(particularly the approach of Gassner) was a primary source of the first
dynamic psychiatry. However, other sources bear mentioning. The concept of
"imagination" (or Imaginatio) was widely discussed during the
Renaissance. Montaigne devoted a chapter in his Essays to the topic,
which discussed the power of the mind to cause physical and emotional
diseases/cures. Muratori wrote a treatise On the Power of Human Imagination
which discuses dreams, visions, delusions, fixed ideas, phobias and
somnambulism. Another source for the first dynamic psychiatry was the history
of hypnotism itself. It was used by the
ancient Egyptians and Renaissance students of natural magic.
3.During this period the following
issues surrounding hypnotism were paramount:
a.The disagreement between the
"fluidist" theory of magnetism and "animist" theory which
contended that the phenomenon was psychological in nature.
b.The relationship between the
magnetizer and the magnetized: Puységur noticed that his patient Victor seemed
to anticipate his orders. The question arose as early as 1785 whether the
subject could oppose the magnetizer's will. This, of course, had legal
implications as well; could a person in hypnotic sleep be held accountable for
c.The influence of hypnotism
extended beyond the experience into normal conscious life. The phenomenon of
post-hypnotic suggestion, where the subject fulfills a command during the
waking state, was already described in 1787. Post-hypnotic amnesia was not
absolute; under certain circumstances the experience could be recalled.
d.Various methods were devised to
induce magnetic sleep/hypnosis. The approach of "fascination" (e.g.
staring at a slightly moving point or into the eyes of the hypnotist) was used
by the Salpêtriére school. Other techniques included verbal orders (Faria) and
speaking in a gentle voice (Nancy school) were also used.
e.It was understood that the subject
could not be hypnotized against his will. He must be made comfortable and
relaxed. It had been noticed early on that witnessing someone else in the
hypnotic state made it easier to be hypnotized as well. The group method had
been used since Mesmer. Early magnetizers, however, did not realize the extent
that hypnosis was molded by the magnetizer/hypnotist. Janet argued that the
state of hypnosis depended upon the subject's previous experiences,
pathologies, and the school and style of the hypnotist.
f.It was noticed that the subjects
often displayed hypersensitivity to physical stimuli, greater physical
strength, physical changes (e.g. turning deaf,
paralyzed, or anesthetic), and an amazing ability to display emotions,
enact roles and change personalities. The first surgical operation under
magnetic anesthesia was performed in 1821 by Récamier.
g.Scant attention was given to the
subjective experience of being hypnotized. Bleuler was one of the first to
describe the experience after being hypnotized by a colleague.
h.One controversial aspect of
hypnotism was the phenomenon of age regression. The question was "is this
true regression or only an excellent imitation of what the subject believes
about the past?" Colonel de Rochas conducted hypnotic age regression
experiments even to the point of the fetal period, past lives and the future.
4.During the first dynamic
psychiatry there were certain clinical cases that were given much attention.
The earliest focus was on somnambulism, then multiple personality, and then
a.Ambulatory Automatism (now known as Fugue
state): Charcot classified these according to three etiologies — traumatic,
epileptic and hysterical. These states were sometimes viewed as a transient
multiple personality. Janet pointed out the sometimes unconscious motivations
that triggered these shifts in personality.
b.Multiple personality: By the later
1800's this was often discussed by psychiatrists and philosophers, but
published cases can be found as early as 1791. After the
"disappearance" of possession these case studies began to emerge. Two
of the most important case studies at the time were Mary Reynolds case
published by Kearsley Mitchell and Plumer, and the case of Estelle published by
Despine Sr. Based on the latter case, Janet pointed out that the second
personality at times could be the healthier personality while the
"normal" personality pathological. The different types of cases can be
classified as such:
multiple personalities: the coexistence of two personalities is a rare case and
is unlikely to last for long periods.
1.Mutually cognizant of each other:
this condition is also relatively rare. The case provided by Charles E. Cory
(1920) is an example.
2.Mutually amnestic: in this type
both personalities know nothing about each other. One such case of Ansel Bourne
was examined by William James.
