HypnoWave Hypnosis Training Center
History of Hypnosis
Doctor David Waxman wrote:
"From the beginnings of the human race, man has endeavored to impose his will and strength upon his fellow for good or for evil. From the dawn of history, with the use of witchcraft or of wizardry, of revelation through supernatural agencies, with the power of the word or the use of suggestion, he has sought to influence the destiny of others. From the accidental discovery of a natural phenomenon, through magical powers and magnetic fluids, have emerged the refined techniques of the twentieth century, which produce the state known as hypnosis."
been around for many years. The Ancient
Egyptians had their Temples of Sleep and the
Greeks their Shrines of Healing. Sleep temples
were hospitals of sorts, healing a variety of
ailments, perhaps many of them psychological in
nature. Treatment involved chanting, placing the
patient into a trancelike or hypnotic state, and
analyzing their dreams in order to determine
YPNOS (The Greek God of Sleeping
Ceremonies and mysticism were used to provide even more reason for the participants to believe in the temples or healers ability to heal. You could also ascribe to hypnosis the many healings and miracles of relics, holy men and shrines. According to a Greek legend the gods were looking for a place to hide the greatest power that they held. They thought about placing it on the highest mountain top but they figure we would look there eventually. This discussion went on with different gods suggesting different places but none of them would be safe from humans looking. Eventually it was YPNOS that suggested that the greatest gift be hidden in each of us because we would never think to look inside ourselves for it.
Mac Hovec (Hypnosis before Mesmer) reports that the Aesculapian priests sometimes used a brush, as if to brush away' unhealthy symptoms. Or they would use a cloth, or touch with the hand.
This, of course, is very similar to Mesmer's passes with or without contact.
Going back still deeper into history, it is well known that ancient civilizations have used what is now called hypnosis. Certainly the ancient Egyptian, Creek and Persian cultures have produced the best documentation.
ANCIENT EGYPTIANS (2980 2900)
He maintained that the brain not only controlled the entire body, but also our feelings and emotions, as well as being the seat of disease. The Hippocratic oath named after Hippocrates was created long after his death.
KUTADGU BILIG (1069)
is referred to by most as the founder of hypnotism as it is today. He studied the effects of magnetism under Father Hell, a Viennese Jesuit (1720-1792). He later believed that he possessed the ability to heal using a theory called animal magnetism.
Mesmer treated patients both individually and in groups. With individuals he would sit in front of his patient with his knees touching the patient's knees, pressing the patient's thumbs in his hands, looking fixedly into the patient's eyes. Mesmer made "passes", moving his hands from patients' shoulders down along their arms. He then pressed his fingers on the patient's hypochondriac region (the area below the diaphragm), sometimes holding his hands there for hours. Many patients felt peculiar sensations or had convulsions that were regarded as crises and supposed to bring about the cure. Mesmer would often conclude his treatments by playing some music on a glass armonica.
Wands, Tubs, and Magnets
Deleuze, the librarian at the Jardin des Plantes gave the following account of Mesmer's experiments:
The tub was filled with water, to which were sometimes added powdered glass and iron filings. There were also some dry tubs, that is, prepared in the same manner, but without any additional water. The lid was perforated to admit of the passage of movable bent rods, which could be applied to the different parts of the patient's body. A long rope was also fastened to a ring in the lid, and this the patients placed loosely round their limbs.
No disease offensive to the sight was treated, such as sores, or deformities. "A large number of patients were commonly treated at one time. They drew near to each other, touching hands, arms, knees, or feet. The handsomest, youngest, and most robust magnetizers held also an iron rod with which they touched the dilatory or stubborn patients. The rods and ropes had all undergone a 'preparation' and in a very short space of time the patients felt the magnetic influence.
The women, being the most easily affected, were almost at once seized with fits of yawning and stretching; their eyes closed, their legs gave way and they seemed to suffocate.
In vain did musical glasses and harmonicas resound, the piano and voices re-echo; these supposed aids only seemed to increase the patients' convulsive movements. Sardonic laughter, piteous moans and torrents of tears burst forth on all sides. The bodies were thrown back in spasmodic jerks, the respirations sounded like death rattles, the most terrifying symptoms were exhibited.
Then suddenly the actors of this strange scene would frantically or rapturously rush towards each other, either rejoicing and embracing or thrusting away their neighbors with every appearance of horror.
