THE HISTORY OF HYPNOSIS SHOW NOTES
In this episode of the Motor City Hypnotist Podcast I am going to talk about the history of hypnosis. How and where it began and it’s evolution over the years.
And I’m also going to be giving listeners a FREE HYPNOSIS GUIDE! Stay tuned!
What is up people? The Motor City Hypnotist Podcast is here in the Podcast Detroit Northville Studios. Thank you for joining me on this episode of the Motor City Hypnotist Podcast. With me is my producer Matt Fox.
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FREE HYPNOSIS GUIDE
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Today I am going to share with you the History of Hypnosis. When and where did hypnosis actually start and how has it evolved over the years to become what it is today?
*The earliest references to hypnosis date back to ancient Egypt and Greece. *In Greek mythology, Hypnos is the god/personification of sleep. His name is the origin of the word hypnosis
* the Roman equivalent is known as Somnus. (Somnambulist is a term for someone very susceptible to hypnosis.
*Both cultures had religious centres where people came for help with their problems.
*There are many references to trance and hypnosis in early writings. In 2600 BC the father of Chinese medicine, Wong Tai, wrote about techniques that involved incantations and passes of the hands. The Hindu Vedas written around 1500 BC mention hypnotic procedures.
*Trance-like states occur in many shamanistic, druidic, voodoo, yogic and religious practices.
*The modern father of Hypnosis was an Austrian physician, Franz Mesmer (1734 – 1815), from whose name the word ‘mesmerism’ is derived.
(movie Mesmer starring Alan Rickman released in 1994).
Mesmer was much maligned by the medical world of his day
“Animal Magnetism” was coined by Mesmer. –the idea that diseases are the result of blockages in the flow of magnetic forces in the body. He believed he could store his animal magnetism in baths of iron filings and transfer it to patients with rods or by ‘mesmeric passes’.
*Mesmer himself was very much a showman, conveying by his manner that something was going to happen to the patient. This form of indirect suggestion was very powerful (and is still used today).
*Mesmer was also responsible for the popular image of the hypnotist as a man with magnetic eyes, a cape and goatee beard.
*John Elliotson (1791 – 1868), a professor at London University, who is famous for introducing the stethoscope into England. He also tried to champion the use of mesmerism, but was forced to resign. He continued to give demonstrations of mesmerism in his own home to any interested parties, and this led to a steady increase in literature on the subject.
*The next real pioneer of Hypnosis in Britain appeared in the mid-nineteenth century with James Braid (1795 – 1860). Primarily a Scottish eye doctor, he developed an interest in mesmerism quite by chance. One day, when he was late for an appointment, he found his patient in the waiting room staring into an old lamp, his eyes glazed. Fascinated, Braid gave the patient some commands, telling him to close his eyes and go to sleep. The patient complied and Braid’s interest grew. He discovered that getting a patient to fixate upon something was one of the most important components of putting them into a trance.
*This object fixation technique led to the swinging watch, which many people associate with hypnosis.
*This is a technique used today to induce trance (explain my induction process)!
*Meanwhile, a British surgeon in India, James Esdaile (1808 – 1859), recognised the enormous benefits of hypnotism for pain relief and performed hundreds of major operations using hypnotism as his only anasthetic. When he returned to England he tried to convince the medical establishment of his findings, but they laughed at him and declared that pain was character-building (although they were biased in favor of the new chemical anaesthetics, which they could control and, of course, charge more money for). So hypnosis became, and remains to this day, an ‘alternative’ form of medicine.
*The work of another Frenchman, Emile Coué (1857 – 1926), was very interesting. He moved away from conventional approaches and pioneered the use of auto-suggestion. He is most famous for the phrase, ‘Day by day in every way I am getting better and better.’ His technique was one of affirmation and it has been championed in countless modern books. Many hypnotist still use this phrase to present day
*Coué believed that he did not heal people himself but merely facilitated their own self-healing. He understood the importance of the subject’s participation in hypnosis, and was a forerunner of those modern practitioners who claim, ‘There is no such thing as hypnosis, only self-hypnosis.’ Perhaps his most famous idea was that the imagination is always more powerful than the will. For example, if you ask someone to walk across a plank of wood on the floor, they can usually do it without wobbling. However, if you tell them to close their eyes and imagine the plank is suspended between two buildings hundreds of feet above the ground, they will start to sway.
* Coué also came up with the placebo effect – treatment of no intrinsic value the power of which lies in suggestion: patients are told that they are being given a drug that will cure them. Recent research on placebos is quite startling. In some cases statistics indicate that placebos can work better that many of modern medicine’s most popular drugs. It seems that while drugs are not always necessary for recovery from illness belief in recovery is!
*Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) was also interested in hypnosis, initially using it extensively in his work. He eventually abandoned the practice – for several reasons, not least that he wasn’t very good at it!
(TV show Freud on Netflix did somewhat accurately portray Freud’s hypnosis issues).
* Freud’s early rejection of Hypnosis delayed the development of hypnotherapy, turning the focus of psychology away from hypnosis and towards psychoanalysis.
*Milton H. Erickson, MD (1901-1980), a remarkable man and a highly effective psychotherapist. As a teenager he was stricken with polio and paralysed. It was while paralysed that he had an unusual opportunity to observe people, and he noticed that what people said and what they did were often very different. He became fascinated by human psychology and devised countless innovative and creative ways to heal people. He healed through metaphor, surprise, confusion and humor, as well as hypnosis. A master of ‘indirect hypnosis’, he was able to put a person into a trance without even mentioning the word hypnosis.
FREE HYPNOSIS GUIDE
I am giving everyone a free gift. My PDF Guide to Hypnosis. I’ll provide the link in the show notes and on my facebook page!
Hypnosis for Weight Management!
Change your thinking, change your life!
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David R. Wright MA, LPC, CHT
The Motor City Hypnotist