3.One-way amnestic: in this group
personality A is aware of B but B is not aware of A. Most cases of multiple
personality belongs to this group. Azam provided a case, "Felida X.,"
in the late 19th century and published it with an introduction by Charcot. Also
of note is Morselli's patent Elena.
clusters: The only cases on multiple personality were dual personality cases. However, in time the human mind came
to be later viewed as a matrix from which whole sets of sub-personalities could
emerge. The use of hypnosis could actually bring forth a third, fourth etc.
personality. Morton Prince published the case of Miss Beauchamp in which she
displayed four different states (which she called B I, II, III, IV). Likewise,
Walter Franklin Prince published the enigmatic case of Doris.
were different explanatory theories of multiple personality. The
"associationists" thought that the mental split and loss of
connection between the groups of associations led to multiple personalities.
The "organicists" viewed it in terms of brain modification. Flournoy
emphasized the factors of motivation, role-playing, regression etc. Gardner
Murphey viewed it as "the organisms effort to live, at different times, in
terms of different systems of values." Following 1910 there was a wave of
reaction against the concept of multiple personalities with the claim that
previous researchers were duped. There was only a revival of interest following
the advent of EEG brain scans and other sensational cases.
c.Hysteria (now known as Conversion
Disorder): This condition was considered a mysterious disease that afflicted
women and originated in the uterus. In the 16th century some physicians claimed
that it originated in the brain and could also afflict men. Briquet published
the first systematic exploration of hysteria in 1859. He defined it as "a
neurosis of the brain, the manifestations of it consisting chiefly in a
perturbation of those vital acts which are concerned with the expression of emotions
and passions." He claimed that 1 in 20 patients were men. He denied the
commonly held view that erotic frustration led to this disease. He viewed it
related to negative psychosocial experiences and a hypersensitivity and genetic
predisposition. Charcot conception of hysteria was mostly influenced by
Briquet. Nevertheless, the theory of sexual frustration maintained its power in
the scientific and general perception.
d.By the end of the 19th century
hysteria came to be viewed as the synthesis between somnambulism, multiple
personality, catalepsy, lethargy, hallucinations and ecstasis; the hysteric
could demonstrate all of these symptoms. Moreover, hypnosis could produce all
of these states and, under favorable conditions, cure these symptoms. At times,
Charcot described hysteria as a permanent state of semi-somnambulism, while
Janet viewed it as a permanent state of multiple personality. Thus, the
understanding of hysteria effected a synthesis between the hypnotists and the
5.Models of the Mind
a.Dipsychism suggests that the mind
is fundamentally double. Early magnetizers believed this and it culminated in
Dessoir's famous book "The Double Ego" in 1890. Within this theory
there were two schools. One considered the hidden mind to be closed, that is,
it contained only things that went through the conscious mind. The other school
contended that the unconscious mind was open in that it could communicate with
a mysterious realm. It was hypothesized that this enabled
paranormal/extra-sensory perception and communication with the World Soul. This
appears to be a precursor to Jung's collective unconscious.
b.Polypsychism, the belief that the
mind consists of a complex cluster of sub-personalities, also has its roots in
the early magnetizers. Duran de Gros and Reil were proponents of this approach.
Both Freud and Jung began with dipsychism and ended with polypsychism (e.g. id,
6.Concepts of Psychogenesis of
a.The Fluidic Theory: Mesmer
believed in the existence of a universal physical fluid, and disturbance
thereof caused disease. Although this theory was eventually abandoned other
concepts such as psychological forces or nervous energy replaced this
b.Ideodynamism: The power of
hypnotic suggestion was recognized and it was thought that implanted
"fixed ideas" or a group of associates ideas ("complexes")
were the cause of pathology. This was recognized by Liébeault, Charcot, Janet,
and later, Jung.
a.In 1803 Reil presented a holistic
approach to psychotherapy, including
reform of mental health institutions, bodily and sensory stimulation,
pharmacology and surgical cures, psychodrama, and occupational therapy. He has
been called the founder of rational psychotherapy.
