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History of Hypnosis
Amazing as it may seem, the powers of hypnosis have been well known and used for thousands of years, yet at this day in the twenty first century hypnosis is still an art so clouded with mystery that the majority of the population have little, to no understanding of it at all, so little in fact that many people even doubt that there is such a thing as hypnosis, which is why I have put together this page on the history of hypnosis. We do have at this time, much evidence supporting the use of hypnosis from as far back a time as two thousand years B.C., and I for one am of the belief that our humanly population could not exist without hypnosis, because humanity could never have advanced in any form to what it is today without the ability to..... simply go inside, and focus your attention upon one thought....that's right...and allow that thought to grow...as you notice.... the intricacies of what may pass inside....Man is the only form of life on earth with such an ability, which is the very reason why, we have climbed to the top of the food chain. Our ability to think, dream, and construct those dreams, into the reality of what others at one time would have considered the power of God. And so below, you will find a brief history of humanities use of trance, prayer, meditation, or as we call it here the history of hypnosis, because to me it's all about going inside....and dreaming that dream....eventually....learning how....to do....and become.....all, that we desire.
B.C.- Ancient Sanskrit's contain writings of the use of healing
trances, performed within the walls of healing temples in India.
1500 A.D.- Parcelsus, the discoverer of the cure for syphilis, began healing illness, and disease with magnets.
1600 - Valentine Greatrakes healed via the laying of hands combined with the passing of magnets over the body.
1725 - Father Maximilian Hell, a Jesuit priest used magnets to heal people.
to 1817 - Franze Anton Mesmer, a student of Maximilian
Hell brought the use of healing magnets to Vienna. At the time bloodletting
was the primary method of healing. Mesmer would bleed a patient,
then pass a magnet over the cut causing the bleeding to stop. One day
by coincidence Mezmer couldn't find his magnet and used a stick
instead, still causing the bleeding to stop, it was this that led Mesmer
to believe that the magnetic energy came from within the patient, of
which in turn he eventually labeled the term Animal Magnetism,
because it also appeared that he had this magnetic attraction, especially
from the ladies, and you can too, with just one listen from our own
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1800 - The Marquis de Pusseguyr from France took up mesmerism, and eventually coined the term "somnambulism" meaning "sleepwalker", which is used today to describe the deepest state of hypnosis.
1838 - Dr. Elliottson began using mesmerism in his practice and was expelled from the medical community.
1840 - James Braid witnessed a mesmerism demonstration put on by La Fontaine. Braid came to the realization that it was the power of hypnotic suggestion which entranced the subject, and came up with the name neuro-hypnosis.
1843 - James Braid wrote the book Neurypnology, and published his observation that it was a subjects fixation on a single point that caused the state of trance. He tried to coin the term monoideaism, but it didn't stick and the term hypnosis, survived to this day, aren't you glad. I don't think I would like to enter a state of monoideaism, sounds kind of sick.
1850 - James Esdaile discovered how to use mesmerism to control pain and performed over five hundred operations successfully along with speedy recovery times. This was all done before the invention of chloroform, but when he brought his report back to Britain, the medical community didn't believe him, and shut him out of the British Medical Corps. Unfortunately, chloroform was discovered just as Esdaile arrived in Britain, and so the use of something so simple as this chemical of the ages, and shut down any further research on pain control.
1864 - Liebault of France, began using a system he developed for therapy using hypnosis. Soon after Berheim joined with Liebault in his research after a patient he had was cured of a sciatica almost overnight after being worked on by Liebault. The two eventually formed the Nancy School of Hypnosis. Freud appeared as one of Bernheim and Liebault students, but due to his inability to gain rapport with clients because of his rotten teeth and over use of cocaine, he proved to be a miserable hypnotist and abandoned the use of hypnosis. Publicly Freud claimed that a young woman jumped and kissed him, of which he proposed hypnosis to be far to volatile a system to be used.
1904 - Pavlov publishes his paper on "conditioned reflex".
1943 - Clark Hull, one of Milton Erickson's professors wrote "Hypnosis and Suggestibility". One of the first books covering the psychological studies on hypnosis. One of his primary observations was that "anything that assumes trance, causes trance". Although his primary professor, Milton Erickson and Hull strongly disagreed on their thoughts of hypnosis. Erickson's beliefs stemmed from observation, and naturalistic processes, while Hull researched for a method that could be phonographed and used on everyone in the population. His reports concluded that a portion of the population could never be hypnotized, due to his stringent trance inducing methods.
At this point in our historical
briefing one might wonder why the pioneers of hypnosis were
not able to create a steady use of such a powerful tool, so the question
arises as to what was possibly wrong. Shortly put the pioneers made
a few humanly mistakes.
to 1980 - Milton H.
