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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.

2000 B.C.- Ancient Sanskrit's contain writings of the use of healing trances, performed within the walls of healing temples in India.
- Egyptian papyruses scrolls depict the story of sleep temples, in which priests dressed in mystical robes would speak to those that came, in such a way that illnesses healed.

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.

1734 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 hypnotic program called Magnetic Charm; just click this link to our Personal Enhancements products page and have a look at program numbers 402 and 403.
In due time, the king of France put together a board of inquiry consisting of Lavoisier a chemist, Benjamin Franklin, and Dr. Guillotin. What finally gave Mesmer's claims away was this. He had apparently magnetized a tree on his property, in order to accommodate a number of people. Eventually as Benjamin watched a young boy needing healing went out to the tree, and went into the fad of convulsions as people did in those times once mesmerized, unfortunately, the tree wasn't the one magnetized by Mesmer. Soon after Mezmer was dubbed a fraud via the words of Benjamin Franklin: "This fellow Mesmer is not flowing anything from his hands that I can see. Therefore, this mesmerism must be a fraud."

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.

The most common mistake made by our famous pioneers is one made due partially to ignorance, but probably due to the need, and desire all great pioneers have of attaining power. A need to be recognized, and praised for being the direct cause of something incredible or new. These researchers believed “they” had the “power”.

Most text's state that hypnotic subjects give up their free will, but it seems more so that the pioneers believed that they actually “took” the free will of their subjects. This was most apparent within cultures where mysticism and or religion played a large role within the culture.

It wasn't until someone realized that no one really has any power over another, but simply that the state of hypnosis is a personal achievement which can be achieved by anyone whenever the right circumstances are allowed.

From the stated beginnings of psychoanalysis in the late 1800's by Breuer and Freud, the use of hypnotic techniques to break through traumatic amnesias and the repressions of their patients proved unsuccessful.

Jung also relinquished the practice of hypnosis. What these early analysts had in common was their traditional, authoritarian hypnotic approach to hypnosis which was characteristic of the time. Although patients had remembered traumatic experiences, the pressures applied with the authoritarian approach proved fruitless in accessing any usable information. Jung himself stated, "I gave up hypnotic treatment for this very reason, because I did not want to impose my will on others. I wanted the healing process to grow out of the patient's own personality, not from suggestions by me that would have only a passing effect".

With time, as always everything changes, and so have methods of therapy. The revolutionary shift to the permissive, naturalistic, and ideodynamic approach to therapeutic hypnosis was pioneered by Milton Erickson.

1920 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.

Milton Erickson's utilization approach to therapeutic hypnotic suggestion has been outlined as follows, from Erickson's Collected Papers Volume 4, pg. 38 and Volume 1 pgs. 204 and 205.
Volume 4:
"Too often the unwarranted and unsound assumption is made that, since a trance state is induced and maintained by suggestion, and since hypnotic manifestations can be elicited by suggestion, whatever develops from hypnosis must necessarily be completely a result of suggestion and primarily an expression of it.
Contrary to such misconceptions, the hypnotized person remains the same person. His or her behavior is altered by the trance state, but even so, that altered behavior derives from the life experience of the patient and not from the therapist. At the most the therapist can influence only the manner of self-expression. The induction and maintenance of a trance serve to provide a special psychological state in which patients can reassociate and reorganize their inner psychological complexities and utilize their own capacities in a manner in accord with their own experiential life. Hypnosis does not change people nor does it alter their past experiential life. It serves to permit them to learn more about themselves and to express themselves more adequately.
Direct suggestion [authoritarian] is based primarily, if unwittingly, upon the assumption that whatever develops in hypnosis derives from the suggestions given. It implies that the therapist has the miraculous power of effecting therapeutic changes in the patient, and disregards the fact that therapy results from an inner re-synthesis of the patient's behavior achieved by the patient himself. It is true that direct suggestion can effect alteration in the patient's behavior and result in a symptomatic cure, at least temporarily. However, such a "cure" is simply a response to the suggestion and does not entail that re-association and reorganization of ideas, understandings, and memories so essential for an actual cure. It is this experience of re-associating and reorganizing his own experiential life that eventuates in a cure, not the manifestation of responsive behavior which can, at best, satisfy only the observer."

Erickson's Collected Papers Volume 1:
"These methods are based upon the utilization of the subject's own attitudes, thinking, feeling, and behavior, and aspects of the reality situation, variously employed, as the essential components of the trance induction procedure. In this way they differ from the more commonly used techniques which are based upon the suggestion of the subjects of some form of operator-selected responsive behavior. These special techniques, while readily adaptable to subjects in general, demonstrate particularly the applicability of hypnosis under various conditions of stress and to subjects seemingly not amenable to its use. They also serve to illustrate in part some of the fundamental psychological principles underlying hypnosis and its induction."

It is this revolutionary shift from the early, authoritarian hypnotic technique to Milton Erickson's naturalistic approaches to accessing and creatively utilizing state-dependent memory, learning, and behavior which accounts for the new client-centered hypnotic techniques being used today, and that my new found friends, is what this web site is all about. With my programs, you won't be told what to do, but ideas will be suggested in such a manner that you, "do it, your way". Thank you, from Hypnotic Advancements.

History of Hypnosis Continued: Hypnosis in Pain Relief.
Hypnotic-like methods and behavior for the relief of pain have been used from the beginning of time. The earliest forms were that of magical rituals consisting of, incantations, prayers and story-telling. Records exist of its use in ancient healing temples, among aborigines and shamanic cultures. The feats performed by healers from various aboriginal and shamanic cultures even today surpass the skill and ability of modern medical professional and most hypnotists.

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.

The rise of popularity of hypnosis in the Western world seems to follow the same lines of many other alternative therapies. They are often put to test when everything else fails, and/or when other means of help are not available. The effectiveness of hypnosis at such times eventually elicits curiosity in scientific circles.

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!

email: dr_frank@hypnoticadvancements.com

Mailing address:
Dr. Frank Valente
Hypnotic Advancements
3126 McCarthy Court
Mississauga , ON
Canada L4Y-3Z5

© 2004, Dr. Frank Valente DCH

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