b.The Mesmerists, as mentioned,
provoked crises as the first step towards their resolution. This may be branded
a type of cathartic theory. At times hypnosis was later used in this sense as
well. However, hypnotic sleep in-and-of-itself could be also therapeutic, with
some patients describing it as the "most absolute rest one can
imagine." Hypnotism also acted through suggestion — the direct
implantation of an idea into the passive mind of the patient. Sometimes,
though, there would be a kind of bargaining between the hypnotist and patient
with the patient foretelling the end of the symptoms and prescribing the
8.Rapport: The Therapeutic Channel
notwithstanding, they all utilized rapport. The term rapport has developed
since its use by Mesmer. He borrowed it from contemporary physics experiments
where people formed human chains and transmitted to each other an electrical
current originating in a machine. Thus, magnetizer and patient formed a
connection where the magnetizer can transmit magnetic fluid. The magnetized
became hypersensitive to the magnetizer. The French magnetizes emphasized that
the influence of the magnetizer continued in between sessions. At times the
magnetized patient would become fascinated with the magnetizer to the extent
that they would have visions of him or might adopt their personal behaviors or
b.By 1784 the term "magnetic
reciprocity" was introduced, indicating that the magnetizer also become
extremely sensitive to the magnetized.
c.From the beginning of magnetism
the suspicion of eroticism implicit in rapport was discussed and even
investigated. Other magnetizers compared magnetic rapport to the relationship
between mother and child or brother and sister.
d.Charcot and Bernheim did not pay
much attention to rapport and it was
reintroduced by Janet. At the International Congress of Psychology in 1896
Janet elaborated a theory of rapport. He distinguished between two phases of
rapport: hypnotic influence and passion. In the first phase the patient
generally improved and was freed of most symptoms. In the second phase there is
an increased need to see the hypnotist; this could develop into jealousy, fear,
profound respect, love. It could manifest in dreams and hallucinations. Of
therapeutic interest, he found that posthypnotic suggestions were obeyed in the
first, not the second, phase. In a paper in 1897, Janet suggested that the
second phase was influenced by a certain type of love towards to the hypnotist
(erotic, maternal, filial etc.) and by their need to be directed. He therefore
suggested that the therapist must first gain command of the patients mind and
then, in the second phase of treatment, teach the patient to do without him. He
would accomplish this by lengthening the intervals between sessions and by
exploring the feelings the patient has towards the therapist.
a.The magnetizer and hypnotist
constituted a new type of healer. They quickly developed their own journals,
textbooks, societies and professional ethics. We can gain insight into what
they were like by a number of autobiographies (mosty of stage magnetizers) and
textbooks, especially that of Aubin Gauthier:
magnetizer must be a good health lest he transmit his own diseases to his
patients. If should become ill he needs to purify himself before returning to
work. He must lead a "wise and well regulated life." His personality
should be calm, reserved, kind, and with measured speech.
ii. Gauthier rejected Puységur position that magnetizers should
practice without pay. Other professional ethics include keeping a journal of
sessions, completing the course of treatment, prohibiting a male magnetizing a
woman without her husband or another witness present, and abstaining from
10.The Cultural Impact of the First
a.As early as 1787 a novel was
written on magnetism. Some well-known novelists incorporated magnetism and dual
personality into their works, such as
Balzac, Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and
b.Poets, such as E.T.A. Hoffmann and
Edgar Allan Poe, were influenced by magnetism and dual personality.
c.As will be discussed in next
chapter, magnetism also greatly influenced philosophy, especially the Romantic
philosophers (Schelling, Fichte, Schopenhauer). Bergson himself experimented
d.It also influenced Protestant and
Catholic theologians and Christian medicine. In France was met with fierce
resistance by many religious circles, but in 1846 Father Lacordaire gave a
sermon in Notre Dame Cathedral supporting magnetism as an antidote to
11.The Decline of the First Dynamic
a.It is paradoxical that relatively
soon after the new discoveries of the first dynamic psychiatry became accepted
as official medicine they began to decline and were eventually abandoned. After
1882 the subject of hypnotism flooded publications and interest declined.
