The Louise Centre NHS Registered
Hypnotherapy Specialists
47 Newmarketstreet Grimsby DN32 7BP
 For Appointments please call 01472 230551 or  07
412 194894
or email info@grimsbyhypnosis.co.uk  

Who can be hypnotized ?

The History of Hypnosis

A detailed history of hypnosis and its application in History, is almost impossible and
it seems to be one of the oldest therapy used by Mankind.

Its origin is lost in time. Many ancient cultures and civilizations knew of hypnosis and used it as a therapeutic tool. Documents from the Ancient Vedas, the oldest of all recorded writing, the Sanskrit scriptures from India, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Persians and Sumerians all show extensive studies in hypnosis, altered states of consciousness and parapsychology. Hypnosis was considered as a cure for many physical and emotional ailments and disorders.

In other words hypnosis is at least more than 6,000 years old; some scholars claim that it could be as old as Prehistory as certain cave paintings show priests apparently in state of trance as well as geometrical designs thought to depict visions seen in an altered level of consciousness.

Although there was some use of Hypnosis by the Druids in Ancient Britain and Gaul, the development and introduction of Hypnosis to the modern world is attributable mostly to India.

Between the 9th and 14th centuries there was a great flowering of civilization in the Mediterranean and Middle East which laid the foundations of modern science as we know it; medical and philosophical knowledge from Ancient India, Greece, Egypt and early Eastern civilizations was revitalized.

During that revival a deep understanding of human psychology was achieved and therapeutic processes such as analysis, altered states of consciousness and hypnosis were used to alleviate emotional distress and sufferings; thus preceding psychotherapy and hypnotherapy as we know them a few centuries.

From the 15th and 16th centuries onwards physicians from many nations developed further and refined the concept of hypnosis and its uses. Even though this knowledge spread throughout the European continent and to the British Isles it remained mostly confined to scientists, physicians and Universities and never quite reached the attention of normal people.

It was "reintroduced" to the West in the 18th century when Western explorers learned the practice of hypnotism in the Far East, again mainly India.

In the 18th century the most influential figure in the development of hypnosis in the west, was Dr Frantz Anton Mesmer, an Austrian physician who was a charismatic and at times controversial personality.

He used magnets and metal frames to perform "passes" over the patient to remove "blockages" (i.e.: the causes of diseases) in the magnetic forces in the body - nowadays we call such forces "life energy, chakra energy or the energy emanating from the soul-self" - and to induce a trance-like state.
He quickly discovered that he could reach equally successful results by passing his hands over the patient which he did for hours at times. 
He named this method "animal magnetism".

He worked in Austria, Switzerland and Germany before settling in France; although he achieved many successes he was soon derided and ostracized by the medical community; it is generally thought that his healing sessions held in front of the public and medical practitioners were such theatrical performances that the excessive showmanship displayed led to his work being ridiculed and his tangible results scorned at.

Another contributing factor to his discredit is believed to be plain and simple jealousy from his medical colleagues as he achieved results with rather unorthodox methods.

However his name survived the passing of time and was immortalized in our vocabulary by the verb "mesmerize", which means to hold someone's attention to the exclusion of anything else so as to create a trance state, in other words to hypnotize that person. Not only his name survived in our vocabulary, so did his method which was named mesmerism.

After Mesmers' death in 1815 one of his disciples, Armand de Puysegur, carried on his work and took it one step further. He discovered that the spoken word and direct commands induced trance easily and noticeably faster than "mesmeric passes" and that a person could be operated upon without pain and an aesthesia when in trance. 

This technique was used for many following decades by surgeons in France: Dr Recamier who performed the first recorded operation without an aesthesia in 1821 and Dr Cloquet, and in England: Dr Elliotson and Dr Parker who was nicknamed "Painless Parker" !.

