Hypnosis is a mental state in which the client experiences increased attention and concentration and is in a suggestible state. While hypnosis seems like a sleep-like state, it is better explained as a state of focused attention with a vivid imagination and a heightened state of suggestibility. We generally see the person under hypnosis in a sleep mode, but the client is actually in a state of hyper-awareness.
While there are many misconceptions, hypnosis is an effective tool of therapy. Generally, hypnosis gets muddled up with magical and supernatural influences on a person that triggers unknown phenomena. This is because we often watch TV shows and movies drawing mythical beliefs and merging myths and occult practices.
The study of hypnotism started with mind study, and from ancient times, we have endeavoured to find ways to increase our mental capabilities to complete goals and find methods to work on the mental health issues, which were hindering us from having a happy life. Hence we have looked at the process of mind study and suggestion tools in the Ancient world in part one of this series. In the middle ages, we have seen the development of the mind study drawing ancient methods and the current theories, and there were many trials, myths, errors, and successes. We have addressed the hypnotic state as the trance-like state until now; however, as we started to step into the modern time, we learned that the state of hypnosis is not the asleep state but a state of intensified concentration that the client is willing to get undergo with under the observation of a trained hypnotist. And that hypnosis is an effective remedy alongside other medical approaches. We shall look into the details of this development in the Modern era. We shall also look into the mental model and what we mean by the “subconscious” mind.
We have also focused on mysticism and mesmerism in the middle ages as these were processes for the Natural Philosophers to understand mind study; however, the modern understanding of hypnotherapy does not derive from mysticism or mesmerism but a series of empirical scientific data to prove the effectiveness of the methods based on the theories invented by the scientists. We shall have a better understanding of this as we shall follow the timeline of the development of hypnosis in Modern times. Previously we studied that by the end of the renaissance period, Abe Farai, a Portuguese Indian, introduced hypnotism as a form of suggestion therapy, dismissing the number of theories based on mysticism and magnetism. Faria channelled this school of thought via the Nancy School founded by Dr. Ambroise-Auguste Liebeault (1823-1904), who is often called the father of modern hypnosis. The Nancy school held the theory that hypnosis is induced by suggestion and not a manifestation of magnetism hysteria or a mystical psychological phenomenon. He explained the action of the mind on the body in his first book, Induced Sleep and the Analogous States considered mostly from the Viewpoint of the Action of the Mind on the Body, in 1866, and explained the new ways of seeing hypnotherapy. With Liebeault, Professor Hippolyte Bernheim at the Nancy School endeavoured to define “suggestion” more precisely, and he wanted to explain that verbal suggestion is the key to hypnotherapy in his book Suggestive Therapeutics: A Treatise on the Nature and Uses of Hypnotism in 1887.
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