Another room was padded and presented another spectacle. There women beat their heads against wadded walls or rolled on the cushion-covered floor, in fits of suffocation. In the midst of this panting, quivering throng, Mesmer, dressed in a lilac coat, moved about, extending a magic wand toward the least suffering, halting in front of the most violently excited and gazing steadily into their eyes, while he held both their hands in his, bringing the middle fingers in immediate contact to establish communication.
He was later
discredited by a Royal Commission of 9 members
in April of 1784. Four members were from the
Medical Faculty including one Dr. Joseph Ignance
Guillotin who invented the guillotine. Five
members were from the
The commission dismissed animal magnetism and regarded the healing as merely the imaginations of the patients. This led to the belief that it was not animal magnetism but the power of suggestion that healed patrons. Most of us are familiar with the term mesmerize. Mesmer financed a concert for Mozart at one time in which Mozart was very appreciative. There are a lot of different variations to what happened to Mesmer but one thing is for sure he did gain great results in some famous people using his theory of Animal Magnetism.
John Elliotson(1791-1868), English physician
medicine first at
A surgeon, born
Braid became interested in mesmerism in November 1841, when he observed demonstrations given by a traveling mesmerist named Charles Lafontaine. Convinced that he had discovered the key to understanding these phenomena, Braid began giving lectures the following month.
In 1843 he published Neurypnology: or the Rationale of Nervous Sleep, his first and only book-length exposition of his views. In this book he coined the words hypnotism, hypnotize, and hypnotist, which remain in use. Braid thought of hypnotism as producing a "nervous sleep" which differed from ordinary sleep.
Popularly titled the "Father of Modern Hypnotism", Braid rejected Mesmer's idea of magnetism causing hypnosis, and attributed the “mesmeric trance” to a physiological process—the prolonged attention on a bright moving object or similar object of fixation. He postulated that "protracted ocular fixation" fatigued certain parts of the brain and caused the trance, "nervous sleep."
At first he called the procedure neuro-hypnosis and then, believing sleep was involved, to hypnosis. Realizing that hypnosis was not sleep, he later tried to change the name to monoideaism, but the term hypnosis had stuck.
He noted that during one phase of hypnotism, known as catalepsy, the arms, limbs, etc., might be placed in any position and would remain there; he also noted that a puff of breath would usually awaken a subject, and that by talking to a subject and telling him to do this or do that, even after he awakes from the sleep, he can be made to do those things. Braid thought he might affect a certain part of the brain during hypnotic sleep, and if he could find the seat of the thieving disposition, or the like, he could cure the patient of desire to commit crime, simply by suggestion, or command.
Braid's conclusions were, in brief, that there was no fluid, or other exterior agent, but that hypnotism was due to a physiological condition of the nerves. It was his belief that hypnotic sleep was brought about by fatigue of the eyelids, or by other influences wholly within the subject. In this he was supported by Carpenter, the great physiologist; but neither Braid nor Carpenter could get the medical organizations to give the matter any attention, even to investigate it.
Braid used hypnotism to treat both psychological and physical conditions. He completely rejected Franz Mesmer's idea that a magnetic fluid caused hypnotic phenomena, because anyone could produce them in "himself by attending strictly to the simple rules" that Braid laid down. Braidism is a synonym for hypnotism, though it is used infrequently.
Esdaile(1808-1859) British Surgeon
Charcot, Jean Martin
(1825–1893) French Neurologist.
Charcot's insight into the nature of hysteria is credited by Sigmund Freud, his pupil, as having contributed to the early psychoanalytic formulations on the subject. But Charcot's most enduring work is that on hypnosis and hysteria. Charcot believed that hysteria was a neurological disorder caused by hereditary problems in the nervous system. He used hypnosis to induce a state of hysteria in patients and study the results, and was single-handedly responsible for changing the French medical community's opinion about the validity of hypnosis (it was previously rejected as Mesmerism).
As is often the case in wartime need necessitate innovation. During the American Civil War (1861-1865) the first extensive medical application of hypnosis was used by doctors in the field. Although hypnosis was used effectively for pain management, the introduction of the hypodermic needle and the general chemical anesthetics of ether eventually reduced its use.
In 1892 the
British Medical Association unanimously endorsed
the therapeutic use of hypnosis and rejected the
earlier theories of Mesmer (animal magnetism).
