There are several different induction techniques. One of the most influential methods was Braid's "eye-fixation" technique, also known as "Braidism". Many variations of the eye-fixation approach exist, including the induction used in the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale SHSS , the most widely used research tool in the field of hypnotism. Take any bright object e.
The patient must be made to understand that he is to keep the eyes steadily fixed on the object, and the mind riveted on the idea of that one object. It will be observed, that owing to the consensual adjustment of the eyes, the pupils will be at first contracted: They will shortly begin to dilate, and, after they have done so to a considerable extent, and have assumed a wavy motion, if the fore and middle fingers of the right hand, extended and a little separated, are carried from the object toward the eyes, most probably the eyelids will close involuntarily, with a vibratory motion.
If this is not the case, or the patient allows the eyeballs to move, desire him to begin anew, giving him to understand that he is to allow the eyelids to close when the fingers are again carried towards the eyes, but that the eyeballs must be kept fixed, in the same position, and the mind riveted to the one idea of the object held above the eyes.
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In general, it will be found, that the eyelids close with a vibratory motion, or become spasmodically closed. Braid later acknowledged that the hypnotic induction technique was not necessary in every case, and subsequent researchers have generally found that on average it contributes less than previously expected to the effect of hypnotic suggestions. However, this method is still considered authoritative.
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When James Braid first described hypnotism, he did not use the term "suggestion" but referred instead to the act of focusing the conscious mind of the subject upon a single dominant idea. Braid's main therapeutic strategy involved stimulating or reducing physiological functioning in different regions of the body.
In his later works, however, Braid placed increasing emphasis upon the use of a variety of different verbal and non-verbal forms of suggestion, including the use of "waking suggestion" and self-hypnosis. Subsequently, Hippolyte Bernheim shifted the emphasis from the physical state of hypnosis on to the psychological process of verbal suggestion:. I define hypnotism as the induction of a peculiar psychical [i.
Often, it is true, the [hypnotic] sleep that may be induced facilitates suggestion, but it is not the necessary preliminary. It is suggestion that rules hypnotism. Bernheim's conception of the primacy of verbal suggestion in hypnotism dominated the subject throughout the 20th century, leading some authorities to declare him the father of modern hypnotism. Contemporary hypnotism uses a variety of suggestion forms including direct verbal suggestions, "indirect" verbal suggestions such as requests or insinuations, metaphors and other rhetorical figures of speech, and non-verbal suggestion in the form of mental imagery, voice tonality, and physical manipulation.
A distinction is commonly made between suggestions delivered "permissively" and those delivered in a more "authoritarian" manner. Harvard hypnotherapist Deirdre Barrett writes that most modern research suggestions are designed to bring about immediate responses, whereas hypnotherapeutic suggestions are usually post-hypnotic ones that are intended to trigger responses affecting behaviour for periods ranging from days to a lifetime in duration.
The hypnotherapeutic ones are often repeated in multiple sessions before they achieve peak effectiveness. Some hypnotists view suggestion as a form of communication that is directed primarily to the subject's conscious mind,  whereas others view it as a means of communicating with the " unconscious " or " subconscious " mind.
Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory describes conscious thoughts as being at the surface of the mind and unconscious processes as being deeper in the mind. Indeed, Braid actually defines hypnotism as focused conscious attention upon a dominant idea or suggestion. Different views regarding the nature of the mind have led to different conceptions of suggestion. Hypnotists who believe that responses are mediated primarily by an "unconscious mind", like Milton Erickson , make use of indirect suggestions such as metaphors or stories whose intended meaning may be concealed from the subject's conscious mind.
The concept of subliminal suggestion depends upon this view of the mind.
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By contrast, hypnotists who believe that responses to suggestion are primarily mediated by the conscious mind, such as Theodore Barber and Nicholas Spanos , have tended to make more use of direct verbal suggestions and instructions. The first neuropsychological theory of hypnotic suggestion was introduced early by James Braid who adopted his friend and colleague William Carpenter's theory of the ideo-motor reflex response to account for the phenomenon of hypnotism.
Carpenter had observed from close examination of everyday experience that, under certain circumstances, the mere idea of a muscular movement could be sufficient to produce a reflexive, or automatic, contraction or movement of the muscles involved, albeit in a very small degree. Braid extended Carpenter's theory to encompass the observation that a wide variety of bodily responses besides muscular movement can be thus affected, for example, the idea of sucking a lemon can automatically stimulate salivation, a secretory response.
Braid, therefore, adopted the term "ideo-dynamic", meaning "by the power of an idea", to explain a broad range of "psycho-physiological" mind—body phenomena.
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Braid coined the term "mono-ideodynamic" to refer to the theory that hypnotism operates by concentrating attention on a single idea in order to amplify the ideo-dynamic reflex response. Variations of the basic ideo-motor, or ideo-dynamic, theory of suggestion have continued to exercise considerable influence over subsequent theories of hypnosis, including those of Clark L.
Hull , Hans Eysenck , and Ernest Rossi. Braid made a rough distinction between different stages of hypnosis, which he termed the first and second conscious stage of hypnotism;  he later replaced this with a distinction between "sub-hypnotic", "full hypnotic", and "hypnotic coma" stages.
