The earliest evidence of the use of hypnosis was seen being used by "shamans" who we're also known as "whitch doctors" or "healers". In order for shamans to deliver the healing process they would ensure that they were strongly focused and have heightened concentration. They would then take themselves on a downward journey into a "lower world" where they would then use powerful visualisations and suggestion in order to will a healing for a sick person. Following from that, in the 1700's, Franz Anton Mesmer developed this idea further and concluded with the theory of "animal magnetism". Mesmer believed that there was an astrological influence upon human health and that this influence was presented in the form of "cosmic fluid". Mesmer felt that he could magnetise inanimate objects such as magnets and transfer this then onto patients which would then cure them. Mesmer then developed from magnets, to electrodes, and then onto hands. A follower of Mesmer then developed his theories further and through an experiment that he was conducting he noticed that some of his patients were entering a deep sleep like state in which they could still communicate and be responsive to suggestions made to them. At this point the hypnotic trance was discovered, but had not actually been identified as this yet. In the mid 1800's the hypnotic trance was used by John Elliotson to suggest a disassociation from, and therefore relieve pain, and with this state surgical operations were being performed without any pain being felt by the patient. In the late 1800's James Braid labelled the trance state as "hypnosis", which is the Greek word meaning sleep. From this Jean Martin Charcot concluded that hypnosis was a state of hysteria and concluded that is was an abnormal neurological activity. However, in France, Auguste Ambroise Leibeault and Hippolyte Berhein were the first people to explain hypnosis as a "normal" state. Hypnosis then began to be studied further and more in depth. From these studies the conclusions were explaining that hypnosis could then be explained as a rational process and no longer mysterious or supernatural. Once interest then began to increase around hypnosis, Freud began to look at hypnosis and recognised the unconscious part of the brain as an important part of the process. From 1950 onwards hypnosis was being increasingly recognised as a form of therapy and is now much more widely accepted as "a highly effective tool for modifying behaviour and healing".
It is now known that the hypnotic state is natural for all human beings and is a treatment which helps to give direction, assistance and motivation. A significant, and I feel important, part of an explanation of what hypnosis is, is that in an hypnotic state the client is still in control, to some level, and for that reason can not be made to do anything that they do not wish or that goes against their morals. It also means that a client can not get stuck in an hypnotic state and can bring themselves out of it at any stage should they wish to. Hypnosis is a state of mind. Most people have all been in a hypnotic state at some point. However, In order for a therapist to get a client to this state there are a set of techniques that will be used. These techniques will enhance the clients concentration and by flowing through the different levels of consciousness will eventually get to a stage at which the therapist will be able to access the sub-conscious mind of the client. By accessing the sub-conscious mind the client will have an increased responsiveness to suggestions that the therapist will make to them. By doing this the client can be empowered to make beneficial, positive changes, which they may wish to achieve, in their thought patterns, behaviours or psychological state of mind. The sub-conscious mind is where our