BERNHEIM, HIPPOLYTE (1840–1919), French neurologist. Born in Alsace, he was appointed professor of internal medicine at Nancy University in 1878. In 1884 he began to devote himself to nervous and mental disease and was one of the first to concentrate systematically on the problems of psychotherapy. His methods included suggestion and hypnosis. He was regarded as head of the Nancy school of psychiatry, as opposed to the Paris school headed by Charcot, which saw hypnosis as an investigative method and not as a method of treatment. Bernheim based treatment on persuasion – the doctor's psychological influence on the course of the neurosis. His methods became outdated but his activities were instrumental in winning acceptance for psychotherapy by the medical profession. Bernheim's most important work was De la suggestion et de ses applications à la thérapeutique (1886). His other works include Hypnotisme, suggestion et psychothérapie (1890). His work laid the foundation for an understanding of the human personality in the light of psychopathology rather than of philosophy. Bernheim recognized "automatisms" which were not under conscious control. He absolved the will as being the origin of mental disease and crime – thus attacking the stigma attaching to insanity and opening the road to the principle of "irresistible impulse" in the penal code. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S.R. Kagan, Jewish Medicine (1952), 375–6; Zilbourg, A History of Medical Psychology (1941), 367–9. (Joshua O. Leibowitz)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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