The Miracle Doctor
Albert Willem van Renterghem
Rinus Spruit (ed.)
In The Miracle Doctor, the reader follows the rural doctor Van Renterghem (1845 - 1939) along the country roads and dykes, in all weathers, to the sick that he treated in hygienically grim circumstances. A butcher with pain in the chest, a woman with asthma, a man with rheumatoid sciatia: many of his patients are cured with the help of hypnosis, then still a completely unknown treatment method. Suspicion grows amongst colleagues and pharmacists: a doctor who doesn’t prescribe any medicine? Motivated by his belief in the power of hypnosis, Van Renterghem travels to Zürich to meet Jung, and to meet Freud in Vienna.
The Miracle Doctor gives a fascinating insight into the evolution of medical history at the end of the 19th century. Van Renterghem realises that apart from a body, his patients also possess a mind, and that new techniques such as hypno- and psychotherapy reap unexpected results. An intriguing memoir of the open-minded pioneer who founded the first institute for psychotherapy in the Netherlands.