Hypnotherapy Then and Now

Do you know who the grandpa of Hypnotherapy is? Contrary to popular notion, it isn’t Sigmund Freud; although he is a genius himself. Who is it then? Franz Mesmer and Milton Erickson.

Never heard of them? Well, they just inspired the famous Freud to build his own theory and include the tenets of hypnosis as a form of therapy that is very much related to his theory on the unconscious.

How did this came to be?

Hypnosis is not a new word. The Greeks were known to have used an old form of this word which is hypnos meaning “sleep.”

And as syntax evolved, from sleep it is now more inclined to mean: induced sleeping/unconscious state. See the evolution of words? Now, hypnosis means sleep-like. Not much of a derivation, but it certainly has something to do at how it was practiced by its early proponents.

Mesmer, first made use of it in the 1700s as a way to treat different disorders that he believed was caused by magnetic fluids in the body causing imbalance. (Just a trivia: the word mesmerize came from his name).

Milton Erickson helped the practice regain popularity in the mid 1900’s when he made use of hypnosis in his practice of Psychiatry. Different associations of mental health professionals have endowed the field with recognitions as a real scientific therapeutic approach.

They all dealt with ways to make the patients unconscious while performing a digging and analysis of what’s wrong within (thus the sleep like state). And this too endured for decades that it still stands to this day.

Is it Really Effective?

Some experts say that not everyone may be compatible to this kind of treatment. So the degrees of effectiveness may vary from person to person.

But what’s certain is that it also has different stages and claims to improve conditions of people experiencing: sleep, dissociative, mood, anxiety and substance abuse disorders. That’s like saying: it can heal people who can’t sleep, to people who have problems with drug abuse.

And as a lasting thought for skeptics, if it isn’t effective then this approach may have long died especially with the more advanced therapeutic options that sprouted after it such as the Cognitive-Behavioral and Humanistic approach.

Current State

Today, despite the many attacks on its effectiveness, hypnotherapy remains to be strong as a viable option for treatment.

It faces media ridicule, ethical repercussions and a stab from other practitioners concentrating on other fields, feeling that hypnosis is kind of outdated.

But believe it or not, hypnotherapists are still very much part of the system, doing a lot of improvement in empirical findings and are still sanctioned by the enveloping American Psychological Association and many other local and national Psychological Hypnosis organizations.

What your dedicated therapist practicing hypnosis should tell you upon your first meeting? What hypnosis is and what it isn’t. What it can achieve and can’t and what are the common misconceptions, most laymen know of this branch of Psychotherapy.

From there, perhaps you can both start plotting the best practices and tools to be used toward your recovery.

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