However the record for surgery under trance belongs to Dr James Esdaile, an English physician, who performed his first operation without anesthetics in India and reached an incredible tally of 300 major operations and a thousand minor operations using hypnosis or mesmerism as it was still called at the time.Soon after, chloroform was discovered and mesmerism dropped out of favor as an anesthetic, it was much faster to inject a patient than induce a state of trance !

Dr James Braid

The next impulse in the history of hypnosis was given by the Scottish optometrist, Dr James Braid who discovered by accident that a person fixating an object could easily reach a trance state without the help of the mesmeric passes advocated by Dr Mesmer. 

In 1841 he published his findings, refuted Mesmer's work and inaccurately named his discovery "hypnotism" based on the Greek word "hypnos" which means "sleep"; it was a total misnomer as hypnosis is not sleep; yet the name remained and mesmerism became hypnotism. 
Another page was turned in the history of hypnosis. 
By the 1870's two schools of hypnosis were created in France, one by Dr Jean-Martin Charcot, in Paris, and the other one in Nancy by Dr Benheim and Dr Liebault.

Further progresses were made in refining the concept of hypnosis however it was not without heated debates and arguments !
Dr Charcot stated that hypnosis could only be the result of physical or neurological stimulation while the Nancy school's view was that hypnosis is a natural state available to everyone using free will.
Present days use of hypnosis follows the latter belief.
Some twenty years later in 1891, the British Medical Association drafted a resolution in favor of the use of hypnosis in medicine but it was not approved until 1955, 64 years later !

Another precursor of modern hypnosis and self development was Dr Emile Coue who, at the end of the 19th century, was a believer in auto-suggestion and in the role of the hypnotist as a facilitator of changes/healing in the client's condition by involving the total participation of the client in the hypnosis process.

His well known self-help statement: "Day by day in every way I am getting better and better", is still used in most self improvement therapies.

Around the same period Sigmund Freud, the father of psycho-analysis, used hypnosis in his early work but soon became disillusioned by the concept. It is believed he did not have the patience necessary for hypnosis and was not a good hypnotist !.

As we know he focused his attention on analysis and free association. In many ways his "defection" was damaging to hypnosis particularly in the context of psychology as it created enduring prejudices and misconceptions which have only started to fade in recent times. 

With the development of psychoanalysis and the use of an aesthetics, the interest in hypnosis somewhat declined; however in the beginning of the 20th century Russian scientists worked on the concept and mechanisms of hypnosis.

The most illustrious one, Ivan P. Pavlov, is best known for his discovery of the conditioned reflex, in spite of the fact he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1904 for his work on digestion!

After World War 1, hypnosis and its therapeutic uses experienced a revival when psychiatrists realized that soldiers suffering traumas (paralysis and amnesia) of a psychological rather than physical origin, were responding well to hypnosis and were rapidly cured.

Despite this renewed interest, European scientists who had previously been to the forefront of the hypnosis saga for centuries devoted much less time and energy to the subject.

Possibly by becoming more accepted and less controversial hypnosis was attracting less passion. Although hypnosis was officially approved as a tool in medicine by the British Medical Association in 1955, most of the furthering in therapeutic hypnosis in the 20th century, took place in the United States. In 1958, only 3 years after the BMA, the American Medical Association AMA recognized the therapeutic use of hypnosis.

There are many therapists, researchers and scientists - far too many to mention here - who made significant contributions to hypnosis. It is widely believed that in the 20th century, the two main figures in the field were Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980) and Dr William J. Bryan Jr (1924-1977). 

M. H. Erickson

M. H. Erickson was a psychotherapist who made intensive use of hypnosis in his work. He was a great and fast observer of people and could rapidly build rapport with his clients. Metaphors, imagery, confusing statements, surprise and humor were part of his arsenal of therapeutic tools. His hypnotic methods, nowadays called ericksonian hypnosis, have, without a doubt, added another dimension to modern hypnotherapy.

