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Updated: 01-Apr-2011


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History of Hypnotherapy

The Hieroglyphics discovered in Egypt as well as evidence unearthed from the Mayan and Greek civilizations indicates the use of hypnosis dates back to 3000 BC. Although it has been used widely in multiple cultures, hypnosis remains somewhat of a mystery.

When something is not understood, it is human nature to dismiss it as foolishness. Hypnosis has not yet been fully explained to the satisfaction of scientists and some laymen alike, however its impact through history remains significant.

Franz Mesmer is known as the "Father of Hypnosis" due to his early work and success in helping his patients reach a deepened state of trance - the origination of the word mesmerize. Continued development of a scientific approach to hypnosis by other scientists revealed the importance of imagination and subconscious attitudes as a primary function that resulted in predictable, positive outcomes.

After the First World War, there were many cased of war neurosis and other trauma caused by the anxiety of war. The need for qualified doctors was still acute and an extreme need was evident for a fast method of therapy. In desperation the medical profession turned again to hypnosis and the answer was there.

There was a renewed interest in uncovering unconscious causes for the war neurosis and the use of hypnosis for resolving the underlying causes of symptoms. It was discovered that regressing back to the original event and releasing the emotions that had been repressed, allowed the symptoms to disappear and normal emotional health to be reestablished. As early as 1941 Milton Erickson was describing the successful treatment of acute hysterical depression solely through hypnosis by returning to a critical phase of childhood.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques surfaced in 1968 indicating that a patient can not fully utilize their sensory resource, but that through the use of NLP in hypnosis, there was increased sensory acuity and flexibility, accessing and anchoring the needed inner resources, identifying and changing our internal sensory experiences; thus reframing ones' responses in a positive and more fulfilling manner.

A further development in the field of hypnosis is that of "Transpersonal Hypnotherapy". This approach incorporates methodologies of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. These two branches of psychology have been variously referred to as the third and fourth forces of developments, the first force being Freudian psychoanalysis and the second force being that of Pavlovian-based behaviors. The latter is geared to applying appropriate positive or negative stimuli to elicit desired behavior changes.

Transpersonal Hypnotherapy works not only with conscious and subconscious processes but also the upper range of the unconscious, variously described as the "superconscious" or "transpersonal" dimensions of the psyche. It is this dimension that enables the greatest measure of wholeness, well-being, and fulfillment. The goal is not simply "normal behavior" but abundant well-being. The methodologies include regression, emotional clearing, and work with the inner archetypes, e.g. one's parts or "complexes", such as the inner teacher, the higher self, the entire spectrum ranging from one's darkest "shadow" aspects to one's highest attributes and potentials.

Heart Centered Hypnotherapy® combines the exciting open vistas of this transpersonal tradition, with an existential perspective, and the precision of developmental psychology and behavior modification techniques.

Excerpts taken from The History of Hypnosis, The Wellness Institute Hypnotherapy Training Manual, March 04. Permission granted (8/1/05) by Diane Zimberoff, M.A. Founder of the Institute. www.wellness-institute.org

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