I first qualified as a hypnotherapist over ten years ago, and re-qualified earlier this year. I am now, officially, a Master hypnotherapist. What is she going on about? I hear you say.
Wikipedia defines hypnotherapy as “an alternative curative healing method that is used to create subconscious change in a patient in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviours or feelings. It is undertaken with a subject in hypnosis.” I suppose a psychiatrist would talk about a patient; I would refer to them as a client.
Before you start thinking that I get people running around barking like dogs, or similar, please understand that it is not possible to get people to do anything under hypnosis that they would do otherwise. Those people that behave like that do so because they want to. With the exception of George Estabrooks, who, arguably, practised mind control in some circumstances, rather than hypnotherapy.
I think it’s fair to say that no-one really knows where hypnosis originated – somewhere in India or Ancient Egypt probably. From a Western point of view, we can probably trace it back to the eighteenth century, when Franz Mesmer developed a consistent system with which to hypnotise people. Mesmer was a bit of a showman, and liked to dress up in a cloak, link groups of people together with a rope and play ethereal music. No surprise that hypnosis got a bad a name.
In the nineteenth century, two Scottish surgeons, James Braid and James Esdaile, recognised the benefits of using hypnotherapy prior to surgery and were amongst the first doctors to have hypnosis accepted by their peers. Hypnotherapy didn’t really make it into the mainstream though, at least, not until the First World War. The large number of British soldiers who suffered from what was then called Shell Shock (and would probably have been called PTSD now) required a different approach. A psychiatrist named J A Hadfield developed what he called “hypnoanalysis.” Sadly, it fell from favour at the end of the war in the UK, however, a number of doctors and dentists in the States continued with its use.
The man known as the world’s greatest hypnotherapist was Milton Erickson, an American psychiatrist, was one of these. He specialised in using what are generally known as “persuasive language patterns” to induce trance in his patients. It wasn’t until 1955 that hypnosis was endorsed by the BMA for use in the UK, although now it is possible to find medics who use it alongside more conventional therapies.
Uses of Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy is probably most commonly used for weight loss and to stop smoking, but it can used for pain control, overcoming fears and phobias, stress management, insomnia and overcoming bad habits. It’s been shown to have success in treating a number of other conditions, including:
Acne, eczema, and psoriasis
If you are interested in hypnotherapy treatments, please feel free to contact me.
© Susan Shirley 2016