François Roustang

A Single Gesture Is Enough Publication date : April 1, 2003

What can we do to feel better? How can we appease anxiety and start enjoying life once more? How can we operate such radical changes in ourselves that we will be able to recreate our own lives? Perhaps all that is needed is one simple gesture. But what should it be? Why? And where to begin?
First of all, we must throw out the prejudices and certainties of traditional therapists. Psychotherapy need not be very long. We must also get around the barrier erected by language. Roustang argues that no one is cured or comes alive by talking, and it is through hypnosis that we can have access to another form of perception of ourselves and of the world.
He goes on to describe in detail the path that leads to a trance-like state, which he argues is a necessary condition for any profound change. The reason he gives is that hypnosis puts us in touch with the very movement of life.
“It [hypnosis] is not a technique to put someone to sleep nor is it an invitation to enter an unconscious state,” writes Roustang. “But because it can constantly modify existence, it can be regarded as an awakening to an art of living. Is hypnosis a form of spiritual life? If this is how we wished to categorise it, we would have to emphasise that it does not open up to any sort of other world or ‘beyond’. It develops on the surface. It is nothing more nor less than a part of daily life. Its goal is to create and recreate, every day, the unity of the body’s intelligence in its own space. Its modesty indicates that it is part of the experience of life.”
This book sets out to show readers how to succeed in “feeling their lives”.

A philosopher and psychoanalyst by training, François Roustang is an unconventional practitioner and a discriminating writer. For the past twenty years, he has been a forceful critic of psychotherapy, untiringly questioning its purpose and results. He is the author of many works that are now regarded as classics, including Un destin si funeste, Qu’est-ce que l’hypnose? (published by Editions de Minuit), Comment faire rire un paranoïaque and, recently, La fin de la plainte.