However, there were other factors to the decline. Simply put, the reliability
of hypnotism was questioned due to subjects feigning the hypnotic state or
unconsciously simulating the state. Again it was realized that results were
based on the expectations of the hypnotist, and vice versa, the hypnotist was influenced
by the subject.
b.Both Janet and Fredrick Myers were
well aware of the pitfalls of hypnotism. However, they believed that our
knowledge could be expanded. The new dynamic psychiatry, in fact, incorporated
much from the first. To better understand the new dynamic psychiatry a survey
of the sociological and cultural background of the 19th century is necessary.
1.The emergence of dynamic
psychiatry can be traced to the year 1775 when the physician Mesmer clashed
with the exorcist Gassner. Father Johann Joseph Gassner (1727-1779) was a very
famous healer and his exorcisms were carefully recorded. In 1774 he published a
pamphlet explaining his method.
a.There are two kinds of illnesses:
natural ones which require a physician and preternatural ones (e.g. imitation
of illness caused by devil, effect of sorcery, or diabolical possession) which required exorcism.
b.He entreated the demon to manifest
the symptoms of the disease. If the symptoms were produced he concluded that it
was the work of the devil. If they were not produced he sent the patient to a
2.Gassner had many supporters but
many adversaries as well. His opponents included Catholic and Protestant
theologians but mainly representatives of the Enlightenment. There were inquiry
commissions established to investigate his authenticity. One such commission
invited a Dr. Mesmer, who had claimed to discover the new principle of
"animal magnetism" which enabled him to perform cures. He was
reportedly able to elicit in patience the appearance and disappearance of
various symptoms. This was essentially Gassner's approach without the
theological backdrop of exorcism. This demonstration essentially ended
Gassner's career and began a new stage in the development of dynamic
3.Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) was
forty-years old (1774) when he discovered his new treatment approach. He was
working with a twenty-seven year old patient, Fraulein Oesterlin. He studied
the periodicity of her symptoms and became able to predict their reoccurrence.
At the time some English physicians were treating certain diseases with
magnets. He attempted to provoke an artificial crises in his patient by means
attaching magnets to her body. She reported that she felt a mysterious fluid
running through her body and she was cured after several hours. He viewed the
magnets on her body as an auxiliary means of reinforcing and directing his own
innate magnetism. Hence the term "animal magnetism". Eventually he
dispensed with the use of magnets.
4.Using this method he was able to
affect many marvelous cures and gained fame and high acclaim. He was
nevertheless met with resistance from the medical establishment in Vienna. He
moved to Paris where he privately magnetized patients. There, in 1779, he expounded his system of
healing, which can be summarized as follows:
a.A subtle physical fluid fills the
universe and forms a connecting medium between man, earth, the heavenly bodies
and between man and man.
b.Disease originates from the
unequal distribution of this fluid in the human body; recovery is achieved when
the equilibrium is restored
c.With the help of certain
techniques, this fluid can be channeled, stored and conveyed to other persons
d.In this manner, "crises"
can be provoked in patients and diseases cured
5.While Mesmer's private practice
thrived and he established a society and disciples to spread his teachings he was never accepted in the
scientific and medical world. Like Gassner, commissions consisting of
world-class scientists and personalities (one included Benjamin Franklin) were
formed to investigate Mesmer's theory. Possible therapeutic effects were not
denied, but were ascribed to "imagination," not a mysterious physical
fluid. Mesmer was also disturbed by his disciples developing magnetism in ways
that he did not intend. Mesmer was an extremely charismatic and authoritative
personality who was convinced of the epoch importance of his discovery and
sought to control his "intellectual property" [compare to Freud].
