• The History of Hypnotherapy

    Posted March 23, 2011 By in Hypnotherapy With | No Comments

    Hypnotherapy may seem like a newly budding field but as my instructor George J. Kappas M.A., M.F.T. says it’s one of the oldest careers known to man. Hypnotherapy, under the guise of many different names and modalities has been in use since the Egyptian dynasties.

    The Modern Story of Hypnosis

    As I mentioned before hypnosis and hypnotherapy have been around and intricately connected to the evolution of Humanity since the earliest of times but where does the modern history of the word Hypnosis come from?

    The modern story of hypnosis starts with a German physician named Franz Anton Mesmer back in the late 1700’s. Mesmer believed that there was a type of ethereal energy that he called Animal Magnetism that passed between all living and non-living objects in the world. Mesmer believed he had a unique power to control and direct this Animal Magnetism along with other types of spiritual energies and he called this talent Mesmerism. The theory of Animal Magnetism took no small amount of ridicule and attack from the enlightened sciences of the day until another medical doctor took an interest and decided to explore Mesmer’s claims further.

    By the year 1842 Scottish surgeon James Baird had already spent a great deal of time investigating and researching Mesmerism and was on the verge of giving the field it’s next self-realization. Dr. Baird discovered that Mesmerism had more to do with the sleep state than any magnetism and used this discovery to give the field it’s new name Hypnosis; which is a derivative  of the Greek word for sleep. Later though Baird would realize that people in the hypnotic state may have appeared to be on the verge of the sleep state however, they were actually more consciously aware than they were before entering the state. At this point though the name had already taken hold.

    While Baird’s interest in Hypnosis was rooted in finding a valuable treatment for functional nervous disorders the vast majority of people had a different experience. After Mesmer first released his theory on Animal Magnetism people, as we so often do, saw the entertainment value of it and started to explore it. These people were referred to at the time as Mesmerists and after the field adopted the new name of hypnosis they followed suit and their shows became known as Stage Hypnosis. These two types of hypnosis, Stage and Hypnotherapy, continued to evolve with Hypnotherapy being the much less known branch. (Read more about this in the upcoming post Stage Hypnosis vs. Hypnotherapy)

    So why all the hype now?

    You can certainly tie some of the recent spotlight attention on Hypnotherapy to the explosion of popularity the personal development movement experienced after the run away hit The Secret was released but the real weight behind this growing development tool has been around for almost fifty years.

    In the 1960’s Dr. John G. Kappas, Ph.D, C.Ht. developed a new theory about the way we learn and express ourselves called Emotional and Physical Suggestibility and Sexuality. Prior to the introduction of his theory it was widely believed that only half of the world’s population could actually experience hypnosis and in turn reap the benefits of Hypnotherapy. Now however, thanks to Dr. Kappas, we know that everyone can both experience hypnosis and reach deep enough levels to achieve the results they are pursuing.

    It was Dr. Kappas that wrote the definition for Hypnotherapist in the Federal Dictionary of Occupational Titles and laid out the principles, tools and methods that we at Crossroads will be using to help move you in the direction you want your life to go.

    So What is it?

    So now that you know the history of the field, what is it exactly? Hypnosis is simply a state of heightened awareness where your inner editor is temporarily pacified and your body experience a deep relaxation. It’s a state that allows us to communicate more clearly with our subconscious and allows us to begin to take control of those little scripts that run our lives. Hypnotherapy is a mix of Hypnosis, Conversation and Self Discovery.


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