Tim Brunson DCH

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Gassner's exorcism--not Mesmer's magnetism--is the real predecessor of modern hypnosis

Usually, Mesmer is considered to be the real predecessor of modern hypnosis and, consequently, of psychotherapy. The author questions this commonly accepted view and asserts that Gassner's therapeutic approach was much more elaborate and psychologically oriented than Mesmer's.

In light of the present understanding of psychotherapeutic and hypnotherapeutic techniques, Gassner's methods can be characterized as a special kind of hypnotic training in self-control. The author describes Gassner's kind of exorcism and its similarities to hypnotherapy and goes into personal and sociocultural factors relevant to the debate surrounding Gassner's theory and procedure. It was the most heated dispute of the Enlightenment that took place in Munich around 1775 with Mesmer as an important part of it. The author discusses whether Father Gassner, rather than Mesmer, is the real predecessor of modern hypnosis.

MEG-Stiftung, University of Munich, Germany. Burkhard-Peter@t-online.de

Note from Tim Brunson DCH: Coincidentally, Messmer acted as the "scientific authority" in this case. His assistance was requested by the Church. They were attempting to move away from a lot of the mumbo-jumbo ascribed to excorcism and into the "modern era". Remember this was in the late 1700's about 90 years after Newton stating his theory of gravity. I disagree with the implication that Father Gassner had anything to do with the development of modern hypnosis.

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