Tim Brunson DCH

Welcome to The International Hypnosis Research Institute Web site. Our intention is to support and promote the further worldwide integration of comprehensive evidence-based research and clinical hypnotherapy with mainstream mental health, medicine, and coaching. We do so by disseminating, supporting, and conducting research, providing professional level education, advocating increased level of practitioner competency, and supporting the viability and success of clinical practitioners. Although currently over 80% of our membership is comprised of mental health practitioners, we fully recognize the role, support, involvement, and needs of those in the medical and coaching fields. This site is not intended as a source of medical or psychological advice. Tim Brunson, PhD

History of physical and 'moral' treatment of hysteria.

This historical review presents the advances made mostly during the last 200 years on the description, concepts, theories, and (more specifically) cure of patients suffering from hysteria, a still obscure entity. The denomination of the syndrome has changed over time, from hysteria (reinvestigated by Paul Briquet and Jean-Martin Charcot) to pithiatism (Joseph Babinski), then to conversion neurosis (Sigmund Freud), and today functional neurological disorders according to the 2013 American Neurological Association DSM-5 classification. The treatment was renewed in the second half of the 19th century in Paris by Paul Briquet and then by Jean-Martin Charcot. Hysterical women, who represented the great majority of cases, were cured by physical therapy (notably physio-, hydro-, and electrotherapy, and in some cases ovary compression) and 'moral' therapies (general, causal therapy, rest, isolation, hypnosis, and suggestion).

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and persuasion were established respectively by Pierre Janet, Sigmund Freud, and Joseph Babinski. During World War I, military forces faced a large number of posttrauma neurosis cases among soldiers (named the 'Babinski-Froment war neurosis' and Myers 'shell shock', in the French and English literature, respectively). This led to the use of more brutal therapies in military hospitals, combining electrical shock and persuasion, particularly in France with Clovis Vincent and Gustave Roussy, but also in Great Britain and Germany. After World War I, this method was abandoned and there was a marked decrease in interest in hysteria for a long period of time. Today, the current treatment comprises (if possible intensive) physiotherapy, together with psychotherapy, and in some cases psychoanalysis. antidepressants and anxiolytics may be required, and more recently cognitive and behavioral therapy. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is a new technique under investigation which may be promising in patients presenting with motor conversion syndrome (motor deficit or movement disorder). Functional neurological disorders remain a difficult problem to manage with frequent failures and chronic handicapping evolution. This emphasizes the need for therapeutic innovations in the future.

Front Neurol Neurosci. 2014;35:181-97. doi: 10.1159/000360242. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Broussolle E(1), Gobert F, Danaila T, Thobois S, Walusinski O, Bogousslavsky J. Author information: (1)Centre de Neurosciences Cognitives, Service de Neurologie C, Hôpital Neurologique Pierre Wertheimer, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon I, Lyon, France.

Hypnosis and the Nancy quarrel.

The theme of hysteria and hypnotism has been attracting the attention of medics, psychologists, writers, and the broad lay public. The role of hypnotism in the context of societal functioning, especially in crime, was a subject of research and significant debates between different neurology and psychology schools. One of these debates was between the Nancy and Salpêtrière schools of neurology at the end of the 19th century, and it was focused around a few cases of crime committed allegedly under hypnosis. In order to understand this particular quarrel, this chapter examines the history of mesmerism, hysteria, hypnosis, and fin-de-siècle neurology represented by both the Nancy and Salpêtrière schools.

Front Neurol Neurosci. 2014;35:56-64. doi: 10.1159/000359992. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Piechowski-Jozwiak B(1), Bogousslavsky J. Author information: (1)Department of Neurology, King's College Hospital, London, UK.

Herbert Spiegel, MD, a man for all seasons: early personal and professional development, 1914-1946.

Herbert Spiegel, MD, was a pioneer in American psychiatry and the field of hypnosis, which he first started using as an army psychiatrist posted at Fort Meade, Maryland. He served as a battalion surgeon during the invasion of North Africa and later in the Tunisian campaign. On the battlefield, Spiegel used hypnosis for quick symptom resolution and pain control. He was wounded in action on May 7, 1943, and was awarded a Purple Heart for his courage and bravery. When Spiegel was evacuated back to America, he began writing about short-term treatment strategies based on cognitive restructuring, hypnosis, and other clinical techniques. This article details his early life and career.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2012;60(1):121-34. Frischholz EJ, Nichols LE, Godot D. Northshore University HealthSystem, Skokie, Illinois, USA. EJFPHD@gmail.com

A historical context for understanding An eye roll test for hypnotizability

Full Title: A historical context for understanding "An eye roll test for hypnotizability" by Herbert Spiegel, M.D.

