Video: History of hypnosis [full episode]

Hypnosis has a long and fascinating history. This video brings forth many current experts in the field highlighting how hypnosis was brought into the 20th century and how helpful it can be.

Hypnosis anesthesia before ether

While  James Braid was making quantum leaps with hypnosis, another Scottish doctor, Dr. James Esdaile, was experimenting and gaining permanent recognition in the history of hypnosis. Stationed in  Hoogly, India, James Esdaile used hypnosis in surgery with astounding  results; and even today many would say that Dr. Esdaile’s work with  applied hypnosis almost borders on the fantastic.

James Esdaile  submitted reports at the end of 1846 indicating that Dr. Esdaile had  performed several thousand minor operations and about 300 major  ones, including 19 amputations, all painlessly.

Due mostly to  the removal of post-operative shock through hypnosis, James Esdaile cut the  50% mortality rate of that time down to less than 8%! (One book  even reported less than 5%.) The Medical Association actually  accepted Esdaile’s report, and Dr. Esdaile was assigned to the Calcutta  hospital to continue “mesmeristic” operations. (more)

By: Paul Gustafson

Bringing hypnosis into 20th century

Milton Hyland Erickson, (5 December 1901 in Aurum, Nevada – 25 March 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona) was an American psychiatrist specializing in medical hypnosis and family therapy.

He was founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychopathological Association.

He is noted for his approach to the unconscious mind as creative and solution-generating. He is also noted for influencing brief therapy, strategic family therapy, family systems therapy, solution focused brief therapy, and neuro-linguistic programming. (more)

By: Paul Gustafson

Fascinating hypnosis history

Descriptions of the hypnotic process going back 6000 years. During the past 200 years, hypnosis became more formalized but had to battle for mainstream acceptance against organized religion and medical science.

Here is a time line listing of some of the most significant leader in the field involved in the advancement of hypnosis as a legitimate adjunct modality:

Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) The Austrian physician is commonly referred to as the father of Hypnosis. His technique at the time was called animal magnetism which he claimed involved the individual’s psychic and electromagnetic energies.

Even though his work was shunned by the medical community at the time, it was Mesmer who was responsible for spreading the word of the soon to be called hypnosis to the newly settled United States. Now you know where the term ‘to become mesmerized’ originated.

In 1784 the French Academy of Sciences led by Benjamin Franklin were commissioned to evaluate Mesmer. They concluded that he was not the one doing the healing but that his patients were self-healing. They said that the patient’s imagination was enhanced with Mesmer’s technique empowering them to become completely self-healed.

On the surface it seemed that Mesmer was labeled a failure. Actually, the commission proved what we have all come to learn about the true nature of hypnosis; all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. As a hypnotist, I not only teach individuals to independently descend to a powerful level of thought but I also supply them with positive words, images and metaphors.

The result is new patterns, values and beliefs supporting the client’s goals. True power always resides within the client; the hypnotist is merely the facilitator.

James Braid (1795-1860) was an English physician who coined the name ‘hypnosis’ which is a Greek derivative for sleep. Braid soon realized that hypnosis was not sleep at all and unsuccessfully tried to change the name to ‘monoeidism’.

James EsDaile (1805-1859) was the surgeon who successfully performed 345 major operations using only hypnosis as the anesthetic. Soon after his dramatic research was published ether was discovered replacing the need for hypno-anesthesia.

Jean Martin Charcot (1825 –1893) was a French neurologist who labeled the three stages of hypnosis as lethargy, catalepsy and somnambulism.

Pierre Janet (1845-1947) was a French neurologist who advanced the use of hypnosis for the therapeutic value of relaxation and healing. He was in the minority of those who used hypnosis during the growing popularity of psychoanalytic therapy.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) claimed to not prefer hypnosis because he thought he couldn’t hypnotize patients deep enough but it was also commonly known that he was just not that good at it. Freud’s shunning of hypnosis slowed its acceptance by the medical community.

Milton Erickson (1932-1974) was an Arizona psychiatrist who is commonly referred to as the father of modern hypnosis. He was the master of indirect hypnotic suggestion. He played a significant role in the 1958 acceptance of hypnosis by the American Medical Association.

By: Paul Gustafson RN CH