Hypnotism Essay Research Paper

Hypnotism Essay, Research Paper

“You are completely relaxed… there is a wonderful warm feeling spreading

through your body…. you have a great desire to sleep… your eyelids are

getting heavy… heavier… and heavier… you hardly can keep them open

any longer… now they are closed… with every word I am saying, you are

getting sleepier…. and sleepier…. you are going to SLEEP… deep, sound

sleep… deeper and deeper asleep… SLEEP!”

You just read the exact words of a hypnotist, using the classical technique

of verbal suggestion. His subject is sound asleep.

Is this a science – or just a fascinating fraud, a little frightening? Think . . .

What is hypnotism?

According to the Webster’s New International Dictionary: “The induction

of a state resembling sleep or somnambulism, which is called hypnosis or

hypnotic sleep; also loosely – the induced state of hypnosis…” “There are

degrees of hypnosis which have been characterized as lethargic, cataleptic

and somnambulistic hypnosis and, again, simply as light and heavy hypnotic

sleep, with corresponding variations in suggestibility.”



In order to gain a better understanding of this greatly misunderstood

science, remember these words: Not witchcraft, not black magic, just -

on of man’s eternal search for a better understanding of his environment

and himself, science.

Because hypnosis is induced by verbal suggestion, the history of hypnotism

dates back to the early stages of lingual communication in precivilized

society. It is a great loss to modern science that hypnotism has been

studied only in the last 200 years in any organized form.

One of the early practitioners in the eighteen century was Franz Anton

Mesmer and his technique became known as “Mesmerism”, “magnetism”

or “animal magnetism.” – because he attributed his results to magnets

placed at various parts of the human body. It is almost unthinkable, but this

tremendous misconception prevails even today.

The word “hypnotism” originated from the Greek “hypnos”, meaning

sleep, transplanted into its present day meaning by the nineteenth century

Scottish doctor, James Braid.

It has been a proven scientific fact for more than 100 years that “hypnosis”

can be induced without sleep (because sleep is a symptom and not the

basic character trait of hypnotism) so, the word itself is a misnomer. The

above state is usually referred to as “waking hypnosis.”



From the viewpoint of induction, hypnotism can be divided into two


1. Hetero-hypnosis, the state of sustained suggestibility is induced by a


2. Auto-hypnosis, the state is self induced.

The results are both the same. Any suggestion that is carried out a period

of time after hypnosis, is known as post-hypnotic suggestion.

The use of hypnosis is extremely wide, ranging from psychoanalysis of

hysteria and nervous disorder – to an anaesthetic in dentistry, surgery and

childbirth. At times, it has been used as a pain killer in WW-II when drugs

were not available. On the average, about twenty-five people out of a

hundred are highly susceptible to suggestion – meaning that this

percentage is very easily hypnotized. Almost all children belong to this

group. About 50-55% are fairly good subjects, but it takes a longer period

of time to hypnotize them, and the remaining 20-25% may never be

hypnotized. The percentage varies with the personality, technique and

experience of the individual hypnotist. People who can not maintain

focused attention, for whatever reason, can not be hypnotized.


No person can be hypnotized against his or her will and it is generally

accepted by the majority of practitioners that, while under hypnosis, the

subject will not act against his religious beliefs or moral principles. In the

hands of a competent operator, there is absolutely no danger involved in

the use of hypnosis, for the obvious reason that any suggestion that can be

“put in” the subconscious can also be “removed” just as easily. The false,

monster-like image created by the radio, television, movies and

sensation-thirsty newspaper reporters has done a great deal of harm to the

scientific study, development and application of this truly great science . . .



Stage Hypnotism is a unique branch of hypnotism which focuses on

providing theatrical entertainment for money. Stage hypnotists face many

unique challenges that are not encountered in a clinical setting. Timing, pace

of the show, and the entertainment value must be maintained by the

performer to hold the spectator’s attention for the entire duration of the

show. Rigged props and occasional human confederates sprinkled

amongst the spectators are not unknown to stage hypnotists. Generally,

hypnotists preselect participants before the show to speed up the

induction process during the show. The people whom the hypnotist

selects are not plants, they are just the best and most susceptible hypnotic

subjects available from the current group of spectators.

