From the earliest times of human evolution, Man has distinguished himself from all other forms of life by his insistent determination to adapt environmental conditions to his own ends.
From then until now, Man has evolved, and his main concern has always been to accumulate and control material power superior to his own. The importance of the mind and its functioning has seldom been addressed, and only its pathological aspects. Even the mentally and physically healthy individual is much more concerned with his physical state than with his mental state and all his emotions, periodically performs healthy gymnastic exercises, buys vitamins and invigorating foods and is much more concerned with the wrinkles on his face than with his mental state. The capacity of the human body in its muscular forces is well known and has long been applied to efficient and disciplined functions; but not so with the mental capacity. This book describes the general theory and techniques for learning or teaching the art of relaxing, concentrating and disciplining the mental faculties. In its simplicity, this is what self-hypnosis aims to achieve. The method described in the text involves the use of symbols necessary to achieve the hypnotic state, and symbols further used to reinforce suggestions made for therapeutic purposes. The symbols chosen are congenial to the patient so that each time the symbol is perceived, the related suggestion will be reinforced and the effect will be further enhanced until the intended goal is achieved. It is well known that we respond to symbols of all kinds in the course of every daily activity. In the present technique for self-hypnosis the use of symbols is made more effective by the use of the well-known psychological principles of conditioning and reinforcement. However, in the hypnotic state, with complete relaxation and full concentration on the part of the subject, conditioning and reinforcement are so effective that they sometimes seem almost miraculous. This book is therefore a useful and practical guide for anyone who believes in the possibilities of improving many of the functions of the mind with a well-organised use of the technique itself. Often, more sophisticated hypnotic techniques are employed, but the patient who has a good knowledge of self-hypnosis and can use it is happier, calmer and more reassured because he has learned that aberration in emotions and attitudes can aggravate his illness and that anxiety is always harmful; and he has also learned that he can exercise control over these phenomena by using self-hypnotic techniques intelligently and under competent guidance. However, intelligent use of self-hypnosis offers many advantages to the individual for whom an increase in the efficiency of concentration, relaxation, self-control and learning ability is essential.