Great to see you!
Imagine my surprise when I turned to to hear a talk about bees and a hypnotherapist turned up instead! You could tell that nobody else knew either as the front row of seats was full! Ha!
It was great fun with a couple of audience members being lured into providing a nervous helping hand and I'm recording here a few things I learnt on the way.
Daydreaming is a different state of consciousness which is similar to hypnosis. There are three things you need to be able to be hypnotized - intelligence, imagination and most importantly willingness.
Natural healing goes back a long way. Aborigines, Native Americans, Egyptians and even Romans who had temples where people would sleep to get better.
In the 1700s in Vienna, priest/scientist Maximilian Hell came up with the theory that there was a magnetic tide within us. Sixty years later, a doctor Franz Mesmer became aware of the theory and set up a practice using magnets which was so expensive only the rich could afford to go. The patient would stand in a circular room that had two false floors with magnetised water between them whilst magnets were passed over their body for up to five hours. This worked for some but not all.
The King of France got to hear about it and got some scientists - Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Guillotin - to look into it. They decided it was fakery and Mesmer was hounded out of the country.
From then on entertainers took it on using animals until Charles Lafontaine came to London Zoo to hypnotize a lion. He did shows with people too and when Surgeon Dr James Braid saw him hypnotize a woman, he jumped on to the stage in anger but could see that her pupils were dilated and when he pushed a hatpin into her nails (eek!) he got no reaction. Being a surgeon, he approached University College Hospital to see if they could use the technique for operations as there were no anaesthetics at the time. They were not interested so he resigned and looked further into it. The people were not asleep but wide awake and aware.
A Doctor Esdaile working in India, did use hypnosis to remove nineteen limbs and perform deep abdominal procedures which were watched by many but when he returned to England, the use of ether for operations had been discovered so it was taken no further.
Hypnotism became an entertainment again until Freud in Vienna talked about the conscious and sub-conscious. The conscious can only cope with seven things at the same time and then the subconscious takes over, for instance if you had to remember to breathe or digest your food all the time it would be a nightmare so these things happen automatically. It takes a fifteenth of a second for an idea to go into the emotional memory in the amygdala and then goes off, unless there is trauma associated with it, when it will stay there and block. The subconscious rewires you to protect you.
If you were to think about the house you lived in when you were ten, you'd probably remember all about it. Why? Everything is taken in and is used as experience to help you deal with life. Everyone has a different reality based on experience.
In order to help people with, say, fear of spiders, the hypnotherapist uses regression through the person's life back to childhood, diffusing memory and stripping off the trauma of when spiders first became a problem so that the memory can be reframed to help the person lose their fear.
There is no such thing as BEING hypnotised as people do it to themselves. The hypnotist just does something that they are not expecting, overloads their mind with information to tell them they are hypnotised and they believe it. Hypnotherapy gives suggestions how to change the views they have that bother them. Care has to be taken not to plant a false memory.
Hypnotism for surgery and dental work is still used today but is not very common.
Interesting. Of course being there and hearing all the examples was much better.