Herb Spiegel was known for many professional and scientific achievements. He is may be best remembered for his discovery of the Eye Roll Sign (ERS) and its relation to innate trance capacity and the parallel creation and development of the Hypnotic Induction Profile (HIP). The present paper provides a historical context for understanding Herb's 1972 publication of "An Eye Roll Test for Hypnotizability" which originally appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 38 years ago and is reprinted in this journal issue.

Am J Clin Hypn. 2010 Jul;53(1):3-13. Frischholz EJ, Nichols LE. NorthShore University HealthSystem, Skokie, IL, USA. amjch@sbcglobal.net

The astrological roots of mesmerism.

Franz Anton Mesmer's 1766 thesis on the influence of the planets on the human body, in which he first publicly presented his account of the harmonic forces at work in the microcosm, was substantially copied from the London physician Richard Mead's early eighteenth century tract on solar and lunar effects on the body. The relation between the two texts poses intriguing problems for the historiography of medical astrology: Mesmer's use of Mead has been taken as a sign of the Vienna physician's enlightened modernity while Mead's use of astro-meteorology has been seen as evidence of the survival of antiquated astral medicine in the eighteenth century. Two aspects of this problem are discussed. First, French critics of mesmerism in the 1780s found precedents for animal magnetism in the work of Paracelsus, Fludd and other early modern writers; in so doing, they began to develop a sophisticated history for astrology and astro-meteorology. Second, the close relations between astro-meteorology and Mead's project illustrate how the environmental medical programmes emerged. The making of a history for astrology accompanied the construction of various models of the relation between occult knowledge and its contexts in the enlightenment.

Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 2010 Jun;41(2):158-68. Schaffer S. Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3RH, UK. sjs16@cam.ac.uk

The tribute of the pioneer of hypnotherapy- Franz Anton Mesmer, MD, PhD in the...

Full Title: The tribute of the pioneer of hypnotherapy- Franz Anton Mesmer, MD, PhD in the history of psychotherapy and medicine

Modern hypnosis started with the Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), who believed that the phenomenon known as mesmerism, or animal magnetism, or fluidum was related to an invisible substance - a fluid that runs within the subject or between the subject and the therapist, that is, the hypnotist, or the "magnetizer". The term hypnosis was introduced in the 1840s by a Scottish surgeon James Braid (1795-1860), who believed the subject to be in a particular state of sleep - a trance. In the late 19th century, a French neurologist Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893) thought hypnotism to be a special physiological state, and his contemporary Hyppotite-Marie Bernheim (1840-1919) believed it to be a psychological state of heightened suggestibility. Sigmund Freud, who studied with Charcot, used hypnosis early in his career to help patients recover repressed memories. He noted that patients would relive traumatic events while under hypnosis, a process know as abreaction. Freud later replaced hypnosis with the technique of free associations. Today, hypnosis is used as a form of therapy (hypnotherapy), a method of investigation to recover lost memories, and research tool. According to Caplan & Sadock, F.A. Mesmer is generally thought of as the fons et origo of modern psychotherapy; and from the early techniques of mesmerism, it is said, have evolved the more elaborate and sophisticated therapeutic measures of the analyst and his colleagues. Although Mesmer was certainly dealing with individuals suffering from a variety of neurotic disorders, and though the clinical successes he achieved were the result of psychological processes that his procedures induced in his patients, Mesmer's theoretical formulations, his understanding of the nature of the treatment he developed, and his specific procedures were all totally different from those of the 20th - century analyst. He was one of the corne stones in the development of psychoanalysis through hypnosis mainly of hysterical patients.

Acta Med Hist Adriat. 2009 Spring;7(1):49-60. Radovancevic L. Neuropsychiatric Polyclinic A.B.R., Petrova 158, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.

Tribute to Alfred Adler: Part 2

by Paul G. Durbin, PhD

(1) the relationship,
(2) the investigation of dynamics,
(3) interpretation of the client,
(4) reoinentation.

Adler departed from Freud's method of having the client recline on a couch while the therapist sits behind. Adler preferred to face the client so he could see the client's responses and body movement. He wanted to engage in free discussion with the client. The relationship with the client which the Adlerian seeks to establish is one of friendliness and cooperation.


Tribute to Alfred Adler: Part 1

by Paul G. Durbin, PhD

In 1870, Alfred Adler was born in a suburb of Vienna. In his youth, Adler suffered from rickets and could not walk until he was four. Soon after he was able to walk, he developed pneumonia. These early experiences with illnesses probably accounts for his theory of organ inferiority and finally of the inferiority feelings.


