Lewis R. Wolberg, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry, New York Medical College, recently canvassed 30 experts in the field of hypnosis and found a few who felt symptom removal was "irrational, temporary--or outright dangerous." The large majority, however, "employed symptom removal where indicated, and minimized or ridiculed any possible bad effects."
A further objection to hypnosis is that the results are temporary as well as symptomatic. It is well to remember that most medical therapy is specifically directed to symptom removal. How permanent is most medical treatment? Once you couple hetero-hypnosis with self-hypnosis, you afford the patient the opportunity of utilizing suggestions for his own benefit any time they are needed. This, of course, can make symptom relief permanent. As an example, I would see no harm in teaching a patient self-hypnosis for symptomatic relief from a problem of insomnia.
It would certainly be better than physically depressing the higher brain centers with sleeping pills to produce unconsciousness every night. I needn't tell you that millions of dollars are spent every year onsleeping pills and patients become dependent upon them, needing more and more pills in order to produce sleep. Many accidental suicides stem from an overdose of sleeping pills. Yet, despite the inherent dangers of sleeping pills which are glaringly apparent, they are prescribed by the millions, to say nothing of those that reach the market through illegal channels. Furthermore, how much effort is really made to get the patient off the sleeping pills? There are also more voluntary suicides by sleeping pills than by any other method. Perhaps if these drugs weren't so readily available, many of these unfortunate individuals would be with us today.
What about the often-quoted statement that "you might do some damage"? Let's explore this area. I assume that the reader is somewhat familiar with the work of Emile Coué or at least has heard of his famous autosuggestion formula of "Day by day, in every way, I'm getting better and better." During our time, thousands upon thousands of seemingly helpless and hopeless cases have been cured by repeating this affirmation over and over again, day after day, as the individual falls asleep.