A brief history

Franz Mesmer

Hypnotherapy has a long history, which can be traced back to the middle ages and even earlier. I suspect that man for one reason or another has used some form of hypnosis for a very long time. We only have to consider the importance of dreamtime in Aboriginal cultures. Hypnosis as we know it today, has moved through several important interpretations, as has our understanding. During the 18th Century, Anton Mesmer proposed that it was all about magnetism, an invisible force that permeated all things. It was the Scottish Physician, James Braid who first termed the phrase Hypnosis, and questioned these ideas. Braid came to the realization that all hypnosis could be self-induced.

Throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, Hypnosis gradually established itself, as we know it today. Through the work of psychiatrists such as Freud, Erikson and many others, Hypnosis became a useful tool in the world of therapy, medicine and self-help. More recently, Hypnosis has also been used for entertainment purposes, which, even though it is proving successful in these previous applications, there still, I feel, exists a certain misunderstanding of exactly what it is and isn’t in the minds of many.

James Braid
Sigmund Freud
Milton Erikson