Hypnosis (Psychology Revivals)
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Hypnosis (Psychology Revivals)

A Guide for Patients and Practitioners

David Waxman

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  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Hypnosis (Psychology Revivals)

A Guide for Patients and Practitioners

David Waxman

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Über dieses Buch

Hypnosis is now being used by doctors, dentists and therapists to help cure or relieve a wide range of illnesses, personality problems and emotional and psychological conditions.

It has been used to treat phobias and many nervous symptoms; the help people give up smoking, alcohol and drugs; to overcome shyness, stammering, uncontrollable blushing, nail biting and certain allergies; to curb weight problems (both obesity and anorexia); to help overcome impotence, frigidity and other sexual difficulties; in dentistry as a substitute to local anaesthetics and to counter 'needle-phobia', tooth-grinding and excessive salivation; to alleviate pain and insomnia; to achieve relaxation in pregnancy and childbirth; and also in the treatment of behaviour problems and in crime detection.

Originally published in 1981, in this book, the late Dr David Waxman – a medically qualified therapist who had practised hypnosis for over twenty years at the time of writing and who had lectured on the subject throughout the world – explains exactly what hypnosis is; gives a concise history of its practice; discusses the scientific theories about it and how it is used today; and describes what it can and cannot do and when and how it is best used.

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Information

Verlag
Routledge
Jahr
2014
ISBN
9781317661382
Auflage
1
1
What Hypnosis Was
Image
From the beginnings of the human race, man has endeavoured to impose his will and strength upon his fellow for good or for evil. From the dawn of history, with the use of witchcraft or of wizardry, of revelation through supernatural agencies, with the power of the word or the use of suggestion, he has sought to influence the destiny of others. From the accidental discovery of a natural phenomenon, through magical passes and magnetic fluids have emerged the refined techniques of the twentieth century which produce the state known as hypnosis.
The Birth of a Theory
Where, when or how it originated is unknown. Many biblical wonders are today attributed to the hypnotic abilities of the miracle worker, the prophet or the saint. Through the sleep temples of ancient Egypt and the healing shrines of the Greek god Asclepius, it became evident that it was possible for one man to influence the mind and the body of another.
One of the most outstanding physicians of early history was Hippocrates. Known as the ‘father of medicine’, he was born on the island of Cos and lived from 460 to 377 BC. He travelled through Greece practising and teaching the art of healing. He was the author of numerous medical works and maintained that our pleasures as well as our sorrows—that is, our feelings or emotions—arise from the brain. Madness and delusions, Hippocrates concluded, dread and fear, sleeplessness and anxieties as well as deeds which are contrary to habit, all derive from the brain. Here was the seat of disease and the centre which controlled the entire body.
Some 500 years later, another Greek physician, Galen of Pergamum (AD 129–199), who was second only to Hippocrates as one of the greatest medical authorities of antiquity, elaborated on this idea and discussed the influence of the body and the mind upon each other. He conceived the notion of some heavenly or ethereal fluid as a bridge between the two, so that physical ailments could derive from mental problems and physical or organic illness could cause mental disturbance, through the flow of this fluid. So gradually unfolded the idea of emotional illness and the hope that if this ethereal fluid could be harnessed, then man could indeed influence the course of disease.
The concept of such a fluid and the idea of a bridge between the body and the mind continued to occupy the thoughts of scientists and philosophers. It was additionally held that this fluid accounted for the transmission of light, heat and impulses of the nervous system as well as of magnetism.
Then, in the sixteenth century, a Swiss physician named Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, otherwise known as Paracelsus, revolutionized most of the theories of medicine held at the time. Pursuing the ideas of the ancient Greeks, he developed the notion that the heavenly bodies could affect humans and affect the course of disease. A hundred years later, a German scholar, Athanasius Kirchir, proposed that some natural power which he called animal magnetism was also involved. The great British philosopher and scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, also believed in animal magnetism and by virtue of his authority established considerable authenticity for the idea.
