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The History of hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

The phenomenon of hypnosis has been described in various forms from early biblical days.

Oh but first here's a interesting fact about hypnotherapy:

It is not a form of mind control, despite what some people may believe. In fact, hypnosis works by helping individuals tap into their own inner resources and abilities. The hypnotherapist (that's me) simply serves as a guide, helping the individual achieve a state of deep relaxation and focus, and providing positive suggestions and affirmations. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not to accept these suggestions, and they cannot be forced to do anything against their will while in a state of hypnosis. This is why hypnosis is often used as a tool for self-improvement and personal growth, rather than as a means of controlling others.

Now back to my original point...

If you didnt get a chance to read my last post....(click here to check it out "What is Hypnotherapy?"). Hypnosis is a state of altered consciousness that has been used for thousands of years for therapeutic and ritualistic purposes. The exact origins of hypnosis are not clear, but there is evidence that it has been used in various forms across many cultures throughout history.

The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used trance-like states for healing and religious purposes. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used hypnosis as a form of therapy in his medical practice. In the Middle Ages, hypnosis was used by some healers and mystics to treat a variety of conditions.

However, it was not until the late 18th century that hypnosis began to be recognised as a distinct phenomenon. Franz Mesmer, an Austrian physician, developed a theory of "animal magnetism" and used a technique of magnetic passes to induce a trance-like state in his patients. Mesmer's work had a significant impact on the development of hypnosis and many of his techniques are still used today.

In the 19th century, hypnosis was further developed by James Braid, a Scottish physician, who coined the term "hypnosis" and began to explore its therapeutic applications. Braid's work laid the foundation for modern hypnotherapy and influenced many of the leading figures in the field, including Sigmund Freud.

Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) was also interested in hypnosis, initially using it extensively in his work. He eventually abandoned the practice – for several reasons, not least that he wasn’t very good at it! He favoured psychoanalysis, which involves the patient lying on a couch and the analyst doing a lot of listening. He believed that the evolution of the self was a difficult process of working through stages of sexual development, with repressed memories of traumatic incidents the main cause of psychological problems. This is an interesting idea that has yet to be proved.

Freud’s early rejection of Hypnosis delayed the development of hypnotherapy, turning the focus of psychology away from hypnosis and towards psychoanalysis. However, things picked up in 1930s in America with the publication of Clark Hull’s book, Hypnosis and Suggestibility.

In more recent times, the recognised leading authority on clinical hypnosis was Milton H. Erickson, MD (1901-80), a remarkable man and a highly effective psychotherapist. As a teenager he was stricken with polio and paralysed, but he remobilized himself. It was while paralysed that he had an unusual opportunity to observe people, and he noticed that what people said and what they did were often very different. He became fascinated by human psychology and devised countless innovative and creative ways to heal people. he healed through metaphor, surprise, confusion and humour, as well as hypnosis. A master of ‘indirect hypnosis’, he was able to put a person into a trance without even mentioning the word hypnosis.

It is becoming more and more accepted that an understanding of Hypnosis is essential for the efficient practice of every type of psychotherapy. Erickson’s approach and its derivatives are without question the most effective techniques.

Over the years hypnosis has gained ground and respectability within the medical profession. Although hypnosis and medicine are not the same, they are now acknowledged as being related, and it is only a matter of time before hypnosis becomes a mainstream practice, as acceptable to the general public as a visit to the dentist.

In the 20th century, hypnosis continued to be used for a variety of purposes, including pain management, anxiety relief, and smoking cessation. It was also used by stage hypnotists for entertainment purposes. In the 1950s, the American Medical Association recognised hypnosis as a valid medical treatment and it began to gain acceptance as a legitimate therapy.

Today, hypnosis is widely used by therapists and healthcare professionals as a tool for helping people overcome a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, phobias, sports performance, insomnia, weight-loss, self-confidence and addiction. It continues to be a subject of fascination and debate, with ongoing research exploring its mechanisms and potential applications.


Hypnosis vs Hypnotherapy


Hypnosis is a state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility, often induced by a trained professional, known as a hypnotist. During hypnosis, a person becomes more receptive to suggestions and can enter a relaxed and trance-like state, which can be used to help address a range of issues, such as anxiety, phobias, and smoking cessation.


Hypnotherapy on the other hand, is the use of hypnosis as a tool in therapy to address psychological or emotional issues. A hypnotherapist (like myself) will use the hypnotic state to help my client make positive changes in their thoughts, feelings, or behaviours. This can include addressing issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and chronic pain.

While hypnosis can be used for entertainment purposes or self-improvement, hypnotherapy is a therapeutic intervention that requires the guidance of a trained professional.


Hypnosis is a state of focused attention and suggestibility, while hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis as a tool to help address psychological or emotional issues. Both can be beneficial for certain individuals, but it is important to work with a qualified professional to ensure that the techniques are being used in a safe and effective manner.


Here's one more fun fact about hypnotherapy....

Hypnotherapy has been used to help athletes improve their performance. Many famous athletes have used hypnotherapy to help them visualize their success, enhance their focus and concentration, and overcome performance anxiety. Some of the athletes who have used hypnotherapy include Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Muhammad Ali.


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