Thursday, 1 August 2013

History of hypnosis

History of hypnosis
Hypnosis is one of the universal human traits and as such, the history of hypnosis can only be described as trying to understand the beginning of humanity. As such, trying to excavate hypnosis history is like talking about the breathing or thinking history. While the application of hypnotherapy for therapeutic or healing purposes can be said to be a recent development, the truth is that hypnosis is deeply rooted in past discoveries and developments. The ancient Egyptian, Hindu and Chinese writings all mention the use of hypnotic inductions in their healing procedures. 

Use of hypnosis in modern era can be traced back between 1734 and 1815 to an Australian physician known as Franz Mesmer. This led to hypnosis being simply referred to ‘mesmerism’. The physician made remarkable results while treating psychiatric patients. He pioneered the modern hypnosis and is credited to laying the basis for psychological treatment. 

Throughout 19th Century, theories developed by Mesmer were developed further by other physicians like James Esdaille and John Elliotson. These two British surgeons performed surgeries like amputations by using mesmeric techniques. Another important person worthy mentioning in the history of hypnosis is James Braid who is recognized as ‘father of modern day hypnosis’.

James Braid established that hypnosis was more of a scientific approach rather than an interest. Braid also introduced the current word ‘hypnosis’, which he coined from hypnos, a Greek word meaning sleep and discarded previously used words like ‘nervous sleep’ and neurypnology. In the 20th century, academic and scientific research on hypnosis was furthered by notable figures like Clack L hull and Pierre Janet. 

Sigmund Freud also developed researches based on hypnosis as well as significant figures like Emile Coue. The latter is better known for his ‘auto suggestion’ idea which refers to self hypnosis in modern times. In addition, he recognized the importance of imagination when solving problems. He prompted the idea that a client must participate in hypnosis rather than leaving everything to the hypnotist. 

Nevertheless, modern hypnotherapy is credited to two important figures; Dave Elman and Milton H. Erickson. The latter pioneered the concept of ‘indirect hypnosis’ Elman is not famous in this field but he wrote his book known as ‘Hypnotherapy’. His work aimed at providing more understanding on hypnotherapy and hypnotism stages. 

In 21st Century, hypnosis largely follows the patterns introduced by Elman and Erickson and not the same as the lengthy and authoritarian methods pioneered by various figures in 19th century. Nevertheless, despite all these developments, the main fact is that all ideas point at using hypnosis for profound change and healing.

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