Thus, through the stars, through this indefinable ethereal fluid and through the activity of certain magnetic forces, through the mind to the body, men could even influence each other.
The inter-relationship between body and mind was not a preoccupation limited to the thinkers and physicians and philosophers of Europe alone, however. In Africa, Asia and the East the healing arts were practised by the witchdoctor, the yogi, the fakir, and the magi, each extolling the supernatural powers of healing of his own particular skill, each claiming special powers of modifying human responses and influencing the action and reaction between one man and another.
Throughout the Middle Ages the use of suggestion as a healing art was regarded as sacrilegious in Western Christian civilization. Miracle cures were the result of religious faith and were often considered to be effected exclusively through sacred relics or statuary or shrines endowed with the special powers of healing.
Animal Magnetism
In 1734, Franz Anton Mesmer (plate 2) was born in the small village of Iznang near Lake Constance. The son of a poor forester, little did his parents know that in later years he was to formulate the theory which was to take him to the very height of fame and fortune, and that his name was to add a new word and a new dimension within the international world of healing. Young Mesmer first trained for the priesthood, but later changed his mind and was accepted at the University of Vienna as a student of law. Some time after this, however, he again changed course. He transferred to medicine and obtained his degree in 1766 at the age of thirty-two, rather later in life than the average doctor. But, he had the background of a sound and worldly training. He became a highly reputable physician and was ever interested in the search for newer and more effective methods of treating his patients. During his studies he had become involved in discussions with a professor of astronomy and Jesuit ecclesiastic, Father Maximilian Hell. This man had treated the sick by attaching specially shaped magnetized plates to the affected parts of the body, and had succeeded in relieving them of their ills.
Mesmer, with a broadness of vision and a knowledge of the sciences as they were accepted at that time, combined the theories of astronomy with Newton’s recently pronounced laws of gravity to advance an idea of animal gravitation, which was the natural power known as animal magnetism.
As a result, in 1776, he wrote a dissertation on The Influence of the Planets on the Human Body. Subsequently, with the persisting ideas of an ethereal fluid, of animal magnetism and of the work of Father Hell, he maintained that these forces could be harnessed to restore the harmonious balance of bodily functions and for the relief of human suffering.
Mesmer had made his great discovery when he was treating a young lady named Fraulein Oesterline who for several years had been suffering from a ‘convulsive malady’ together with ‘the most cruel toothache and earache followed by delirium, rage, vomiting and swooning’. He prescribed for her the continuous use of ‘chalybeates’, which were presumably some form of iron tonic. He prevailed upon Father Hell to have made for him by his craftsmen a number of magnetized pieces of iron which would fit to his patient’s stomach and legs. Miss Oesterline reported strange sensations running down her body and she was relieved of her ailments.
Mesmer deduced from this that it was essential to maintain an equilibrium between the natural magnetic fluid, which, it was asserted, filled all living things, and the magnetic fluid which was thought to fill the universe. Thus in the thrilling days of the great discoveries in gravity, mathematics, electricity, and astronomy, the exploring mind of Franz Anton Mesmer offered his name to that which he genuinely believed to be a scientific and logical explanation of the phenomenon he was able to produce, the phenomenon of animal magnetism.
From the very beginning it was evident in which way the ideas of Mesmer were to evolve. He treated patients by fitting magnets to various parts of the body and was able to effect many wonderful and dramatic cures. As a result, his reputation increased and he prospered greatly. He married the rich widow of a former officer in the Austrian army, one Anna von Bosch (or Posch), and together they established a large circle of wealthy and famous acquaintances. They owned an elegant house in Vienna in which they held lavish parties and gave musical soirĂ©es. The great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote an opera called Bastien et Bastienne, the original performance of which took place in Mesmer’s garden theatre. Magnetism became a cult and Mesmer its high priest.
As a result of his spectacular fame his work was regarded by many more orthodox physicians with considerable cynicism however. He reached the zenith of his glory, but was doomed to downfall. As was the failing of many who followed him, and is even to this day, Mesmer often failed to recognize the real nature of the illness he was treating.