From Erickson came two gentlemen by the names of Richard Bandler and John Grinder who formally modeled Erickson's genius in hypnosis on the advice of Gregory Bateson (one of the geniuses of the 20th century). This came to be known as Neuro-Linguistic- Programming, NLP. The purpose of this discipline is to model people of true genius, from hypnosis to business to psychotherapy and even to pistol shooting in the military. Since its beginning in the early 1970's it has grown into a popular and useful addition to our knowledge of hypnosis.

One of the most important developments from NLP is the notion that you can use words to induce a hypnotic trance, and even more importantly produce  change. What came to be known as the Milton Model, Bandler and Grinder modeled Erickson's ability to produce covert trance with just words.

These two very capable gentlemen proved that trance didn't have to be direct, as in the stage hypnotist approach, to be useful and functional.

In the 1990's, hypnosis has come full circle, it has been talked about on radio, shown on most national TV talk shows, from Oprah to Donohue, and been written up in major magazines, from Cosmopolitan to Success Magazine. Almost everybody has a friend or a family member who has gone to a hypnotist for something.

Even medical doctors are sending their patients to a hypnotist for habit control - stop smoking, weight control, stress reduction, as a first choice. This was unheard of 20 years ago, as doctors only referred to a hypnotist last resort.

Hypnosis continues to grow in popularity today, from the corporate boardroom to the private individual and will continue to do so for many, many generations to come.

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Questions and Answers

It is believed that more then 85 % of the population can be hypnotized. The only ones who can not be hypnotized are people with severe mental disability or very young children of the  the age of five. If you are able to follow simple instructions you are hypnotizable, but only if you want to be. The  requirement is your desire for the change you like to achieve and an open mind.

 Q. Does being "under" means sleeping, or being unaware what is happening?

It is just the opposite! You are wide awake. You are more aware under hypnosis. You are experiencing a state of hypersensitivity. Your senses like your sight, hearing, taste, smell, emotions, are more open and awake. It is closer to a state of trancelike day dreaming being deeply relaxed. You will be fixed on the words of the Hypnotherapist and you will be undisturbed by external sounds.

Q. Can I get stuck in hypnosis?

The hypnotic session can be terminated at any time you want. It is your choice to enter the state and you can always choose to leave it. You are not dominated or under control. You are in control

 Q. What about revealing secrets?

You are in control and therefore will not reveal anything that needs to remain secret. You can also not be hypnotized to do something that is against your moral code. 
Q. Is it dangerous?

No, it is similar to sitting on a sofa relaxing. The difference is that the relaxation effect is much deeper and more beneficial.. It is said, that 15 minutes in the state of hypnosis is similar to about four hours of sleep. Hypnosis is not dangerous, but should only be practiced by a properly trained person. To hypnotize is not to difficult, but what is being said to you during hypnosis and how it is being said will make all the difference and is most important. That why it is called Hypno-Therapy

Q. Will I be under control and know what is happening?

Yes, at all times. You do not go out, under or to sleep. You are in a state of increased alertness. You can hear everything that is being said. Nothing happens without your permission. You will be extremely relaxed and your subconscious mind will be open to those positive suggestions you needed, to make the change you wanted.

Q. Will I remember what happens during the sessions?

Yes, you will remember everything.

 Q. Can children be hypnotized?

Yes, from about six years of age. Children can get great benefit from hypnotherapy, provided they can understand what is being said and are intelligent and have a good imagination. For children under the age of six, sleep hypnotherapy can be very successful. 

Q. Isn’t it in some way anti-religious?

No, according to the ‘New Catholic Encyclopedia’, the Catholic Church (the largest Christian organization in the world) states that  ‘hypnotism is licit if used for licit purposes’. Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool, that can help people to awaken the power of their own unconscious mind, for problem solving. Hypnotherapy was accepted by the Catholic Church as a genuine therapy for their members in 1958. 

Q. How many sessions will I need?

That depends to some extend on your own inner desire to resolve your problem. If you do not really want to change and just come for session because a friend or your spouse has send you, you may need more time. Other then that it can not really be said beforehand. However, most clients, will know themselves when they get better. Many times only one or  two sessions are required.