Hypnosis: From Mesmer to Freud Essay

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Describe the physical and psychological aspects of hypnosis
In order to get a clear understanding of what hypnosis is we will first look at the history of hypnosis and the different concepts which have emerged over the years from as early as the 1700’s to modern day. We will start from the grandfather of hypnosis, Franz Anton Mesmer (1766) continuing onto others such as Abbe Faria (1814), Freud (1873).
Once having looked at the history of hypnosis we will go onto looking at the physical and psychological aspects of hypnosis giving reference to Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta waves, the four different brain waves indicating an individual’s mental state, which brain wave comes into play during hypnosis and its relevance. It will also be discussed the condition the physical body needs to be in for the best results of hypnosis and the role of relaxation in getting the body to the right physical condition.
The physical and psychological aspects of hypnosis will be looked at in reference to, the different brain waves the mind journeys between and the brain waves, which come into play during a state of hypnosis. There will also be reference to the discovery made by Edmond Jacobson (1929) on the effects of muscle contraction between his patients and the benefits of relaxation leading to the role of relaxation in hypnotherapy today and the use of Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique.
It will be shown that there is no clear cut answer for what hypnosis is? But in order for hypnosis to take place it is important that the physical and psychological state of an individual is in the right state to give access to the subconscious and relaxation does have a big role in helping the client to achieve this state.
What is Hypnosis?
Throughout the centuries there have been many concepts of hypnosis dating all the way back to the 1700’s. In order to come to an accurate understanding of what hypnosis is, it is important to have an understanding of its history first. The earliest notion in the 1700’s came from Franz Anton Mesmer (1766) who eventually became known as the grandfather of hypnosis and came to develop the theory of animal magnetism. Mesmer (1766) believed that every human being had a cosmic fluid flowing through their body and ill health was the result of the disturbance of this flow in the body. Mesmer (1766) believed that his own body was what he called ‘animal type’ of magnet and that he could use his own body to block a patient’s flow of fluid helping them to heal from their illness. His belief of the power of his own body came after he witnessed an exorcism by a priest. Unlike the priest, he did not believe that people were possessed. His theory of animal magnetism stemmed from his belief that the metal crucifix the priest used for his exorcisms magnetised people. It was Marquis de Puysegur (1784) who was brave enough to reject Mesmer’s theories on magnetic fluid and came to soon realise that he was able to communicate with people in hypnosis asking questions and getting replies from his patients.
The next development, which we see in hypnosis and mimics our understanding of hypnosis today came from the 1800’s by Abbe Faria (1814). He believed that Mesmer’s success of healing through his theory of animal magnetism was in fact due to suggestions put forward by the practitioner.
As time progressed more people began investing an interest in hypnosis and applying them to different situations. Dr James Esdaile (1845) began using hypnosis in his operations in India but it was Dr John Elliotson (1838) who bravely went on to demonstrate the use of hypnosis to British Medicine where his theories were not welcomed and were instead rejected.
While Sigmund Freud (1873) invested a brief interest in hypnosis where he came to believe that humans have powerful hidden mental processes and at a later stage it was Pierre Janet’s discovery of the benefits of relaxation on the hypnosis process which brought about the application of relaxation