His fate as a physician and magnetizer in Austria was sealed by the eventual outcome of his treatment of Marie-ThĂ©rĂšse Paradis, a pianist who had been ‘blind’ since the age of four. Mesmer had restored her eyesight, the loss of which would today be recognized as an hysterical blindness. (This type of problem is discussed in Chapter 6.) Other physicians were envious of the results and caused doubt as to the credibility of Mesmer’s treatment. Marie-ThĂ©rĂšse’s father, who was a secretary to the Emperor and Empress, was afraid that his daughter’s pension and several other advantages might be forfeited, and his attitude together with the manipulations of Madame Paradis caused the unfortunate girl to relapse into her previous blind state. As a result, a great furore arose. Mesmer was repudiated by the University of Vienna and left the country to settle in Paris in 1778.
In France, Mesmer’s most prominent supporter was Dr Charles d’Eslon, physician to the Count d’Artois who was later to become Charles X. Mesmer soon became the rage of Paris. His clinic was lavishly furnished, thickly carpeted and heavily curtained. The great man himself is reputed to have worn a lilac cloak and to have held an iron rod in his hand. In the centre of his consulting room stood a large vat called a baquet (plate 3), from which projected metal bars. Water and iron filings filled the baquet and his patients sat round it, each grasping one of the iron bars. Mirrors, strategically placed around the room, reflected and concentrated the light and soft music which, said Mesmer, intensified the magnetism, filled the air. In this mysterious and awe-inspiring setting, Dr Mesmer passed around the circle of patients, each in a high state of expectancy, and touched each one with the iron rod. Many then fell about in convulsive movements and described strange and bizarre sensations. After two or three sessions they proclaimed themselves cured of the affliction from which they were reputed to be suffering.
In spite of all which is now regarded as theatrical and meaningless ritual, Mesmer firmly believed that he was in fact harnessing this ethereal force and that he could cause it to flow through his body, to his fingers and through the iron rods to the bodies of his patients, to restore in them the natural balance of health with the universe. Later he maintained that he could achieve such a balance personally and without the aid of the magnetic rods.
Once again, however, Mesmer’s great healing art caused much enmity amongst his contemporary physicians and in 1784 King Louis XVI set up a Royal Commission to investigate animal magnetism. Amongst its members was the statesman, scientist, writer, and newly accredited Ambassador of the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin; Dr Joseph Guillotin, the inventor of the notorious beheading instrument used in France; and Antoine Lavoisier, scientist and discoverer of oxygen. The fact that both Dr Guillotin and Lavoisier were subsequently executed by the very instrument which bears the name of the inventor, was in no way a reflection of their work on this Commission. Nevertheless, the great and important standing of these people alone was sufficient proof of the impact which magnetism or mesmerism had on the events of the time. The Commission concluded that the cures could be explained only by the imagination and imitation of the subject. Unfortunately no report was made of the positive results of Mesmer’s work or of the psychological implications of the illnesses and the results of his treatment. Unfortunately too, the Commission also failed to comprehend that the cures were genuine enough even if there appeared to be no physical or organic origin to the illness. Mesmer stood condemned and soon afterwards, refusing to renounce his beliefs, he was forced to retire. He fled through Europe, returned to Paris for a brief spell and then moved to Meersburg on Lake Constance where he died on 5th March 1815. He left behind a name, a legend and a charisma which still haunts the consulting rooms of legitimate psychotherapy.
One of Mesmer’s disciples was the Marquis Chastenet de PuysĂ©gur. It was PuysĂ©gur who discovered somnambulism, a new dimension of magnetism, a state in which subjects could open their eyes and talk and obey instructions and yet remain ‘magnetized’. The somnambulistic subjects were thought to be endowed with particular powers of prophesy and of diagnosis and their employment for the latter purposes became a fashionable and profitable venture. Under the influence of PuysĂ©gur, the unlimited enthusiasm of the magnetizer again earned the antagonism of orthodox medicine.
The ideas of Mesmer and his contemporaries spread to the United States and throughout the western world. The earliest record of the use of animal magnetism in Britain is of J.B. de Mainauduc, a pupil of Charles d’Eslon who lectured on the subject in 1788 in London and in the West of England. He was greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm but hardly with the same fervour which met the disciples of Mesmer in France.