Crime, Hysteria and Belle Epoque Hypnotism

FULL TITLE: Crime, Hysteria and Belle Epoque Hypnotism: The Path Traced by Jean-Martin Charcot and Georges Gilles de la Tourette

Hysteria and hypnotism became a favorite topic of studies in the fin de siècle neurology that emerged from the school organized at La Salpêtrière by Jean-Martin Charcot, where he had arrived in 1861. Georges Gilles de la Tourette started working with Charcot in 1884 and probably remained his most faithful student, even after his mentor's death in 1893. This collaboration was particularly intense on 'criminal hypnotism', an issue on which Hippolyte Bernheim and his colleagues from the Nancy School challenged the positions taken by the Salpêtrière School. Bernheim claimed that hypnotism was not a diagnostic feature of hysteria and that there were real-life examples of murders suggested under hypnosis, while hypnosis susceptibility was identified with hysteria by Charcot and Gilles de la Tourette, who saw rape as the only crime associated with hypnotism. The quarrel was particularly virulent during a series of famous criminal cases which took place between 1888 and 1890. At the time, it was considered that La Salpêtrière had succeeded over Nancy, since the role of hypnotism was discarded during these famous trials. However, the theories of Charcot and Gilles de la Tourette were also damaged by the fight, which probably triggered the conceptual evolution leading to Joseph Babinski's revision of hysteria in 1901. Gilles de la Tourette's strong and public interest in hypnotism nearly cost him his life, when a young woman who claimed to have been hypnotized against her will shot him in the head at his own home in 1893. It was subsequently shown that hypnotism had nothing to do with it. The delusional woman was interned at Sainte-Anne for mental disturbance, thus escaping trial. Ironically, Gilles de la Tourette may have been partly responsible, since he had been one of the strongest proponents of placing mentally-ill criminals in asylums instead of prisons. Copyright © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Eur Neurol. 2009 Jul 11;62(4):193-199. Bogousslavsky J, Walusinski O, Veyrunes D. Department of Neurology and Neurorehabilitation, Clinique Valmont, Genolier Swiss Medical Network, Glion/Montreux, Switzerland.

"On hypnotism" (1860) De l'hypnotisme.

James Braid's last essay on hypnotism, the culmination of his work, summarized in a French translation for the Academy of Sciences, is published in English with comments. According to Braid, hypnotism is a psychological ("subjective") approach, fundamentally opposed to the paranormal claims and magnetic ("objective") theories of mesmerism. Hypnotism operates primarily by means of dominant ideas that the attention of the subject is fixated upon. The reversibility of hypnotic amnesia is taken as evidence of "double consciousness." However, over 90% of Braid's subjects did not exhibit this state of dissociation or any sleep-like responses but merely a sense of "reverie." Good subjects are as suggestible in the "waking" state as others are in hypnotism.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2009 Apr;57(2):133-61. Robertson D. HypnoSynthesisUK@aol.com

The discovery of hypnosis--Braid's lost manuscript, "On hypnotism" (1860): a brief communication.

James Braid's last manuscript on hypnotism, summarizing his mature views and lost since his death, existed only in French and German translations. The author discusses the history and importance of this document, "On Hypnotism" (1860), as well as his new English version, translated back from the French and German editions. Braid's manuscript constitutes an important, missing jigsaw piece in the early history of psychological therapy and helps to explain the origin of hypnotherapy and correct certain historical misconceptions that have developed concerning the meaning of the term hypnotism. The rediscovery of this text provides additional evidence that hypnotism originated as an explicitly empirical and "common sense" reaction against the pseudo-scientific excesses of mesmerism. Although drawing heavily on excerpts from his previous writings, some of Braid's observations and techniques may renew interest among contemporary researchers and clinicians.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2009 Apr;57(2):127-32. Robertson D. HypnoSynthesisUK@aol.com

The discovery of hypnosis--Braid's lost manuscript, "On hypnotism" (1860): a brief communication.

James Braid's last manuscript on hypnotism, summarizing his mature views and lost since his death, existed only in French and German translations. The author discusses the history and importance of this document, "On Hypnotism" (1860), as well as his new English version, translated back from the French and German editions. Braid's manuscript constitutes an important, missing jigsaw piece in the early history of psychological therapy and helps to explain the origin of hypnotherapy and correct certain historical misconceptions that have developed concerning the meaning of the term hypnotism. The rediscovery of this text provides additional evidence that hypnotism originated as an explicitly empirical and "common sense" reaction against the pseudo-scientific excesses of mesmerism. Although drawing heavily on excerpts from his previous writings, some of Braid's observations and techniques may renew interest among contemporary researchers and clinicians.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2009 Apr;57(2):127-32. Comment on: Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2009 Apr;57(2):133-61. Robertson D. HypnoSynthesisUK@aol.com

The contributions of Ramon y Cajal and other Spanish authors to hypnosis.

