Hypnosis is often associated with Sigmund Freud, and for more than a century now it has been used as a safe and effective method of analysis and treatment. Hypnotism today has the approval of medical authorities, but this has not always been the case. It is worth taking a look at how hypnosis works and some of its history, to see why it is now widely used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
How Hypnosis Works
Hypnosis uses only natural processes that induce relaxation and help to focus the mind. Your nervous system becomes subdued during a state that can be described as a light form of sleep, while the mind remains conscious at a deeper level. A similar state naturally occurs when someone is sleepwalking.
In the hypnotic state your mind will focus more clearly on a single line of thought, in a similar way today dreaming when you are totally lost in thought and everything else is blocked out.
Hypnosis heightens awareness so your mind becomes more responsive to thoughts and ideas. A qualified practitioner can then stimulate your imagination and change your perceptions.
Brief History of Clinical Hypnosis
Sigmund Freud became aware of the power of hypnosis during his student years in the 1880s. Freud’s tutor, Professor Jean-Martin Charcot, discovered that hypnotic suggestion could actually cause neurological symptoms to appear where they did not previously exist.
Freud himself made a significant breakthrough when he began using hypnosis in his psychoanalysis, and was successful in curing his patients. Hypnosis came into wider use when doctors realized that it can also be used to control pain during surgical procedures and in childbirth. In 1955 hypnosis was approved by the British Medical Council (BMA), which made it an accepted part of medical practice. The BMA also recommended that hypnosis should be part of medical training.
Hypnosis was banned by the Catholic Church until 1956. Then it was given official approval by Pope Pius XII. He permitted the use of hypnosis to reduce pain during childbirth and as a form of anesthesia.
Who Benefits From Hypnosis?
Sigmund Freud was able cure what was simply referred to at the time as “hysteria”. This was a generic name that covered a number of issues we now know as panic attacks, phobias, stress disorders, insomnia and depression.
Hypnosis is particularly helpful for people with issues they are unable to deal with or discuss. Sometimes the reason for this is because there are psychological reasons why it is not possible to remember or talk about a past trauma. Practitioners of hypnosis are also able to treat people who want to give up a bad habit but feel they lack the willpower. They help people who need to give up smoking, to stop biting their nails or to stop overeating.
Hypnosis a perfectly safe and natural form of treatment which provides relief and assistance to people with psychological problems and troubling conditions. It works effectively through discussion and suggestion, when the mind is allowed to focus attention a particular thought or idea.