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What Is Hypnosis?

  • Date Submitted: 02/28/2014 09:49 PM
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WHAT IS HYPNOSIS? Describe the psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis and discuss the role of relaxation in hypnotherapy.

There are many examples from ancient history thought to be early forms of what we would refer to now as hypnosis from many different cultures, including ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, India and Australia.
In the 1700’s a man called Franz Mesmer (1734 - 1815) had a theory that the human body could be affected by the planets and a ‘cosmic fluid’. He started to work with magnets to create a magnetic field on the body to affect this invisible fluid within the body to cause healing when his subjects were in a trance like state. This became known as “animal magnetism”. He worked with the theory of magnetism for many years, but was exiled in the end when a report was commissioned by King Louis XVI of France which showed that the fluid did not exist and that it was due to “individual imagination”. After this report was published Mesmer lived the last three decades of his life in relative seclusion.
Further on in the 1840’s a British born doctor called Dr James Braid (1795 - 1860) who initially based his practice on the ideas of Mesmer eventually realised it was the trance like state that the subject went into that   allowed the suggestions to be taken on board and that held the healing properties. Due to his unfortunate naming of the method which he called ‘hypnosis’ deriving from the Greek God of sleep ‘Hypnos’ people mistook the trance like state as being put to sleep and this misconception is still quite common amongst some people even today.
The next big advances were from a French doctor called Liebeault (1823 – 1904) who provided free treatment for the poor and had some notable successes. One particular patient who was successfully cured of sciatica who was also a patient of another doctor called Bernheim who had been working with this particular individual for...


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