Even though the BMA recognized the validity of
Breuer (1842-1925) Viennese Physician
Their paper, On the Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena (1893, tr. 1909), more fully developed in Studien über Hysterie (1895), marked the beginnings of psychoanalysis in the discovery that the symptoms of hysterical patients—directly traceable to psychic trauma in earlier life—represent undischarged emotional energy. The therapy, called the cathartic method, consisted of having the patient recall and reproduce the forgotten scenes while under hypnosis. The work was poorly received by the medical profession, and the two men soon separated over Freud's growing conviction that the undefined energy causing conversion was sexual in nature. Freud then rejected hypnosis and devised a technique called free association, which would allow emotionally charged material that the individual had repressed in the unconscious to emerge to conscious recognition. My personal opinion is that Freud enjoyed his addiction to cocaine and later developed cancer in the jaw that made it difficult for him to be effective as a hypnotist.
to Freud, suggestion was the only known method
of psychotherapy. This was used extensively with
good results. Bernhei joined Liebeault and they
conducted a clinic together. In 20 years, they
treated over 30,000 patients together with
suggestions under hypnosis. They had such
amazing success that doctors from all over
Bernheim wrote a book on hypnosis 'De la Suggestion,"which Freud translated trying to find a physiological explanation of suggestion in the nervous system.
the Nancy school was based on psychology and
verbal suggestion using light hypnosis with no
amnesia effect the Chariot School studied
physiology, reflexes and physical means to
affect these, like deep hypnosis with amnesia,
magnets or metal plates (effects discovered in
1876 by Dr. Burcq). Transference (one patient's
ailments passing to another) was discovered.
This was perfected by a neurologist, J.F.F.
Babinski. He became head of the clinic when
Charcot died. Babinski changed his mind about
the physical effects of hypnosis and accepted
the theory of suggestibility. He tried to prove
Hysteria was the diseased manifestation of
hypnosis. Soon, hypnosis was associated with
neuroses and weakness; no one wanted to be
hypnotizable. Hypnosis sank into obscurity,
except for Dr. Pierre Janet, head of the
pathological psychology laboratory, who still
believed in hypnosis. Christian Science (a
religion that teaches that diseases can be cured
by spiritual means) and psychoanalysis swept the
In 1880, the daughter (known in case histories as Anna O) a patient of Dr. Joseph Brier (A Viennese internist and Freud's collaborator) developed hysterical symptoms. She would go into spontaneous hypnosis and tell Brier childlike stories, sleep and awake refreshed. If he did not come one day, she would worsen until she told him two stories the next day. After her father's death, she began to include memories from the early months of nursing her father where he symptoms began. Each time she did, the symptoms gradually disappeared until she was cured. The emotional ordeal Breuer was put through caused him to refer all patients of this type to Freud. Freud continued to use this method.
theories at this point were as follows: People
normally have doubts and misgivings, which they
succeed in controlling. The physical exhaustion
caused by nursing an ill person might predispose
on to psychic states thereby causing loss of
control. He thought the failure to react to a
trauma caused suppression, which caused
problems. When he insisted that patients
"remember", they would often do so, but he found
much resistance and came up with the theory of
defense. This was also applied to sexual
life-the effect of pushing away sexual feelings
could transfer to another object causing
obsessions hysteria, etc.
found that many hysterics had had infantile
sexual traumas such as seductions, assaults,
etc. However in 1885, he started having doubts
and finally gave up this train of ideas. He did
so because he was not able to hypnotize many
people, and found much resistance; he doubted
whether his treatments could overcome the ego's
resistance and supply the real answer or he
would have had more satisfactory conclusions. He
found out that many of the incidents people had
supplied when he insisted they remember were not
accurate. He underwent self-analysis and then
went into different areas of psychology-free
association and dream interpretation.
Emile Coue 1857-1926 a French psychotherapist according to one resource and a pharmacist according to another, is one of the pioneers of self-hypnosis. He is remembered for his formula for curing by optimistic autosuggestion "Day by Day, in every way, I am getting better and better.
In the 1920's,
Emil Coue, originally a pharmacist, made a study
of the psychology of suggestion and operated a
" One of the articles state that Coue as a pharmacist had a client that came to him demanding a new improved medication because nothing worked. Coue mixed a new improved formula made of sugar and gave it to the client. In a week the client came back and reported that the medicine worked and that he was cured. Coue also realized that suggestions offered by a hypnotist have no effect unless the client is in agreement with them, and further recognized that all hypnosis is in effect self-hypnosis.