6.Although Animal Magnetism seems
world away from dynamic psychiatry, there are many similarities:
a.The therapeutic agent of the cures
is the magnetizer himself
b.To make healing possible the
magnetizer must establish "rapport," a tuning-in with his patient
c.Healing occurs through crises —
manifestation of latent diseases produced artificially by the magnetizer
d.It is better to produce several
weaker ones than one severe crises
7.Mesmer's most important disciple
was Marquis de Puységur (1751-1825). One of his first patients was a 23 year
old peasant by the name of Victor Race. Victor was suffering from a mild respiratory
disease and Puységur magnetized him. Unlike Mesmer's patients he did not have
convulsions or disorderly movements. Rather, he fell into a deep sleep in which
he appeared to be more awake and higher functioning than his normal waking
state. Puységur found that while in this state Victor was able to diagnose his
disease, foresee its course and prescribe treatments. Upon awaking from this
state of "perfect crises" the
patient did not remember it. Demand for Puységur's treatment was so great that
he organized collective treatment around magnetized trees. It was reported that
within one month he cured 62 out of 300 patients using his collective
treatment. Puységur organized a society in Strasbourg to train magnetizers,
which was successful, and they published case histories.
8.Based on his clinical experience
Puységur conceptually diverged from Mesmer:
a.Most important, Puységur rejected
Mesmer's "physical fluid theory" and adopted a psychological theory.
The primary agent of magnetism was the magnetism's commands
b.He also simplified Mesmer's
c.The "perfect crises"
seemed remarkably similar to "somnambulism" and was thus called
"artificial somnambulism". Later this would be renamed
d.Patients, like Victor, would be
more comfortable telling secrets when in magnetic sleep
9.Charles Richet considered Puységur
the true founder of Mesmerism and stated that the "new" discoveries
in hypnosis in the mid-to-late 19th century was already contained in Puységur's
writings. Following Puységur, around 1812, new concepts and methods were
introduced to magnetism.
a.Abbé Faria, a Portuguese priest
who came from India, taught that certain individuals were more susceptible to
magnetization. His technique consisted of seating his patients in a comfortable
chair and fixate on his raised hand after which he commanded "sleep!"
Once the patients were in a magnetic sleep he would produce visions in them as
well as posthypnotic suggestions. Janet viewed Faria as the ancestor of the
Nancy school (see below)
b.Deleuze was successful in
spreading magnetism in France. He published a textbook on the subject and
warned against potential dangers. Alexandre Betrand sought to study magnetism
in a scientific manner and convinced Noizet of the fallacy of the fluidist
theory of magnetism. They both emphasized that the human mind conceives of
thoughts of which we are unaware and which can only be recognized through their
effects. Other French students of magnetism (Charpignon, Teste, Gauthier,
Lafontaine, Despine, Dupotet, Durand) emphasized the role of rapport — the
reciprocal influence between the magnetizer and the patient — as the central
component in magnetism. Despite the clinical experience and scientific approach
used by these magnetizers, the French scientific authorities did not accept
10.The situation in Germany was quite
different. The German mesmerists included men of intellectual distinction. The
German Romanticists were attracted to Mesmer's theory of a universal fluid
since they viewed the world as a living organism. They were also excited about
the "sixth sense" or extra-lucidity of magnetic somnambulism since it
provided a way for the human mind to communicate with the World Soul. Thus,
magnetism, for the Germans, was experimental metaphysics.
a.Kluge, in his textbook on animal
magnetism, proposed a phenomenology of magnetic somnambulism, including six
degrees: 1) The Waking State, with a sensation of warmth, 2) Half-sleep, 3)
Inner Darkness, referring to sleep and insensitivity, 4) Inner Clarity, which
includes lucid perception and consciousness of one's body, 5)
Self-contemplation, where the patient is able to perceive with greater accuracy
the interior of one's own body and that of those with whom he is put into
rapport, and 6) Universal Clarity, where the veils of time and space are
removed. There were many extraordinary subjects in Germany during this time who
displayed paranormal phenomenon. Among the most famous were Katharina Emmerich
and Friedericke Hauffe. The latter was made famous by the poet-physician
Justinius Kerner (incidentally, who also influenced the Rorschach tests) and
aroused enormous interest among the German elite (e.g. Shelling and
Schleiermacher) and masses.
