Hypnosis - Overview

How it works Overview


The vast literature available now on hypnosis points to the interest and importance of hypnosis in academic and therapeutic circles.

Franz Anton Mesmer (1734 - 1815), a German physician, is referred to by most as the founder of hypnotism as it is today. He studied the effect of magnetism under father Hell, a Viennese Jesuit (1720 - 1792). Mesmer later believed that he possessed the ability to heal using a theory called animal magnetism. He was later discredited by a Royal Commission in April 1784.

Many of the original textbooks on the subject were written by British professionals, starting in 1843. Neurypnology by James Braid, a British Physician, who wrote the first great book on hypnosis where the word hypnosis was first used.

In 1846, James Esdaile wrote Mesmerism in India. In 1903, British Physician Milne Bramwell wrote the historical and theoretical work on hypnosis, Hypnotism: Its History, Practice and Theory.

By mid twentieth century, the literature in hypnosis was dominated by American practitioners. With the works of Milton H Erickson MD, Time Distortion in Hypnosis (1954) and Practical Application of Medical and Dental Hypnosis (1961) language became the key to the effectiveness of the hypnotic process. This trend continued in the 1960's with Dave Elman's Findings in Hypnosis (1964) the classic British textbook, Medical and Dental Hypnosis and its Clinical Applications by Dr John Hartland (1966). Milton Erickson died in 1980, but left a number of important contributions to the field of indirect strategic therapy, suggestion, unconscious processes and indirect forms of human communication. Examples include Jay Haley's strategic model of therapy, the Erickson-Rossi hypnotic theories, Neuro-linguistic Programming(NLP) and a number of later frameworks such as that of Lankton(1983) and Gilligan(1987).

In addition to Erickson, modern scientific research into hypnosis is often associated with a period of intense experimental research in the late 1950's and early 1960's by notables such as J.P Sutcliffe, T.X. Barber, M.T.Orne, E.R. Hilgard, R.E. Shor, and T.R. Sarbin. The work of these researchers has been particularly influential on the current scientific view of hypnosis, especially as viewed in medicine.

In 1975, the proper hypnotic language was coded by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in their work, Patterns of the Hypnotic Language and Techniques of Milton H Erickson MD Vol. 1 & 2. It was a great leap forward. This coding is taught on most NLP trainings worldwide as the Milton Model. This model has created great hypnotists and hypnotherapists who have a wonderful command of language. It is this mastery of language that makes hypnosis effective as a therapeutic modality.

As a result of the work of the above professionals and researchers and many others not mentioned here, hypnosis enjoys scientifically verified, and accepted technique that can effectively promote and accelerate human change and stimulate desired outcome in behavior.