What Is Hypnosis ? Describe the Psychological and Physical Aspects of Hypnosis and Discuss the Role of Relaxation in Hypnotherapy.

What is Hypnosis ?   Describe the psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis and discuss the role of relaxation in hypnotherapy.

To many people the word hypnosis will often conjure up images of swinging fob watches and dramatic stage shows where people are compelled to behave in strange ways.   Whilst very entertaining, the popular performance of stage hypnosis is very different to the essence of modern hypnosis and is mainly responsible for many misconceptions about hypnotism and hypnotherapy. (Waterfield 2004)

In order to understand modern hypnosis, it is necessary to look to the past in order to identify and trace its origins. Waterfield writes about examples from history thought to be an indication of early hypnosis in many different cultures, including ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, India and even Australia, but dismisses many of these as unrelated and unproven in many cases. Modern hypnosis in the Western Hemisphere is believed to have started with Franz Anton Mesmer.   Born in Iznang, which is now part of Germany, in 1734, Mesmer studied philosophy, theology, music, maths and law before deciding on a medical career.   He worked extensively in Vienna and as a result of influences by the mystic physician Paracelsus he began to develop ideas of an invisible fluid in the body which affected health.   Initially, he used magnets to manipulate the fluid and ‘magnetise’ his patients.   Healing sessions with individual patients progressed to group sessions and Mesmer came to believe the magnets were unnecessary and he moved away from their use to the use of his hands.   Following reports that Mesmer cured a blind musician in 1977 and that she subsequently lost her ability to play the piano, Mesmer’s methods were frowned upon and it is thought he moved to Paris hoping for his ideas to be better received.

Mesmer moved from using magnets to the construction of a tub filled with water with protruding iron rods.   Patients would hold the rods in order to be...