11.Magnetism was met with resistance
in England until 1840-1850. It reached the United States early on through the
French city of New Orleans. One American adherent, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby,
understood that the true agent of healing was suggestion and practiced
"mind cure." One of his patients, Mary Baker Eddy, became the founder
of Christian Science.
12.The history of Magnetism went
through successive stages of positive and negative phases. The first phase took
place during Mesmer's activity in Paris from 1777-1785). The second phase began
in 1815 into the early 1820's. The third phase was from 1840-1850. Braid coined
the term "hypnosis" in 1843. Following 1850 Positivism and scientific
rationalism dominated and Magnetism fell into disrepute. Between 1860-1880 a
physician would end his career by openly practicing magnetism and hypnosis.
13.At the same time, though, there
was a huge interest in Spiritism and parapsychology, beginning in the 1850's
and continuing to the end of the century (the Society for Psychical Research
was founded in 1882 by Fredrick Myers and Edmund Gurney, in England). The study
of mediumship led to new techniques with which to study the unconscious (e.g.
automatic writing, divining rods).
14.Auguste Ambroise Liébeault
(1823-1904) was among the few physicians who openly hypnotized patients during
this time. He lived near the city of Nancy and his school of therapy was known
as the Nancy School. He maintained that hypnotic sleep is no different than
normal sleep except that the former is induced by suggestion of the hypnotizer.
His method of inducing hypnotic sleep was to look into the eyes of the patient
while suggesting that he was getting sleepy. While hypnotized he would suggest
that the patient was cured of his symptoms. Although tales of medical miracles
circulated, Liébeault was considered a quack by the medical establishment. This
changed when Hippolyte Bernheim (1840-1919), a renowned professor who lived in
Nancy, met Liébeault in 1882. He viewed himself as Liébeault's pupil and friend
and introduced his ideas and methods to the medical world. In 1886 he published
a textbook on hypnosis.
a.Bernheim believed that hypnosis
was easier to induce in people who are used to passive obedience. He had poorer
results with people of the upper class.
b.Bernheim maintained that hypnosis
was the product of suggestion. He defined suggestion as "the aptitude to
transform an idea into an act."
c.Unlike Liébeault, Bernheim only
utilized hypnosis when he thought it had a good chance of success. Eventually,
Bernheim limited his use of hypnosis and maintained that the same effects could
generally obtained by suggestion in the waking state. This was called
"psychotherapeutics" by the Nancy School.
15.The Nancy School consisted of a
loose group of psychiatrists and it had a vast international influence (e.g.
Mortin Prince in America). By 1900 Bernheim was considered by many to be
Europe's greatest psychotherapist (but by 1910 he was almost forgotten). Among
those who visited Bernheim and Liébeault were Auguste Forel, who was the
director of the Burghölzli mental hospital (where Jung would work for nine
years) and Freud. Freud was particularly interested in Bernheim's belief that
posthypnotic amnesia was not as complete as assumed and the patient could
remember what occurred during hypnosis.
16.However, Bernheim's assertion that
hypnosis was not a pathological condition unique to hysterics was the cause of
a long struggle between himself and the greatest neurologist of the time,
Jean-Martin Charcot (1835-1893). Bernheim also denied Charcot's theory of
17.Charcot was the chief physician of
the massive Salpêtriére hospital. The hospital houses four to five thousand
women. In the years 1862-1870 he made the discoveries that made him the
foremost neurologist of his time. However, beginning in 1870 Charcot began
investigating hysterical patients who, like epileptic patients, displayed
convulsions. He gave a description of a full-blown hysterical crises (grande
hystérie) which will be described in detail later. In 1878 he began exploring hypnosis and
experimented with hysterical patients. He found that they developed the
hypnotic condition through three stages of "lethargy,"
"catalepsy," and "somnambulism." Charcot read his findings
in 1882 to the Académie des Sciences, giving hypnotism a new prominence in the
established scientific world. However, Bernheim and Janet disputed the three
stages of hypnosis. In 1884-5 Charcot investigated traumatic paralyses, which
he replicated using hypnosis. Thus, Charcot grouped hysterical, post traumatic
and hypnotic paralyses under "dynamic paralyses" as opposed to
"organic paralyses." Likewise, in 1892 he distinguished "dynamic
amnesia" from "organic amnesia." Charcot as nicknamed
"Napoleon of Neuroses" and his public lectures attracted laymen,
physicians and foreign visitors (included Sigmund Frued between 1885-6).
