Most frequently brought about through actions of an operator, or”hypnotist”, who engages the attention of a subject and assigns certain tasks to him or her while uttering monotonous,repetitive verbal commands; such tasks may include muscle relaxation, eye fixation, and arm leviation. Hypnosis also may beself-induced, by trained relaxation, concentration on one’s own breathing, or by a variety of monotonous practicesand rituals that are found in many mystical, philosophical, and religious systems. ” Another generally reliable sourceWebster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines it as,”a sleep like condition psychically induced, usually byanother person, in which the subject loses consciousness but responds, with certain limitations, to the suggestions of thehypnotist. ” As I stated earlier, these two sources are very reputed and the general population believes that they arecorrect. Yet, however often they may be correct, in this case they are not, or at least not completely.
Not according to thescientific community at least. My sources for this statement are The World Book Encyclopedia, The Wizard fromVienna: Franz Anton Mesmer, Applied Hypnosis: An Overview, American Medical Journal, and Hypnosis: Is It ForYou? Although they state it in different ways they all basically agree that nobody can give a very accurate definition ordescription of hypnosis, or hypnosis. Although some may get the definition partly correct, the chances of doing socompletely are very, very low. So although I will probably not be able to give a totally accurate account of hypnosis and itsworkings, I will try. Although evidence suggests that hypnosis has been practiced in some form or another for severalthousand years, such as in coal walking, the earliest recorded history of hypnosis begins in 1734.
It begins with a mannamed Franz Anton Mesmer. Although he was eventually disavowed by the scientific community because of hisunorthodox methods that made him seem more of a mysticist that a scientist, he is generally known as the father of hypnotism. Mesmer called his methods Mesmerism, thus the word mesmerize, but the name didn’t stick, it later changed tohypnosis, its name being derived from Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep. He believed that hypnosis was reached by using aperson’s “animal magnetism”. He used “mesmerism” to cure illness. In 1795 an English physician named James Braid, whowas originally opposed to Mesmer’s methods became interested.
He believed that cures were not due to animalmagnetism however, but the power of suggestion. This was the generally accepted opinion of the scientific community. Then in1825 Jean Marie Charcot, a French neurologist, disagreed with “The Nancy School of Hypnotism”, which followed theguidelines of James Braid’s ideas. Charcot believed that hypnosis was simply a “manifestation of hysteria”. He revivedMesmer’s theory of animal magnetism and identified the three stages of the trance; lethargy, catalepsy, andsomnambulism. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936) was not a scientist who worked with hypnosis.
Although he had nothing todo with the hypnotic development itself, his Stimulus Response Theory is a cornerstone linking and anchoringbehaviors, particularly NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). Emily Coue (1857-1926) a physician, formulated theLaws of Suggestion which are greatly used in the hypnotic community. Her first law is The Law of ConcentratedAttention: “Whenever attention is concentrated on an idea over and over again, it spontaneously tends to realize itself”. Thesecond law is- The Law of Reverse Action: “The harder one tries to do something, the less chance one has ofsuccess.
” Finally, the last law is The Law of Dominant Effect: “A stronger emotion tends to replace a weaker one. ” MiltonErickson (1932-1974), a psychologist and psychiatrist pioneered the art of indirect suggestion in hypnosis. He isconsidered the father of modern hypnosis. His methods bypassed the conscious mind through the use of both verbal andnonverbal pacing techniques including metaphor, confusion, and many others. He was definitely a major influence incontemporary hypnotherapy’s acceptance by the American Medical Association.
There are many misconceptions abouthypnosis that are totally without basis. Such as, “Hypnotized persons will tell secrets or will always tell the truth.” The truthis, hypnosis will not cause a person to tell information the do not want to tell and a person under hypnosis canpurposefully