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Research Paper

839 words - 4 pages

The history of hypnosis started with the healing practices of Franz Anton Mesmer and his pupil, Armand Marie Jacques de Chastnet, Marquis de Puységur in 1779.(Crabtree, 2013: 298) Mesmer discovered through a method he used that patients would become disconnected from reality, but pervious to influence. This method he called "animal magnetism" was the motion of slowly swiping his hand in front of the body of his patient. According to Crabtree (1993), Mesmer's pupil, Puységur, would then apply this method to his patients and discovered that "many entered into a state with these characteristics : 1) a sleepwalking kind of consciousness, 2) a "rapport " or special connection with the magnetizer, 3) suggestibility with heightened imagination, 4) amnesia in the waking state for events in the magnetized state, 5) ability to read the thoughts of the magnetizer, and 6) a striking change in the personality of the magnetic subject." (p.38-45) These six were referenced as Puységur's somnambulistic phenomena.
These discoveries lead Puységur to the conclusion that the magnetic subject was agreeing to follow suggestions of the magnetizer. Mesmer's theory of animal magnetism included something he referenced as magnetic fluid. He believed that the magnetic fluid was a healing power that spread throughout the world. However, this method of animal magnetism were not widely accepted and were often criticized and linked with frauds and quack doctors. The two theories of Puységur and Mesmer conflicted and only Puységur's method proved triumphant in magnetic healing practices. (Crabtree, 2012: 299)
Fifty years later, James Braid, a physician from Manchester, attended a demonstration on animal magnetism and became interested in how it works. But the demonstration included some unbelievable phenomena such as the blind, the deaf, and the paralyzed being healed. He believed that what he saw at the demonstration was purely physiological. According to Crabtree(2012), Braid believed that when someone was succumbed to a sensation repeatedly "the mind "slips out of gear" producing a state of "somnolence," and "a peculiar state of the brain and mobility of the nervous system, which render the patient liable to be directed so as the manifest the mesmeric phenomena" (as cited in Crabtree, 2012, p. 300) He came up with the name neuro-hypnotism, which later was shortened to what we know now.
Hypnosis as a whole did not branch out of laboratories or classrooms until the early 1950's, where Joseph Jastrow, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, headed a course on hypnosis and it's uses in the medical field. Jastrow was important in the evolution...

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