In the first few decades of the 20th century, these early clinical "depth" scales were superseded by more sophisticated "hypnotic susceptibility" scales based on experimental research. The most influential were the Davis—Husband and Friedlander—Sarbin scales developed in the s. Hilgard developed the Stanford Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility in , consisting of 12 suggestion test items following a standardised hypnotic eye-fixation induction script, and this has become one of the most widely referenced research tools in the field of hypnosis.
Whereas the older "depth scales" tried to infer the level of "hypnotic trance" from supposed observable signs such as spontaneous amnesia, most subsequent scales have measured the degree of observed or self-evaluated responsiveness to specific suggestion tests such as direct suggestions of arm rigidity catalepsy. The Stanford, Harvard, HIP, and most other susceptibility scales convert numbers into an assessment of a person's susceptibility as "high", "medium", or "low".
There is some controversy as to whether this is distributed on a "normal" bell-shaped curve or whether it is bi-modal with a small "blip" of people at the high end. Research by Deirdre Barrett has found that there are two distinct types of highly susceptible subjects, which she terms fantasizers and dissociaters. Fantasizers score high on absorption scales, find it easy to block out real-world stimuli without hypnosis, spend much time daydreaming, report imaginary companions as a child, and grew up with parents who encouraged imaginary play.
Dissociaters often have a history of childhood abuse or other trauma, learned to escape into numbness, and to forget unpleasant events. Their association to "daydreaming" was often going blank rather than creating vividly recalled fantasies. Both score equally high on formal scales of hypnotic susceptibility. Individuals with dissociative identity disorder have the highest hypnotisability of any clinical group, followed by those with posttraumatic stress disorder.
People have been entering into hypnotic-type trances for thousands of years. In many cultures and religions, it was regarded as a form of meditation. Modern day hypnosis, however, started in the late 18th century and was made popular by Franz Mesmer , a German physician who became known as the father of 'modern hypnotism'. In fact, hypnosis used to be known as 'Mesmerism' as it was named after Mesmer.
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Mesmer held the opinion that hypnosis was a sort of mystical force that flows from the hypnotist to the person being hypnotized, but his theory was dismissed by critics who asserted that there is no magical element to hypnotism. Before long, hypnotism started finding its way into the world of modern medicine.
The use of hypnotism in the medical field was made popular by surgeons and physicians like Elliotson and James Esdaile and researchers like James Braid who helped to reveal the biological and physical benefits of hypnotism. He first discussed some of these oriental practices in a series of articles entitled Magic, Mesmerism, Hypnotism, etc. He drew analogies between his own practice of hypnotism and various forms of Hindu yoga meditation and other ancient spiritual practices, especially those involving voluntary burial and apparent human hibernation. Last May , a gentleman residing in Edinburgh, personally unknown to me, who had long resided in India, favored me with a letter expressing his approbation of the views which I had published on the nature and causes of hypnotic and mesmeric phenomena.
In corroboration of my views, he referred to what he had previously witnessed in oriental regions, and recommended me to look into the Dabistan , a book lately published, for additional proof to the same effect. On much recommendation I immediately sent for a copy of the Dabistan , in which I found many statements corroborative of the fact, that the eastern saints are all self-hypnotisers, adopting means essentially the same as those which I had recommended for similar purposes.
As he later wrote:. In as much as patients can throw themselves into the nervous sleep, and manifest all the usual phenomena of Mesmerism, through their own unaided efforts, as I have so repeatedly proved by causing them to maintain a steady fixed gaze at any point, concentrating their whole mental energies on the idea of the object looked at; or that the same may arise by the patient looking at the point of his own finger, or as the Magi of Persia and Yogi of India have practised for the last 2, years, for religious purposes, throwing themselves into their ecstatic trances by each maintaining a steady fixed gaze at the tip of his own nose; it is obvious that there is no need for an exoteric influence to produce the phenomena of Mesmerism.
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Avicenna — , a Persian physician, documented the characteristics of the "trance" Hypnotic Trance state in At that time, hypnosis as a medical treatment was seldom used; the German doctor Franz Mesmer reintroduced it in the 18th century. Franz Mesmer — believed that there is a magnetic force or "fluid" called "animal magnetism" within the universe that influences the health of the human body.
He experimented with magnets to affect this field in order to produce healing. By around , he had concluded that the same effect could be created by passing the hands in front of the subject's body, later referred to as making "Mesmeric passes". The word "mesmerize", formed from the last name of Franz Mesmer, was intentionally used to separate practitioners of mesmerism from the various "fluid" and "magnetic" theories included within the label "magnetism".
Among the board members were founding father of modern chemistry Antoine Lavoisier , Benjamin Franklin , and an expert in pain control, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. They investigated the practices of a disaffected student of Mesmer, one Charles d'Eslon — , and though they concluded that Mesmer's results were valid, their placebo-controlled experiments using d'Eslon's methods convinced them that mesmerism was most likely due to belief and imagination rather than to an invisible energy "animal magnetism" transmitted from the body of the mesmerist.
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