As humans we are constantly creating narratives about ourselves and the world. At times those narratives can be limited or limiting; we only tell half of the story, minimizing or maximizing aspects, and sometimes never aware of significant dimensions of the narrative. Narrative therapists pay special attention to the stories we tell, and invite people “to take a new look at their own lives and to find significance in events often neglected, to find sparkling actions that are often discounted, to find fascination in experiences previously overlooked, and to find solutions to problems and predicaments in landscapes often previously considered bereft.” 1
Thus, the story-telling on Passover night is not merely an act of remembrance; it is a creative redemptive force. It is through telling the story of our exile and redemption - delving into and exploring our history year-in and year-out - that a more full, true, and pristine Vision emerges. The Sefat Emet (Pesach 5635) explains:
"It is stated in the Haggada that 'All those that tell the story at length are praiseworthy,' for story-telling [sippur] leads to knowledge [da'at], as the verse states 'and that you may tell in the ears of your son, and of your grandson... that you may know that I am the Lord.' Since the Exodus from Egypt is written in the Torah and the Torah was given to Israel, it has the potential to awaken the force of redemption, for the redemption moves from potential to actual through story-telling. This is similar to the relationship between the Written Torah and the Oral Torah through which Israel creates new understandings of Torah. This comes through the power of language, which reveals hidden reasons.
“The Tannaim [R. Yosi the Gallilean, R. Eliezer, and R. Akiva] mentioned in the Haggada accomplished this when they expounded that each plague consisted of four or five plagues and at the splitting of the sea two-hundred and fifty plagues. These plagues were hidden in the plagues [explicit in the narrative], and the Tannaim brought them from potential to actual. This is the meaning of 'All those that tell the story at length are praiseworthy,' that they increase and expand the miracles through recounting the Exodus.
“The final redemption will emerge when all of the hidden aspects of the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt will become clarified. The initial redemption included within it the future redemption. This is why the Sages stated that ‘All the days of my life’ comes to include the Messianic era, since through remembering and recounting the Exodus it will bring the Messianic era.”
However, there is an insidious danger in viewing our current narratives as incomplete, contingent, and malleable. It can lead to the destructive view that all narratives are relative, subjective, socially constructed, and ultimately meaningless. This outlook maintains that there is no such thing as Reality, Truth, and Objectivity; all narratives can be deconstructed and subverted. In fact, it was this perspective of Amalek that confronted Israel when they first left Egypt. The Sefat Emet continues:
“When Israel left Egypt it was intended that this would be the final rectification, with the revelation of God is One and His Name is One. However, the wicked Amalek confused Israel, as it states: '[Amalek] cooled you [the Children of Israel] on the way'. Therefore we must remember our hatred of Amalek for all time since they caused all future exile. Only through telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt every year will the ultimate rectification emerge and the name of Amalek erased little by little.”
Amalek, the primal cynics, injected doubt into the minds of Israel. The philosophy of Amalek expounds that all life just “happens” and is lacking any telos and purpose. All that is precious and sacred is targeted by Amalek’s cynicism. In a moment of weakness, Israel’s confrontation with Amalek led them to question the absoluteness of their redemption. It placed a question mark on their narrative and they were thus open to doubt if “God is in our midst or not” (Exodus 17:7).
Since then we have been struggling to piece together the complete story year after year, knowing that we cannot capture the full picture in our current state but that through asking the questions and being open to new answers we can slowly awaken to the full Vision of Redemption.
“Every time we ask a question, we're generating a possible version of a life” 2
“Why is this night different than all other nights?...Next year in Jerusalem!”
