The History of Hypnosis

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 Post subject: The History of Hypnosis
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:45 pm 
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Hey Guys,

I'm a qualified Hypnotherapist however like you I started out in the game a mixture of natural an a guy that was unable to seal the deal, my own journey took me through the pages of many book, online forums and countries around the world and I'm learning some interesting things. The three most powerful techniques I found over the years to help guys with AA, shyness and other sticking points are Hypnosis, NLP and EFT, message me if you'd like to know more about any of them. Here's a little background on hypnosis to give you guys the information you need to improve your game..

The use of hypnosis, as a therapeutic tool is as ancient as man is, as far as we can accurately trace back the history of man, we find records of the use of hypnosis for a healing role. Hypnosis, although it has been described under various names, is as natural as man is. There should by no mystery surrounding one of the greatest tools that man has used throughout the centuries.

The use of hypnosis for healing can be traced back to 3,000 BC and the times of ancient Egypt were the earliest known hypnotic sessions were recorded on a stone stele. In 2,000 BC the father of Chinese medicine, Wond Tai, wrote about the technique involving incantations and ‘the passing of hands’, both the old and new testament of the Bible refer us to what could be deemed to be hypnosis and indeed suggestions to people within a hypnotised state.But I don’t want to bore you with ancient history, suffice it to say that hypnosis is recorded throughout the ages and across many, many cultures.

The starting point for today is the 18th century and a Viennese physician called Franz Anton Mesmer. It is in fact this person that lent his name to mesmerism. Franz Mesmer was born in 1734 in Austria. He grew up in a world that was turning more and more to science, and Mesmer himself had a great interest in astronomy, and in the works of Maximillian Hell, a Jesuit priest, on the curative effects of magnets. From this interest, Mesmer developed a theory that ‘when the ebb and flow within an organism became out of balance with the universal rhythm mental imbalance or nervous illnesses could result.

Mesmer also believed that this imbalance could be corrected with magnets. Now Mesmer wasn’t ‘a bit short up top’ and indeed he spent 16 years at universities and was awarded two doctorates, one in medicine and one in philosophy. Now Mesmer, using a mixture of conventional medical methods and the use of magnets, drew himself a lot of attention in Vienna. Mesmer soon obtained a number of remarkable cures and listed in his first published report, cures for epilepsy, hysteria, melancholia and fitful fever.

These cures were effected by the application of horseshoe shaped magnets on the chest and the soles of the patients feet. But Mesmer also realised that the magnets were not too important as almost anything would do in the place of magnets. Mesmer also published a letter in which he asserted that magnets only acted as a conductor for the force or ‘fluid’ that influenced the patient

Mesmer believed that the hypnotic effect was caused by what he called ‘animal magnetism’, and this magnetism he thought was an invisible magnetic fluid that came from living bodies. Mesmer also thought that this fluid could be transmitted to certain inanimate objects, such as a large tub filled with water and iron fillings, or even certain trees. Effectively Mesmer saw ‘animal magnetism’ as something that could be harnessed and stored in the same way that today we ’store’ electricity in a car battery.

Although Mesmer’s technique may seem quite strange by today’s standards Mesmer did in fact have many spectacular cures using his hypnotic techniques. For reasons unknown Mesmer left Vienna, but it is believed that the ‘powers that be’ were unhappy about the use of his ‘animal magnetism’ and that also Mesmer was involved in a protracted argument that involved unpleasant scenes, with the family of a blind girl who disputed his claimed cure.

So in the year of 1778 Mesmer traveled to Paris were he set up his salon, and then within the year moved to a house just outside Paris and this is where he set up his famous Baquet. This was actually a large round oak barrel which people were able to sit around, and these people held iron rods that dipped into the barrel which was itself filled with water, iron filings and glass. With this Baquet it was possible for Mesmer and his assistants to treat many people at once – and could be seen as an early form of group therapy! During these sessions Mesmer would be dressed in a silk robe and walk amongst the patients, talking quietly and making passes with his hands or with an iron wand that he would carry and there would be light piano music in the background. Perhaps not very scientific, but it was effective all the same.