The authors review the most important Spanish contributions to hypnosis during the 19th and 20th centuries, with emphasis on the work of Santiago Ramon y Cajal, winner of the 1906 Nobel Prize in medicine. It is widely accepted that he provided a basic foundation for modern neurosciences with his work on neuronal staining and synaptic transmission. What is missing in most accounts of his work is his longstanding interest and work on hypnosis and anomalous phenomena. This article summarizes that lost legacy, discusses other Spanish hypnosis pioneers and gives a brief overview of current hypnosis activities in Spain.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2008 Oct;56(4):361-72. Sala J, Cardeña E, Holgado MC, Añez C, Pérez P, Periñan R, Capafons A. Joan XXIII University Hospital, Tarragona, Spain.

Death and hypnosis: two remarkable cases.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported The First Recorded Death in Hypnosis in its issue of October 27, 1894. Ninety-nine years later, on September 23, 1993 a healthy 24-year old mother of two was found dead at home, fully clothed and draped across the foot of one of her children's bed, 5 hours after volunteering as a subject for a stage hypnosis show. The suggestion given to terminate the trance had been that when the hypnotist said, "Goodnight", several subjects would feel 10,000 volts of electricity through the seat of their chairs. Unknown to the hypnotist, she had been phobic about electricity ever since a childhood shock, and would not even change a light bulb or plug in a cord. The coroner's verdict was death by natural causes.

Am J Clin Hypn. 2008 Jul;51(1):69-75. Ewin DM. Tulane Medical School, USA. dabneyewin@aol.com

What Do we Really Know About How Lance-Corporal Adolf Hitler Was Treated by Psychiatrist

OBJECTIVE This paper inquires the hypothesis that Hitler's rise to power was in part due to a hypnotic therapy he had undergone when being treated for hysterical blindness at an army hospital in the town of Pasewalk in October 1918 - as recent contributions have argued. Edmund Forster, his psychiatrist at that time, is supposed to have suggested to Hitler that he would be ordained as Germany's redeemer in times of defeat, thus causing a profound change in his patient's personality. METHODS Following three lines of argument, this paper examines if such an assumption can be made plausible. Firstly, it takes a close look at the main historical source which is the novel THE EYEWITNESS, written in German language by the Czech-Jewish author Ernst Weiss. Then it asks if Forster is likely to have chosen hypnosis as a method of treatment. Finally, it exploits the work of the even lesser known author Alexander Moritz Frey who happened to serve close to Hitler as a medical orderly in WW I, thus trying to validate whether or not Hitler really underwent a change of personality in autumn 1918. RESULTS Although the eventualities of such a hypnotic treatment or a profound change in Hitler's behaviour in that time cannot be disproved, both seem highly unlikely. CONCLUSIONS One should altogether abandon the notion of Hitler having suffered a permanent change of personality in 1918, be it due to psychiatric treatment or to psychological trauma itself.

Theiss-Abendroth P. Psychiatr Prax. 2008 Jul 21.

From "psychical treatment" to psychoanalysis.

Freud's early article, "Psychical (or mental) treatment," first appeared in a health textbook for educated lay people. It was included in his Gesammelte Werke with the publication date of 1905. Subsequently, this date was questioned because the text dealt mainly with hypnosis and suggestion, so James Strachey, among others, erroneously changed it to 1890. This error is corrected in the present paper. Until now, no one noticed that a second edition of the textbook, which appeared in 1918-19, contained an amended version of Freud's original article in which he added a summary of psychoanalytic theory and practice. The first edition was published in 1905-06. However, Freud's contribution must have been written at a much earlier date. Its presumed date of composition is discussed. Freud's addition to the original text is reprinted in an appendix for the first time.

Luzif Amor. 2007;20(40):122-41. Fichtner G.

Institut für Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin, Goethestr. 6, D-72076 Tübingen. gerhard.fichtner@uni-tuebingen.de

How southern New England became magnetic north: the acceptance of animal magnetism.

