“What Is Hypnosis?” Describe the Psychological and Physical Aspects of Hypnosis and Discuss the Role of Relaxation in Therapy. Essay

2390 WordsAug 7, 201210 Pages
Hypnosis has had a long and colourful history starting from a more historical perspective with Mesmer who believed that cosmic fluids which influence the health of the body is stored in magnets that could then be transferred to ailing patients. Mesmer later believed himself to be a conduit of such cosmic fluid where he was the source of the restoration of energy flow in the body of the patient; this is what he referred to as animal magnetism. Although the term hypnosis hadn’t yet been coined, he is often named as the grandfather of hypnosis. Braid later disputed this and concluded that the apparent cures were more to do with suggestion than animal magnetism and believed mesmerism (the hypnotic effect) to be a ‘nervous sleep’. From a more contemporary perspective, Erikson’s technique was characterised by use of indirect suggestion and metaphor (Waterfield, 2002). As a result of such a history, a working definition of hypnosis is difficult however a few contenders suggested by Waterfield (2002:xxvi) could be could be: • Nothing but a state of passive suggestibility, with selective attention and reduced planning of function (Bernhiem) • A form of dissociation (Hilgard) • A state of physical relaxation accompanied and induced by mental concentration ("abstraction”) (Braid) Most laymen are likely to have come across hypnosis in relation to the entertainment industry in the form of stage hypnotism, as well as in novels and films where Svengali and Svengali like characters use hypnosis to exert evil influences over others for personal gain. This has lead to many misconceptions about hypnosis so before we discuss the nature of hypnosis further, it might be useful to dispel a few myths. In other words emphasize what hypnosis isn’t and what it can’t do. Hypnosis isn’t a magical state that is induced by an individual upon an unwitting and unwilling other

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