Mesmer moved back into Paris where he and his partner, and friend, Dr Charles D’eslon became so successful using this technique that he often had to turn people away, this didn’t please Mesmer as he wished this therapy to be available to anyone who required it. Mesmer eventually realized that he didn’t need to use his Baquet and set about using a tree, as he had previously done in Vienna. So Mesmer attached cords to the tree and often up to a hundred people were said to be sat in this suburb of Paris, under a tree, holding cords attached to the branches, with Mesmer walking amongst them in his silk robe!

Many of the people who took part in these sessions reported being ‘cured’ or feeling ‘better’ and, unsurprisingly, orthodox medical practitioners attacked Mesmer’s methods of SPAM. In 1782 Mesmer and his associates founded the Society of Harmony. This was actually a form of franchise, he had 100 subscribers pay today’s equivalent of £400 and for this they received full instructions of Mesmers methods along with the right to practise these methods in specific towns, much of a similar idea as the Macdonald franchises of today.

The society that Mesmer founded was such a great success that soon other Societies of Harmony were operating in other French provinces and abroad, and during this time many important discoveries were being made by many of the members. The hostility that they received from orthodox medicine continued during this time, although Mesmer and D’eslon were campaigning for investigations into the methods that they were using to try to show that they were an acceptable form of therapy – that actually worked.

During Mesmers declining years and after his death, one of Mesmers pupils (and friend) continued to practice and teach ‘animal magnetism’ and it was around this time that Professor Jean Deleuze demonstrated ‘Post Hypnotic Suggestion’, this was most probably the first time that Post Hypnotic Suggestion was utilized. Now for any of you that aren’t aware, a post hypnotic suggestion is a suggestion that is given when the patient is actually hypnotised, and acted out after they have left the hypnotic state – very similar to the technique that is used when people come to me to help them quit the habit of smoking.

Now there are many other names in the history of hypnotherapy, and if I had more time I would tell you more about these, but as time (and web space) is short and for the sake of reader interest I will quickly jump forward to 1845. In 1845 James Esdaile made his first Mesmeric experiments whilst in charge of a hospital in India, and subsequently used ‘Mesmeric analgesia’, or put another way his operations were carried out with only the use of Mesmers techniques – there was no anesthetic used. Mesmeric analgesia proved to be so successful that it was used extensively by Esdaile during this period, however, he was not the first to use Mesmerism for operations. The first recorded use of the technique was in the amputation of a leg by Dr’s Topham and Squire Ward

Over a three year period Esdaile carried out thousands of painless operations, no less than 300 of these were major operations and included 19 amputations and also the removal of scrotal tumours, now please don’t forget that all these operations were carried out without any other form of anaesthetic except Mesmeric practises.

A commission was appointed by the Governor of Bengal to report on the work that Esdaile was doing and indeed reported back very favourably on Esdailes work, but..Unfortunately the introduction of ether and chloroform virtually ended the application of Mesmerism dispute Esdailes vigorous defence of his methods.

In 1852 James Esdaile published a pamphlet called “The introduction of mesmerism as an anaesthetic and curative agent into the hospitals of India”, however you’d be very fortunate to be able to lay your hands on a copy of his publication today! In the 19th century, a man called James Braid was to give the phenomena associated with mesmerism a new name, for it was Braid who first coined the words hypnotism, hypnotic, hypnotise etc. The origin of the word comes from the Greek word Hypnos, meaning sleep.

Not long after Braid had coined the word hypnotism, he realised that he had made a grave error in his naming of this phenomena, and tried to rename it monoidism, for that is what hypnosis actually is, people don’t ‘go to sleep’ in hypnosis, rather they direct their attention inwards, to a single point – but unfortunately it was too late as hypnosis had already been accepted and was in common use

But back to the history lesson, when Braid first witnessed mesmerism he really wasn’t too impressed as he believed that the Mesmeric effect was nothing but trickery. Braid got to witness a second demonstration, and at this demonstration trickery was suggested, so several of the audience members, including Braid, were invited onto the stage to studied the mesmerised subject. Braid, convinced that it was nothing short of a stage act actually forced a pin beneath the subjects finger nail, and was surprised and impressed when the subject showed no sign of discomfit.

