Closing words

At the end of this lesson, I would like to share with you some quotes from the book “Hidden Depths: The Story of Hypnosis (English Edition)” by Robin Waterfield.

“Sometimes external factors, such as warfare or the discovery of chemical anesthetics, have caused hypnosis to be neglected; sometimes internal factors, such as the extravagant claims of practitioners, have dismayed more sober-minded researchers. Even now, for all the intensity and excellence of academic research that has been devoted to the subject over the last fifty years, the proliferation of new-age forms of hypnotherapy threatens to tarnish its reputation. And hypnosis has a fragile reputation: it doesn’t take much for the general public to remember that it was once thought to be a load of nonsense. But she simply refuses to disappear. In the history of science and especially medicine, countless theories have run aground on the highway, but all attempts to push hypnosis off the road have failed. Her perseverance is not only a testament to her fascination, but also to the fact that she is real and effective. In the eighteenth century and for most of the nineteenth century, from Mesmer to Elliotson, hypnosis or its precursor, animal magnetism, was a religious experience. The subject often reached a kind of ecstasy, and the mesmerist presented himself as a ritual magician who sometimes dressed accordingly and always made mysterious gestures with his hands; Braid, Charcot, Bernheim and others fitted hypnosis into a more scientific framework, and it became an important tool in the developing field of psychology. Then Freud cursed it, and Ted Barber and his colleagues tried to prove that there was no such thing as hypnosis. Hypnosis is no longer as central to psychological research as it was at the end of the nineteenth century. The main impetus for hypnosis research today comes from its value in medicine, and even if Barber were right, hypnosis continues to be used by working clinicians who often have little time for the theories of experimental psychologists.

In the 1950s, both the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association finally recognized the effectiveness of hypnosis; Here are the conclusions of the 1958 report of the Council on Mental Health of the American Medical Association: General practitioners, specialists, and dentists may find hypnosis valuable as a therapeutic tool within the specific area of their professional expertise.

I would like to see hypnosis more widely available and used, and the time is ripe for it, because now what used to be called “alternative” medicine is no longer perceived as “alternative” but as “complementary”, and hypnosis in particular is well known: Everyone knows someone who has had hypnotherapy for something. It goes without saying that checks and safeguards need to be put in place to ensure that only qualified people offer their services as hypnotherapists, but this is not difficult to achieve. Hypnosis could be a great blessing for mankind. It is not the panacea that Mesmer thought his animal magnetism was, and I have certainly heard of cases where hypnotherapy has not done what it was intended to do, but it is a gentle, effective and empowering therapy for a surprisingly wide range of ailments.

In Plato’s Charmides, probably written in the 390s BC, he has Socrates say: “I learned this spell from a Thracian healer, a priest of Zalmoxis, while I was on active service in the army in Thrace. These healers are even said to make people immortal. Anyway, this Thracian told me that the Greeks were right in the assertion I made earlier that one should not try to cure an eye disease without curing the head as a whole, and he said: “But our lord and master, the divine Zalmoxis, tells us that just as one should not cure the eyes without also curing the head, or the head without also curing the whole body, one should not cure the body without also curing the soul. And this is just the reason why most diseases are beyond the skill of the Greek physicians, because they neglect the whole, when that is what they should direct their attention to, because if it is in a bad state, it is impossible for any part of it to be in a good state. He went on to say that the soul is the origin and source of everything that befalls the body and every individual, whether good or bad, just as the head is the origin and source of the eyes, and that therefore the soul should be attended to first of all if the head and every other part of the body is to be in a good condition.
In Plato’s time, the idea that the soul was the personality of the individual was new and astonishing. He used passages like this to introduce the idea to the reading public and make a plea for holistic medicine.

There is no miracle cure, no pharmaceutical pill that directly addresses the suffering and brings about a cure without side effects; Hypnotherapy heals without pharmaceutical intervention and without significant side effects;

It makes no sense to try to ban the lay use of hypnosis, as many medical professionals want to do, because it will be an unenforceable law. And that’s how it should be. Hypnosis has the ability to amaze our minds, and anything that has this ability should be encouraged, because without new horizons we are confined to small worlds, with no room for growth and expansion.”


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