He was befuddled. He could not understand how they dismissed him. Recently returning from Paris, the frustrated doctor removed his hat, touching his hair to ensure it remained in place. He sighed as he took off his dramatic cape. He just completed a session with a satisfied patient. Every time success such as this occurred, he returned to the events of the last year. “How could they dismiss my ideas? The evidence is clear. The magnetism works.” The eccentric doctor became indignant. “How dare they say my treatment is magic? What do they know? Do they believe the current practices are most effective?”
The physician pondered all he had learned, recognizing Newton’s theory on the tides. Adamantly, he stood up and started pacing. In his grandiose style, the doctor thought, “What do they know? They are jealous of my wisdom.” He brushed aside that dreaded reminder of borrowing ideas from another. “So what,” he mused. “Don’t we all?” Justified, he thought more about the rejection of his practices, further rationalizing. “They want what I have. That is the real issue at hand.”
As he glanced at the gorgeous desk from France, he could not prevent his smugness. “Just look at this masterpiece.” The physician studied the elaborate curves and scrolls emulated with intricate patterns and details. Then he looked around at the overall room, beautiful furniture complementing his secretaire. His wife informed him that they refer to it as Rococo or Baroque. Next, he looked at the magnificent carpet and window dressings. Finally, adorning the walls were tapestries and paintings by artists, receiving generous patronage from his wife. He thought to himself with puffery, “Well, of course, me too.”
Regarding his support of musicians, he smiled with glee, “I am the one who elevated the genius, Amadeus.” With pomposity, he often gloated about his good fortune and accomplishments with colleagues. When they visited his estate, he could not help but chuckle at the envy visible on their faces. It was worse while he was in Paris. Yes, the Parisians could not disguise their astonishment as they took in his elaborate apartment.
Yes, he thought to himself. That is it. They want what I have. The doctor thought more about the practices based on energy. His ideas about “animal magnetism” would be embraced someday. He firmly believed in these theories. The magnets did not produce positive results. Instead, it was his transference of energy and the clients’ determination and belief that eradicated their symptoms.
The doctor thought back on all of the patients he treated individually and in groups. Frequently, he terminated his procedures with lovely music. How about that English physician who observed his practices, acknowledging that the motions of his hands and eyes impacted the patient? Holding his breath, then exhaling slowly, he became angry again. “Who do they think they are? I was not suggesting another fluid. Except for Monsieur Antoine Laurent de Jussieu, they missed the point!” Raising his arms in protest, “Don’t they realize it is the mind and attention that makes this work? Call it “imagination,” but it works!”
The doctor took a seat on one of the glorious chintz chaises. “Perhaps, my student, the Marquis, will convince these deniers otherwise.” Folding his arms, he thought again about his situation. “ I will continue to treat some people here in Vienna, but for now, perhaps, I could call on Amadeus. Maybe his soothing music can bring tranquility and inspiration to me.”
Author’s Note: May 23rd is Clinical Hypnosis Day. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, of which I am a proud member and Consultant, designated this day to bring awareness of the clinical applications of this remarkable tool through educating professionals and the public at large. Because of stage hypnosis, it remains misconstrued to this day.
May 23rd was Franz Mesmer’s birthday. Temporarily debunked, these treatment techniques retreated while specific practices such as leeching remained popular. Dr. Mesmer’s student, the Marquis, was convinced that these ideas had validity. Unfortunately, Dr. Mesmer became full of himself. As a result, I decided to write a story entwining his narcissism and brilliance.
No matter his boastfulness, those of us in the profession, as well as the many people who have benefited from hypnosis over the years, have much to be thankful to Dr. Mesmer. Until the last decade, I was unaware of his influence on hypnosis. I plan on writing more about this alternate treatment modality that has been around since the beginning of time. The ancient Greek physician Asclepius was thought to have used hypnosis. How do they know? The ancient Greeks left carvings on temple remains about this technique that assisted people in restoring their sleep and mitigating their headaches.
Every time you hear the word “mesmerize,” think of Dr. Mesmer, who brought forth this powerful healing modality. Thank you, Dr. Mesmer, as, hopefully, you smile from afar.