I've read the book.  Vittoz uses methods based on an assumption of 
dissociation:  he claims there are two brains, and when one wanders it 
must be brought back under the control of the rational brain.  He does this 
by very specific practices and rules.  I don't think it looks like meditation to 
me, though something like that is a part of it--the ways of concentrating.  
But I think you are right that Eliot would have preferred it because it did not 
probe deep feeling so much as force "rational" control, a notion I think Eliot 
both needed and wanted.  Whether it was a very effective method is 
another matter; it depends on the results one wants.  I would think the 
sources of the emotional stress are not so much removed as deeply 

Date sent:      	Tue, 25 Sep 2001 23:27:17 EDT
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Subject:        	Re: psychiatrist or psychoanalyst?

In a message dated 9/25/01 9:39:34 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
[log in to unmask] writes:

> Eliot did, however, have great respect for Vittoz, whom he consulted in
> Geneva and whose methods presumably helped Eliot recover from his
> breakdown.  I have not been able to determine what Vittoz would have
> called himself, but surely not a psychoanalyst.  He had a very rigid
> plan for correcting what was considered neurasthenia.  His book is
> available (in libraries--no doubt not in print) describing it. Nancy

What I'm getting from the letters is that Vittoz appealed to him because
it didn't sound like Freudian psychoanalysis. As private as Eliot seems to
have been, I can see why he might have had an aversion to a form of
therapy that depends on the patient revealing his innermost thoughts and
fantasies. The Vittoz method is still used in France, and what I've been
able to gather from people who call themselves practitioners is that it's
fairly close to what's now called trancendental meditation with (my
opinion) a dose of Norman Vincent Peale thrown in. I've just ordered
Vittoz's book, but haven't yet received it. Took a long time to find an
English translation, and I really didn't want to struggle through the
French. In English, it's called Treatment of Neuraesthenia by means of
Brain Control. And you're right--one might find out from the book what he
called himself.  Do you think Vittoz could have been the model for Sir

According to Valerie Eliot, Scofield Thayer, the editor of the Dial, had
some sort of breakdown, was treated by Freud personally, and after that
had to be confined in a private sanitarium for the rest of his life.
Joyce's daughter was treated by Jung, who couldn't make any headway with
her schizophrenia. She too had to be permanently placed in a sanitarium.
Eliot seems to have been sceptical of Freud long before these unfortunate
events. But I don't think they could have increased his confidence in the
major forms of psychoanalytic therapy at that time.