History of Hypnotherapy

The History of Hypnotherapy

Dr David Postlethwaite all Issues helped with just 1 session, 30+ years’ experience

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The history of hypnotherapy goes back to the late 1700’s when Franz

History of Hypnotherapy

Franz Mesmer

Mesmer, a German physician, developed mesmerism, he believed that many conditions could be cured using the balance of magnetic power in our body, using animal magnetism. He quickly discovered, some say by accident that there was no connection between magnetism and the sometimes-miraculous cures seen in his patients.

The first milestone in the history of hypnotherapy happened quite quickly. The idea of animal magnetism was completely rejected a decade later as it had no scientific basis. However, many doctors and scientists were fascinated by the fact that Mesmer did unexplainably cure many symptoms of his patients. One of the most notable scientists that followed Mesmer was a Scottish ophthalmologist, James Braid, and it was he who gave it the name ‘hypnosis. It originated from the Greek word for ‘sleep’. Modern scientists believe that hypnosis is not related to sleep but one thing hypnosis and sleep have in common is the reduction in conscious brain activity and the enhancement of our external focus.

The history of hypnotherapy in psychotherapy In the mid- 1800’s, an Austrian physician, Josef Breuer’s work was recognised for his treatment of Anna O who suffered hysteria. Breuer gave suggestions under hypnosis to trigger Anna’s childhood memories and emotions, which resulted in the almost instant reduction of her symptoms.

When looking at the history of hypnotherapy a major development was Breuer and his influence on Sigmund Freud. Through the use of hypnosis, Freud famously discovered our unconscious process, this was a significant step in the history of hypnotherapy and especially in psychoanalysis. Freud made good use of hypnosis, in conjunction with free association that he encouraged his clients to talk freely and the clinician analyses their deep psychology. Later, in the mid 1900’s, Melanie Kline, developed her object relation theory, she claimed that Freud became too authoritative in hypnosis, which hindered his hypnosis results.

When writing about the history of hypnotherapy it is impossible to ignore the most prominent figure in modern hypnosis is American psychiatrist, Milton Erickson. Erickson was a master of using language creatively in order to reach his patients’ unconscious. What was important in his approach was that he was not interested in identifying the cause of the symptoms, but rather focussing on the solution. Strangely many hypnotherapists today who claim themselves to be ‘Ericksonian’ hypnotherapists totally ignore his teachings and subject their clients to numerous unnecessary sessions looking for causes.  Like Erickson I believe it is not necessary to identify causes but rather to alleviate symptoms, therefore most clients I see, I only have to see once. He made outstanding clinical successes, and his methods were called Ericksonian hypnosis, which has been mimicked in other contemporary approaches such as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

People who volunteer for stage hypnosis are doing so because they tend to have a desire to get attention or entertain people. The hypnotist’s suggestions make it legitimate to fulfil their desires. Which is why they can be asked to perform silly tricks, such as becoming a chicken or barking like a dog..

It is my belief that a similar thing is happening in clinical hypnotherapy, I use suggestions to meet my client’s desires. For example, if a client wants to improve their self-esteem, suggestions could include the words that can enhance it. Or perhaps if my client wants to feel more confident, suggestions might include the words that can give them more confidence or words associated with their previous good performance. In order to maximise the effects of suggestions, induction is necessary, and this is done using deep relaxation. The more relaxed you are, the more power my words can have.

Speaking from my own clinical and personal experience of hypnosis and the history of hypnotherapy, I cannot help but notice the power of language. The language I use significantly affects the way I feel, however I find not many of my clients know what kind of words make them feel good, relaxed, and so on. The language we use shapes our perceptions. For example, my studies have found that cognitive reframing is one of the most useful skills a competent hypnotherapist can employ. When choosing a hypnotherapist it is very important that you find a reputable and qualified therapist who is a member of and governed by the ethics ad standards of the International Hypnotherapy Association.

All issues can be easily helped using just one session, visit me in my Gateshead consulting room only £95 absolutely no hidden extra charges.

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