In spite of dating back to the beginning of civilization, our profession has always been under scrutiny and stigma. This is due to widespread myths and misinformation based on superstitions and ignorance. The state of hypnosis is a fundamentally natural state of being, inherent to the nature of life itself. Ancient texts from Egypt, Greece, Rome and China all depict various forms of practice and use of hypnosis. A 3rd Century CE papyrus discovered in the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes describes hypnotic induction by fixation of attention to the flickering flames of an oil lamp. A practice later coined as “monoideism” by renowned Scottish surgeon and scientist Dr. James Braid in the 19th Century. Hieroglyphic records located in British museums depict Egyptian high priests standing up with arms outstretched in front of subjects holding their head bowed and their eyes closed. Egyptians built sleep temples, where people were brought into a state lasting 7 to 10 days during which priests would whisper suggestions (called prayers at the time) into their ears.
Clinical Recognition of Hypnosis
It is the interest, work, research and experiments of medical doctors that enabled hypnosis to gain recognition as a therapeutic modality. Viennese physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) began to use hypnosis as an efficient approach to address convulsive conditions. British surgeon John Elliotson (1791-1868), a University College Hospital physician, pioneered the use of hypnosis for anaesthesia and pain control in surgery, keeping meticulous records of many successful operations, including amputations. Upon witnessing the level of pain suffered by some of his patients during surgical procedures, Scottish surgeon James Esdaile (1808-1859), influenced by the work of Dr. Elliotson, performed over 300 major and 1000 minor surgeical operations using hypnosis as the only form of anaesthesia and succeeded in rendering his patients entirely analgesic. Dr. Esdaile’s hypnotic anaesthesia was known to be extremely safe. He is considered by many to have been the pioneer in the use of hypnosis for surgical anaesthesia. In France, Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893), Director of Medicine at the famous Saltpêtrière Women’s Asylum, became known for using hypnosis to address neurosis, acquiring the nickname of the “Napoleon of Neurosis.” Charles Richet (1850-1935), a professor of physiology at the University of Paris, conducted a wealth of research and experiments in medical and clinical hypnosis in the 1870s. And most notably, Scottish surgeon and scientist Dr. James Braid (1795-1860) defined the hypnotic state as “neurohypnology” initially, referring to a sleep of the nervous system. The term was later shortened for “neurypnology” before becoming obsolete in the 1880s and being replaced by the word “hypnosis” – itself derived from the Greek “hypnos” which means sleep. In his first book, “Neurypnology” (1843), Dr. Braid describes hypnosis as a state of physical relaxation induced and accompanied by mental concentration.
Clinical Research, Education & Exchange
It is the continuing research, education, collaboration and exchange within the medical field that enabled our profession to slowly acquire greater understanding, recognition and results. Being fully committed to continually expand our education, keep meticulous records and share our findings with one another is a syne qua non of continuing to build our knowledge, experience, expertise and credibility. Operating on our own, we not only prevent our own professional development, but we become vulnerable before the constant scrutiny and stigma that still plagues our profession. The only way for us to stand strong is to stand together, as a profession committed to continuing education, clinical research, development, ethics and professionalism. As a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving professionalism, ethics and excellence in the field of hypnotherapy, the mission of the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association is to provide you with a professional forum for the exchange of ideas, methodologies, occupational research and development. Attending our conferences and continuing to expand our knowledge should be an absolute priority for those of us in practice. We owe it to ourselves, as a profession, and to those we work with, to continue developing and mastering our knowledge in our field as much as we possibly can. Only when we never cease to learn, improve, research and experiment, do we find those gems of understanding that allow us to produce better results we otherwise would have been able to.
Summer Hypnosis Conference
On Saturday, June 20th, the summer conference of the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association will be focused on psychomotor effects. Hosted at the Fairfield Inn in Lake Oswego, and around a succulent luncheon, we will explore the concepts, workings and values of convincers and ideo-motor response.
Those we work with are subject to the same preconceived notions, superstitions and misperceptions as the public at large. The expert use of convincers accomplishes 3 goals: 1 – It acts as a confirmation our subject is at least in a state of medium hypnosis. 2 – It is an effective deepening technique. 3 – And perhaps most importantly, it demonstrates to our subject they have indeed accessed a deeper state than what they are typically familiar with. When you assist the work of physicians with patients who are facing catastrophic illnesses, it is critical to ensure the person realizes they are in a state of hypnosis for results to take place.
Ideo-motor response (IMR) is an effective problem-solving tool that can prove extremely valuable when we are faced with difficult cases. IMR also enables us to preserve depth more efficiently than direct communication with our clients, since asking them to make the effort to speak inevitably emerges them to some degree.
Through our practice, research and development of hypnosis, day after day, client after client, we all fine-tune our methods, tools and techniques, continually uncovering better ways to achieve results. By sharing these findings with one another, we not only become stronger at what we do, we also continue building the reputation of our profession in the public eye. This in turns benefits all of us together.
Need I say more? We owe it to ourselves, our profession and our clients to commit ourselves fully to continuing education, development and excellence. We look forward to seeing you next week! Details and registrations at: ohanw.org
Genvièv Martin-Bernard, President, Oregon Hypnotherapy Association