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

1732 Words Jan 27th, 2013 7 Pages
In this essay I will be explaining “what is hypnosis” by looking through various

literature sources, internet sources and by using my own knowledge, I will include a brief

history of hypnosis to aid this. I will then go on to describe the psychological and

physical aspects of hypnosis, followed by discussing the role of relaxation in


Hypnosis is a state of mind achieved using a set of techniques. The hypnotic state is

natural for all human beings.

Hypnosis enhances an individual’s concentration which increases their responsiveness to

suggestion; this is due to when being in a hypnotic state the subconscious is the one that

is more responsive to suggestion than when you are in a fully
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The only explanation

for all of this was that people were mesmerized into the belief and expectations that they

would be cured; mesmerism became the forerunner of hypnotic suggestion (Hadley and

Staudacher 1996 pg15). Mesmerism continued over the years to provoke new theories

and uses.

During the late 1800’s, James Braid an English doctor, gave mesmerism a scientific

explanation by saying it was a nervous sleep and coined the word hypnosis from the

greek word Hypnos which means sleep.

Braid did eventually realise that this name wasn’t suitable as it suggested people would

be asleep whilst in a hypnotic state, he tried to change it but the original name stuck.

Braid also concluded from a study that the cures involved from mesmerism were due to

suggestion and not animal magnetism.

During the same period, Dr John Elliotson was the first to demonstrate the use of

hypnosis in British medicine; he cured a dumb epileptic using mesmerism and hypnotic

techniques in front of 200 medics (Chrysalis 2010). The way he went about his

research didn’t make him very popular amongst people.

In the 1900’s, Sigmund Freud became interested in hypnosis, he studied and learnt all the

induction techniques, supporting the use of hypnosis and a belief that humans have

powerful hidden mental processes, this theory formed the basis of his later work. Freud

would observe

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