Erickson. Milton Erickson helped about 14 people per
day for the sixty years he maintained his hypnotherpy practice.
He first began with direct
suggestion techniques but quickly realized that a different approach,
a more permissive approach worked better, and that he could hypnotize
a far greater percentage of the population with what might be referred
to as a permissive approach, eventually being called the utilization
approach to hypnotherapy. Eventually Milton Erickson
developed the confusion
technique, and the handshake
technique, along with many other extraordinary means of bringing
on trance developments, making him the most pronounced and
influential figure of modern day hypnosis.
References to hypnosis in the Western world usually begin with Franz Anton Mesmer (1734 – 1815). The form of hypnosis he used was labeled animal magnetism, and soon came to be known, after his name as mesmerism. While his method of pain-management and healing was often quite effective, the scientific community was rather displeased with him. His downfall resulted from his conviction that the healing was a result of an animal magnetism exuding from him, discounting the influence of the patient’s imagination. Even though he was discredited, many people were intrigued and influenced by Mesmer’s techniques and methods.
Around the same time, in Switzerland, Father Johann Joseph Gassner (1717 – 1799) was practicing exorcisms, by which he healed both himself and patients that were coming to him from around the world. His methods were similar in effect to mesmerism.
People who were influenced by mesmerism included Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802 – 1866), who successfully cured a bedridden invalid, later to become famous as Mary Baker Eddy (1821 – 1910), the founder of Christian Science.
In the 19th century, more doctors began using mesmerism for the relief of pain and as an anesthetic during surgeries. Better known among these doctors are John Elliotson (1791 – 1868) and James Esdaile (1808 – 1859). Before the discovery of chemical anesthetics, mesmerism was used as the only anesthetic. When chloroform became readily available, the practice of mesmerism during surgery almost died out.
In England around 1843, the surgeon James Braid (ca. 1795 – 1860), revisited the phenomena of Mesmerism and renamed it hypnosis, after the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos. He was the first person to attribute this phenomena to that of psychological rather than physical variables. His findings renewed interest in the subject, especially in France, where hypnosis regained popularity again as a form of pain reduction during surgery. Eventually, Braid’s technique was deemed to be unsatisfactory and hypnosis drifted out of favor once again.
In the late 1800’s, Bernheim and Liebeault came upon hypnosis s a treatment for physical and functional diseases, after one of Bernheim’s patients attributed her effective sciatica cure to hypnotic imagery. Bernheim and Liebeault began the most comprehensive study of hypnosis at that time, attempting to determine when and how hypnosis could be successfully applied. Once again, hypnosis lost favor to the effective new technological and medical advances of the period – new chemical methods of anesthesia. Stronger emphasis was placed upon physical treatments for effective outcomes rather than psychological treatments.
The First International Congress for Experimental and Therapeutic Hypnotism was held in Paris in 1889. Among the participants were many prominent psychiatrists.
In Vienna, Sigmund Freud,
and Joseph Breuer (1842 – 1925),
had begun to use hypnosis successfully in psychotherapy with
patients then classified as hysterical. They published a book on hypnosis,
however even before the book appeared, Freud (due to his many failures)
had given up on hypnosis and turned to psychoanalysis.
At the end of Word War I, psychologist William McDougall (1871 – 1944) brought hypnosis to the attention of scientists through his treatment of soldiers with “shell shock” from trench warfare. Clark Hull (1844 – 1952) began experimentation as a professor at the University of Wisconsin, and later at Yale University. Again, a new interest awakened during and after the battles of World War II and the Korean War. (Incidentally Hull was Milton Erickson's first professor in hypnosis at the University of Wisconsin, and was soon at ends with Erickson and his methods. Eventually Hull’s methods now known as authoritarian hypnosis, still lead the way and is most practiced even though because professional thinkers seem to prefer measurability scales comparing all people to be the same as inanimate objects rather than individuals.)
At this point an interest in hypnosis as a tool for pain management began to grow among dentists, doctors and psychologists. In 1990, Evans investigated the effectiveness of hypnosis as compared to other types of pain relief. He determined that the style of hypnosis was more important than the type of pain. He determined that hypnosis was most successful with pain management.
There is a sizable amount of controversy involving the discrepancy between the curative approach to hypnosis and an analgesic approach. Although an analgesic approach may be the main focus in hypnosis literature, one must realize that if hypnosis provides an effective cure it would be considered an even more powerful treatment. Another important point in this debate is that a curative process can also be considered an analgesic process. In fact, curing a malady is inarguably the best possible way to eliminate the pain associated with it!
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