1 Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience, by David Denborough, p. x, quoting Michael White
2 David Epston in,Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities, Jill Freedman and Gene Combs, p. 113
Chapter One: The Ancestry of Dynamic
1.Primitive healing theory and
techniques display many similarities to modern psychodynamic theory and
techniques. This has been recognized by Charcot, Levi-Strauss, Aldous Huxley,
and Oskar Pfister, among many others. As will been shown in chapter two there
is also a historical continuity between primitive healing and modern
2.Forest E. Clements distinguished
five main aspects of primitive disease theory and healing:
3.Disease-object intrusion ->
Extraction of disease object
a.Loss of the soul -> To find and
restore lost soul
b.Spirit intrusion -> Exorcism,
mechanical extraction of foreign spirit or transference of foreign spirit into
c.Breach of taboo -> Confession
d.Sorcery -> Counter magic
4.Loss of soul is related to the
dynamic concept of patients being "alienated and estranged" from
self, or an "impoverished ego" which needs to be reconstructed.
5.There are three general types of
possession (see Oesterreich):
where the individual loses consciousness of self and speaks with the
"I" of the supposed intruder vs. "Lucid possession" where
the individual feels a "spirit within his own spirit"
b.Spontaneous vs. artificial
possession. The latter is not a disease but a voluntary mental technique
c.Overt vs. Latent possession. It is
latent when the patient is unaware of the spirit. The exorcist's task is to
make the possession manifest.
6.The modern possession/exorcism
case of Gottliebin Dittus and the Reverend Blumhardt (1842/3) has been the
subject of much discussion from a psychiatric standpoint (e.g. Michaelis,
7.Other primitive healing techniques
a.Healing through (public)
confession: In modern terminology this is known as a pathogenetic secret and it
being made conscious. This played a role in hypnosis and was emphasized by
Moritz Benedikt in 1864. This greatly impacted Breuer/Freud, Pfister, Janet, and Jung.
b.Healing through gratification of
c.Ceremonial healing: There are many
different types but sometimes they take on the character of psychic shock
therapy or psychodrama. They might re-enact a trauma or a myth. They often
included song, art and rituals.
d.Healing through incubation: This
was usually part of a larger ceremony but this segment consisted of spending a
night in a cave or sanctuary. Therapeutic dreams or visions were the healing
e.Healing through hypnosis: It is
not clear if this was a therapeutic agent or a side effect of other procedures.
f.Magical healing: There are many
different practices and types of magic but it is understood that suggestion
plays a large role in its efficacy.
g.Rational therapies: This includes
diet, massage, oils, bathing, light work, sleep schedule, abstinence from
h.Philosophical psychotherapy: The
Greek schools of philosophy were not merely proponents of philosophical systems
but were organized sects. This included mental training, mode of living,
education, discipline, and written and verbal exercises to develop control over
emotions. It has been suggested by R. de Saussure that Stoicism is found in the
Adlerian and existential schools of psychotherapy, Platonism in the Jungian
school and Epicureanism in Freud's school.
i.Religious healing and "Cure
of souls": This consisted of
confession and moral theology taught by priests, and use of the charismatic
personality of a pastor.
8.Modern dynamic psychotherapy
derives from primitive medicine with an uninterrupted continuity. As will be
shown in next chapter, exorcism developed into magnetism, magnetism into
hypnotism, and hypnotism into the modern dynamic schools.
קשה לי מאד לעסק בעניני הלכה לבד, וכן בעניני אגדה לבד, בעניני נגלה לבד, ובעניני נסתר לבד. כמו כן קשה לי לנטות ברעיון בדרך אמונה פשוטה לבד, או בדרך מחקר והגיון לבד. וכן בתכונת ההתבודדות לבד, ובתכונת הרעות והחברותיות לבד. כי כל הזרמים שולטים בי - האמונה והחקירה, הלאמיות והמוסר, ההלכה והאגדה, הנגלה והנסתר, הבקרת והשירה, את הכל אני מכרח לספג.
מרן הרב קוק, חדריו, קכא