Stage hypnotists walk the very thin line of morality, decency, and fairness.

Unless the hypnotist’s demeanor project the highest respect for the

audience volunteers during the presentation, the stage show can degenerate

into an obscene spectacle of poor taste and psychological abuse. Making

fools of people who are willing to participate in stage experiments is the

despicable act of a scoundrel. To do stage hypnotism requires the highest

ethical level from its practitioners. “Professor” Leitner, the highly respected

German hypnotist provided an excellent early model for a dignified, lecture

type presentation. A more recent notable exponent of a well-executed

stage presentation is Peter Reveen, the Australian stage hypnotist.

Stage hypnotists in the theatre and on television have an enormous

opportunity not only to provide good entertainment but to correct the

public’s perception about hypnotism. Seeing a heavy smoker on the stage

reject, with great disdain, the offered cigarette – is something to behold.

Hypnotism is one of the great non-invasive, drug free medical treatment

methods discovered in the past two hundred years. When hypnotists

correctly apply hypnotic suggestions, the results can be phenomenal. The

possibilities of using the power of hypnotism are limited only by our


In the future, it can be – and it will be – a very useful instrument for the

better understanding of one of the greatest mysteries . . . man himself.

Some of the important people in the

History of Hypnotism.

Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), French physician, lawyer, and

the earliest modern medical hypnotist and researcher in Europe. His name

became synonymous with hypnotism, which was known at the time as

“mesmerism,” “magnetism,” or “animal magnetism.” Mesmer

published his findings in “Schreiben Uber die Magnetike,” mistakenly

attributing the observed results to magnetism created by magnets placed

on various parts of the patient’s body.

Dr. James Braid (1795-1860), Scottish doctor who is probably the best

known early researcher and practitioner of hypnotism in the English

speaking world. He was introduced to the subject by La Fontaine, a

Frenchman, in 1841. It was Braid who coined the phrases “hypnosis” and

“hypnotism” (Hypnos Gr.= sleep) in 1842 to describe the induction

techniques used to create states of increased suggestibility. The terms were

first published in his book “Neurypnology” in 1843. The new labels

became the part of everyday language and quickly replaced the misleading

labels of “Mesmerism,” “magnetism” and “animal magnetism” created by


Dr. John Elliotson (1791-1868), brilliant Scottish physician, Professor of

Medicine, lecturer, researcher and writer. Among many other medical

diagnostic innovations, he introduced the use of stethoscopes in England,

and in 1846 he started publication of the first journal (Zoist) that focussed

strictly on hypnotism.

The Marquis de Puysegur, who early in the nineteenth century identified

three characteristic features of hypnosis. He stated that under hypnosis the

subject will:

1. Focus on the hypnotist,

2. Accept the hypnotist suggestions and

(if suggested by the hypnotist),

3. Experience temporary amnesia for a suggested time period.

(Today it is known as “posthypnotic amnesia.”)

Dr. Ambroise-Auguste Liebeault (1823-), French physician known as

the “Father of modern hypnotism.” A brilliant communicator, who

developed a quick induction method during his practice and also

performed significant research into experimental methods of hypnosis.

Dr. James Martin Charcot (1825-1893), eminent French neurologist

who gained international fame for innovative diagnostic techniques and

procedures. He was probably the best known physician to research the

subject of hypnotism, in France, in the 19th century.

Dr. Josef Breuer, physician and medical hypnosis researcher who

became the catalyst to the application of hypnosis to psychoanalysis and

psychotherapy. Freud had investigated the work of Breuer, which lead to

the application of an “indirect” form of hypnosis by Freud in his

psychoanalytic procedures and a joint publication of a book with Breuer in

1895, titled Studien uber Hysterie, which is still studied by scholars of

modern psychiatry.

Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), physician and world renown as the

“father of psychoanalysis” was a very poor hypnotist. Probably, Freud’s

“free association” and “dream interpretation” techniques were substitutes

for his inability to create the state of heightened suggestibility in his patients,

which often can be attained through hypnosis. He was a most complex

man, full of contradictions who created a new branch of medical science

called, “psychoanalysis.”

Interested individuals might also wish to research the works of Dr.

Hippolite Bernhiem, Dr. James Esdalie, Dr. Eugene Azam, Emile Coue

and several other sources for relate

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