Braid became a convert to mesmerism after that demonstration, and proceeded to carry out numerous experiments on the phenomena and it was his scientific approach to hypnotism that enabled many influential people to embrace the subject. But more importantly Braid also ascertained that the hypnotic phenomena was not produced directly by the hypnotist. Or to put this another way, Braid discovered that the state of hypnosis was self induced and the hypnotist was only a catalyst for the affair.

Two doctors by the names of Liebeault and Berheim founded the so called Nancy school if France in the 19th century, which proved to be very significant in the acceptance of hypnotherapy. Liebeault although often being described as a simple country doctor amassed a considerable amount of experience and expertise in hypnosis by treating, without charge, the peasants of Nancy, a rural French region. Berheim, a fashionable doctor in Paris at the time, began to make frequent visits to Liebault after the Nancy doctor effected a cure on a patient that Berheim had previously had no success with.

The two doctors became great friends and although Liebault continued working with the poor, refusing to accept any payment, Berheim made a practice of hypnotising all of the hospital patients who came into his care.After four years, and about five thousand hypnotic inductions, Berheim yielded a 75% success rate – however, several years later, the number of inductions had risen to ten thousand and his success rate had risen to 85%.

At the same time as Liebault and Berheim were experimenting with hypnosis and its therapeutic use, a great French neurologist, Jean Charcott, had also been experimenting with hypnosis, and Charcott put forward the view that hypnosis was essentially hysteria, however the Nancy school opposed Charcott’s view and consequently won acceptance of hypnosis for what it is an essentially normal consequence of suggestion.

Sigmund Freud, the father of psycho-analysis, visited Nancy in 1889, and on this visit he became convinced of the ‘powerful mental processes which nevertheless remain hidden from man’. Freud never really got to grips with hypnosis, abandoning it after he discovered ‘positive transference’. This happened when he terminated the hypnotic session of a female patient and she threw her arms around his neck. Freud is reported saying of this event, ‘I was modest enough not to attribute the event to my own irresistible personal attraction’

Freud subsequently developed free association and psychoanalysis, through these techniques he was able to control and use the transference phenomena. This brings us into the early decades of the 20th century and a man whose name may be familiar with you, Emile Coue, Coue also studied at Nancy and is associated with the New Nancy School. His reputation is mainly founded on the work that he did on auto suggestion, it was in fact Coue who originated the well known affirmation ‘Everyday, in every way, I’m getting better and better’. I would imagine at least some of you are familiar, if you haven’t actually employed this affirmation at some time.

This brings us almost up to date with modern hypnotherapy, apart from the continuing debate upon whether hypnosis is a specific or non specific state that was started by Barber, now Barber thought that hypnosis was a non specific state, and he did many experiments to prove his point, he gave hypnotised and non-hypnotised volunteers the same suggestions, such as to stop smoking, and was surprised to find that both groups reacted in a similar manner. From this he decided that there was not a specific state of hypnosis, however many people disagree with his non specific state theory.

Unfortunately, until there are major advances in biological science, this debate shall surely continue. So, there we are, a quick tour of the world of hypnotherapy, from 3,000 BC to modern day. Modern hypnosis has survived the controversies, mistrust and open hostility to reach its present position amongst the healing arts. Hypnotherapy has survived because enough determined people have fought on, and because enough people have benefited from it.

Hypnotherapy in the 1990s has become accepted as an alternative medicine, mainly due to the efforts of the people I have already mentioned. And indeed, hypnotherapy is becoming more and more accepted by orthodox medicine as a tool that does effect cures in previously incurable cases.

To many people, hypnotherapy is only a last resort for those people who wish to give up smoking, but the reality is the average hypnotherapist only deals with his sort of person occasionally. Hypnotherapy is able to effectively cure many problems, if you are really scared of spiders, as many people are, or snakes, or going outside or even being in confined spaces, hypnotherapy can cure that problem – not for just a week or a month – permanently

Like I said, I'm a clinical hypnotherapist, message me if you have any questions about hypnotherapy and how it can help your game. I've posted a free hypnotherapy script which can be used to help you along the way and if you have question PM me anytime

Thank you, FrankBlack


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