According to Coue:
1. In the conflict between the will and the imagination, the force of the imagination is in direct ratio to the square of the will. (This means that imagination wins over will 100% X 4)
2. When the will and imagination are in agreement, one does not add to the other, but one is multiplied by the other.
3. The imagination can be directed.
Hypondotia (hypnotism in dentistry) was begun in 1948 and has become wide spread. The American Society of Psychosomatic dentistry (an association of ethical dentists who are trained and certified to apply hypnotic techniques) has been established.
in 1956, Pope Pius XII gave his approval of
hypnosis. He stated that the use of hypnosis by
health care professionals for diagnosis and
treatment is permitted. In an address from the
1. Hypnotism is a serious matter, and not something to be dabbled in.
2. In its scientific use, the precautions dictated by both science and morality are to be followed.
3. Under the aspect of anaesthesia, it is governed by the same principles as other forms of anaesthesia.
He developed new strategies of hypnotism by combining clinical and research techniques. He was the master of indirect hypnosis; he was able to take someone into a trance without mentioning the word hypnosis or using traditional methods
Erickson was an irrepressible practical joker, and it was not uncommon for him to slip indirect suggestions into all kinds of situations, including in his own books, papers, lectures and seminars.
Erickson also believed that it was even appropriate for the therapist to go into trance.
I go into trances so that I will be more sensitive to the intonations and inflections of my patients' speech. And to enable me to hear better, see better.
The same situation is in evidence in everyday life, however, whenever attention is fixated with a question or an experience of the amazing, the unusual, or anything that holds a person’s interest. At such moments people experience the common everyday trance; they tend to gaze off—to the right or left, depending upon which cerebral hemisphere is most dominant (Baleen, 1969) —and get that “faraway” or “blank” look. Their eyes may actually close, their bodies tend to become immobile (a form of catalepsy), certain reflexes (e.g., swallowing, respiration, etc.) may be suppressed, and they seem momentarily oblivious to their surroundings until they have completed their inner search on the unconscious level for the new idea, response, or frames of reference that will restabilize their general reality orientation. We hypothesize that in everyday life consciousness is in a continual state of flux between the general reality orientation and the momentary microdynamics of trance...
- Erickson &
Rossi: Two-Level Communication and the
Because Erickson expected trance states to occur naturally and frequently, he was prepared to exploit them therapeutically, even when the patient was not present with him in the consulting room. He also discovered many techniques for how to increase the likelihood that a trance state would occur. He developed both verbal and non-verbal techniques, and pioneered the idea that the common experiences of wonderment, engrossment and confusion are, in reality, just kinds of trance. (These phenomena are of course central to many spiritual and religious disciplines, and are regularly employed by evangelists, cult leaders and holy men of all kinds).
That a trance may be 'light' or 'deep' suggest a one dimensional continuum of trance depth, but Erickson would often work with multiple trances in the same patient, for example suggesting that the hypnotized patient to behave 'as if awake', blurring the line between the hypnotic and 'awake' state.
also wrote the entry for the Encyclopedia
Britannica 14th Edition, Volume 12 in 1954 for
Hypnotism. There are a few good books that
There have been a lot of developments in the use of hypnotic language and one development is by Richard Bandler and John Grindler which is referred to as Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP. NLP is more of how to create change in the mind without the use of trance and by rewiring the way ideas are formed and stored in the mind. Frogs to Princes is a great book for more information.
In 1955 the British Medical Association recommended that a description of hypnosis and of its psychotherapeutic possibilities, limitations and dangers be given to the medical undergraduate trainees.
used in law and the FBI to aid memory and
rehabilitate criminals. The most famous example
is the Chowchilla,
We continue to find more uses for hypnosis than we ever imagined. We have found that suggestions given under surgery can have a direct impact on patients even when they were not intended. The mind is an extremely powerful tool and when used correctly it can possess incredible healing powers. There are several organizations that have been formed to provide guidance to the practice of hypnosis when there is no state or government regulation. Members of these organizations adhere to continuing education as well as certification standards.
In the 1990's, hypnosis has come full circle, it has been talked about on radio, shown on most national TV talk shows, from Oprah to Donohue, and been written up in major magazines, from Cosmopolitan to Success Magazine. Most everybody has a friend or a family member who has gone to a hypnotist for something. Even medical doctors are sending their patients to a hypnotist for habit control - stop smoking, weight control, stress reduction, as a first choice. This was unheard of 20 years ago, as doctors only referred to a hypnotist as a last resort. As hypnosis becomes more and more popular, whether or not it becomes main stream, only time will tell.
Ernest VanDenBossche BCH,CI
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