Outwitting Our Nerves: A Primer of Psychotherapy

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OUTWITTING OUR

NERVES

A PRIMER OF PSYCHOTHERAPY

BY

JOSEPHINE A. JACKSON, M.D.

HELEN M. SALISBURY

 

NEW YORK

THE CENTURY CO.

1922

 

 

1921, by
THE CENTURY CO.
PRINTED IN U.S.A.

 


 

TO

MARY PATTERSON MANLY

A LOVER OF TRUTH

 


 

FOREWORD

“Your trouble is nervous. There is nothing we can cut out and there is nothing we can give medicine for.” With these words a young college student was dismissed from one of our great diagnostic clinics.

The physician was right. In a nervous disorder there is nothing to cut out and there is nothing to give medicine for. Nevertheless there is something to be done,—something which is as definite and scientific as a prescription or a surgical operation.

Psychotherapy, which is treatment by the mental measures of psycho-analysis and re-education, is an established procedure in the scientific world to-day. Nervous disorders are now curable, as has been proved by the clinical results in scores of cases from civil life, under treatment by Freud, Janet, Prince, Sidis, DuBois, and others; and in thousands of cases of war neuroses as reported by Smith and Pear, Eder, MacCurdy, and other military observers. These army experts have shown that shell-shock in war is the same as nervousness in civil life and that both may be cured by psycho-analysis and re-education.

For more than a decade, in handling nervous cases, I have made use of the findings of recognized authorities on psychopathology. Truths have been applied in a special way, with the features of re-education so emphasized that my home has been called a psychological boarding-school. As the alumni have gone back to the game of life with no haunting memories of usual sanatorium methods, but with the equipment of a fuller self-knowledge and sense of power, they have sent back a call for some word that shall extend this helpful message to a larger circle.

There has come, too, a demand for a book which shall give accurate and up-to-date information to those physicians who are eager for light on the subject of nervous disorders, and especially for knowledge of the significant contributions of Sigmund Freud, but who are too busy to devote time to highly technical volumes outside their own specialties.

This need for a simple, comprehensive presentation of the Freudian principles I have attempted to meet in this primer of psychotherapy, providing enough of biological and psychological background to make them intelligible, and enough application and illustration to make them useful to the general practitioner or the average layman.

JOSEPHINE A. JACKSON.

Pasadena, California, 1921.

 


 

CONTENTS

PART I: THE STRANGE WAYS OF NERVES
CHAPTER IPAGE
In which most of us plead guilty to the charge of “nerves.”
Nervous Folk3
 
CHAPTER II
 
In which we learn what “nerves” are not and get a hint of what they are.
The Drama of Nerves10
 
PART II: “HOW THE WHEELS GO ROUND”
CHAPTER III 
In which we find a goodly inheritance.
The Story of the Instincts33
 
CHAPTER IV
 
In which we learn more about ourselves.
The Story of the Instincts (Continued)51
 
CHAPTER V
 
In which we look below the surface and discover a veritable wonderland.
The Subconscious Mind77
 
CHAPTER VI
 
In which we learn why it pays to be cheerful.
Body and Mind118
 
CHAPTER VII
 
In which we go to the root of the matter.
The Real Trouble141
 
PART III: THE MASTERY OF “NERVES”
CHAPTER VIII 
In which we pick up the clue.
The Way Out183
 
CHAPTER IX
 
In which we discover new stores of energy and relearn the truth about fatigue.
That Tired Feeling219
 
CHAPTER X
 
In which the ban is lifted.
Dietary Taboos250
 
CHAPTER XI
 
In which we learn an old trick.
The Bugaboo of Constipation278
 
CHAPTER XII
 
In which handicaps are dropped.
A Woman’s Ills300
 
CHAPTER XIII
 
In which we lose our dread of night.
That Interesting Insomnia322
 
CHAPTER XIV
 
In which we raise our thresholds.
Feeling Our Feelings333
 
CHAPTER XV
 
In which we learn discrimination.
Choosing Our Emotions359
 
CHAPTER XVI
 
In which we find new use for our steam.
Finding Vent in Sublimation379
 
Glossary
386
 
Bibliography
390
 
Index
393


 


 

OUTWITTING OUR NERVES

CHAPTER I

In Which Most of Us Plead Guilty to the Charge of “Nerves.”

NERVOUS FOLK

Who’s Who

Whenever the subject of “nerves” is mentioned most people begin trying to prove an alibi. The man who is nervous and knows that he is nervous, realizes that he needs help, but the man who has as yet felt no lack of stability in himself is quite likely to be impatient with that whole class of people who are liable to nervous breakdown. It is therefore well to remind ourselves at once that the line between the so-called “normal” and the nervous is an exceedingly fine one. “Nervous invalids and well people are indistinguishable both in theory and in practice,” [1] and “after all we are most of us more or less neurasthenic.” [2] The fact is that everybody is a possible neurotic.

[1] Putnam: Human Motives, p. 117.

[2] DuBois: Physic Treatment of Nervous Disorders, p. 172.

So, as we think about nervous folk and begin to recognize our friends and relatives in this class, it may be that some of us will unexpectedly find ourselves looking in the mirror. Some of our lifelong habits may turn out to be nervous tricks. At any rate, it behooves us to be careful about throwing stones, for most of us live in houses that are at least part glass.

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