Later, in 1829, Richard Chenevix, a Fellow of the Royal Society, having learned his skills from a widely renowned priest, the Abbé di Faria, demonstrated his technique to a number of English physicians, amongst them one John Elliotson (plate 4).
Chenevix had said, ‘in the whole domain of human arguments, no art or science rests upon experiments more numerous, more positive or more easily ascertained. To me (and before many years the opinion must be universal) the most extraordinary event in the whole history of human science is that MESMERISM even could be doubted’.
Born in 1786, Elliotson was the son of a prosperous druggist in South London. He went to Edinburgh University, graduated in 1810 and continued his studies at Jesus College, Cambridge. He was a contemporary of the poet Keats. After qualifying as a physician, he toured the Continental schools and then started a practice in London in The Borough near the united hospitals of Guy’s and St Thomas’s. At that time the teaching of medicine was organized through private enterprise. Any physician with sufficient capital could open his own lecture theatre, conduct his own course and be sure of a regular attendance. Elliotson was appointed assistant physician at St Thomas’s Hospital on 17th October 1817, and in 1823 he was appointed full physician but was not allowed to lecture. In fact, no physicians of St Thomas’s were allowed to do so at that time, but another factor was that he had specialized in medical jurisprudence which was a new science not then taught at the United Hospitals. His lectures were vivid and popular with students but unpopular with Sir Astley Cooper who owned the lecture theatre. Later, however, he managed to get the clause in his appointment which barred him from lecturing, rescinded.
Elliotson was nevertheless angered and complained to the Board. It is reported that the Grand Committee of St Thomas’s Hospital regretted that he had not written ‘in language more temperate and decorous’. This indicates the character of the man. He subsequently delivered his lectures in a private medical school in Southwark and the more popular they became the more did he gain the disfavour of the establishment within St Thomas’s.
Some time later, he was to become one of the champions of a new venture—the New University College, the University in London which was to be the stronghold of non-denominational education. That ‘godless institution of Gower Street’, as it was called, was eventually established and the foundation stone was laid in 1827. Elliotson was elected Professor of Medicine in 1831. In 1834 the North London Hospital was opened and Elliotson was appointed physician. In 1837 it was to become University College Hospital and largely through Elliotson’s efforts, the study of medicine had moved to university level. Elliotson believed that students should be taught at the bedside rather than by serving a five-year apprenticeship to an older doctor. It should be remembered that he was practising at a time when physicians treated their patients by bleeding, with leeches and with purging. Surgeons operated without anaesthesia and Joseph Lister had not yet been heard of. Pasteur was just ten years old and psychological medicine was still in its infancy. At this point Elliotson saw the demonstration of Chenevix and later met a pupil of Mesmer himself, the Baron Dupotet. He was inspired to explore for himself, the mysteries of the human mind.
In those years, Elliotson was making medical history. He was one of the first to use the stethoscope and taught the proper manner in which to examine the chest. He made many discoveries and valuable observations on the use of drugs. He gave the highly prestigious Lumleian lectures at the Royal College of Physicians in 1829 on ‘The Art of Distinguishing Various Diseases of the Heart’, and his notes on the ‘Theory and Practice of Medicine’ were a great contribution to treatment. But he was restless and highly industrious and his modern innovations in medicine, in attire and in behaviour resulted in a certain lack of popularity amongst his colleagues. Perhaps because of this, and his dark and handsome appearance, he was reported to be a Jew, not a very popular distinction at that time.
He was influenced by the theories of Franz Joseph Gall, a Viennese physician, who was the founder of the study of phrenology in which it was claimed that mental development could be measured by examination of the skull. Gall was a great student of the mind and maintained that emotions acted independently of the will and that this often resulted in physical effects. We may read in this the anticipation of the discovery of the unconscious mind. The later acce...

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Original Copyright Page
  6. Dedication
  7. Table of Contents
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Preface
  10. List of Illustrations
  11. 1 WHAT HYPNOSIS WAS
  12. 2 WHAT HYPNOSIS IS
  13. 3 WHAT HYPNOSIS DOES
  14. 4 HOW HYPNOSIS BEGINS
  15. 5 HOW TO USE HYPNOSIS
  16. 6 WHEN TO USE HYPNOSIS
  17. 7 OTHER USES OF HYPNOSIS
  18. 8 HYPNOSIS AND THE LAW
  19. Appendix: Addresses
  20. Bibliography
  21. Index