Charles Poyen's lecture tour introducing animal magnetism to America has been described as triumphant (Forrest, 2000), but according to Poyen's own account (1837/1982) the beginning of his tour, devoted to northern New England, was anything but successful. Poyen success did not begin until he partnered with Cynthia Gleason, a talented hypnotic subject, from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The subsequent lectures and demonstrations by Poyen and Gleason generated the interest that Poyen had been seeking. Rhode Island appears to have developed a much more accepting attitude toward animal magnetism than the rest of New England as indicated by the wide use of magnetism in the Providence area even after Poyen had the left the United States. In this article, I examine the roles played by Cynthia Gleason as well as Thomas H. Webb, M.D., the editor of the Providence Daily Journal and Dr. Francis Wayland, the president of Brown University, and George Capron, M.D., in furthering the acceptance of magnetism in America.

Hist Psychol. 2007 Aug;10(3):231-48. Quinn SO. Department of Psychology, Salve Regina University, Newport, RI 02804, USA. sheila.quinn@salve.edu

Cajal's brief experimentation with hypnotic suggestion.

Spanish histologist Santiago Ramón y Cajal, one of the most notable figures in Neuroscience, and winner, along with Camillo Golgi, of the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries on the structure of the nervous system, did not escape experimenting with some of the psychiatric techniques available at the time, mainly hypnotic suggestion, albeit briefly. While a physician in his thirties, Cajal published a short article under the title, "Pains of labour considerably attenuated by hypnotic suggestion" in Gaceta Médica Catalana. That study may be Cajal's only documented case in the field of experimental psychology. We here provide an English translation of the original Spanish text, placing it historically within Cajal's involvement with some of the key scientific and philosophical issues at the time.

J Hist Neurosci. 2007 Oct-Dec;16(4):351-61. Stefanidou M, Solà C, Kouvelas E, Cerro MD, Triarhou LC. Economo-Koskinas Wing for Integrative and Evolutionary Neuroscience, Department of Educational and Social Policy, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece.

The fragmented account of Antoine Despine's magnetic cure of Estelle L'Hardy's dissociative disorder

Dr. Charles-Humbert Antoine Despine's (1777-1852) De L'Emploi du magnétisme animal et des eaux minerales dans le traitement des maladies nerveuses, suivi d'une observation très curieuse de guérison de névropathie [A Study of the uses of animal magnetism in the treatment of disorders of the nervous system followed by a case of a highly unusual cure of neuropathy] (Paris: Germer, Baillière, 1840) is one of the earliest published, complete accounts of a successful cure with animal magnetism of a dissociative disorder. Despine's methodical and gentle treatment of more than 20 patients with multiple personalities repeatedly brought fusion to separation. His writing style displays a lack of order and unity that resembles the dissociative symptoms of his patients, but the monograph's sloppiness belies Despine's methodical approach to his work and his thoughtful handling of his patients. This paper explores these inconsistencies and how translators of the monograph act as literary therapists for his confused and fragmented account.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2007 Oct;55(4):486-96. Comment in: Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2007 Oct;55(4):497-8. McKeown JM. Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018, USA. mejmd01@moravian.edu

Hypnosis and Religious Faith

by Paul G. Durbin, Ph.D.
A few years ago, I read an article in Family Weekly titled, "Boom Days For Devil Hypnosis" Hearing that title: what ideas, images, thoughts come to you? Thought the article had what I considered a very negative title, it was a very positive article on hypnosis in the health care field. The only reference to the devil was in the last paragraph, "Some conservative religious groups consider hypnosis to be the work of the devil."


Hypnosis in history and at present

The principal stages in the history of hypnosis are reviewed, from the forerunners of Mesmer to the founder of "animal magnetism" himself, to Braid, and the entire hypnological movement of the nineteenth century. The work of Freud and the then and later relationships between hypnosis and psychoanalysis are discussed. A personal interpretation is offered for the phenomenon of the ups and downs of the popularity of hypnosis and reasons given for why its application should never decline again. After a brief review of modern theories of hypnosis and hypnotic techniques, the importance of the subject, over and above its uses in medical treatment, is emphasized, for hypnosis can be used as an invaluable tool for investigating the extraordinary reconstructional and creative possibilities inherent in the outer reaches of the human psyche.

Mesmer minus magic: hypnosis and modern medicine

The implications and effects of the French commission that passed judgment on Mesmer's work is examined in light of the pioneering role of hypnosis as the first Western conception of a psychotherapy, the ancient philosophical debate between idealism and empiricism, and the conflict in modern medicine between biotechnological emphasis on cure and the need for care as many previously terminal illnesses are converted to chronic diseases. The panel's report is interpreted as negative about the literal theory of animal magnetism but actually supportive of the potential therapeutic power of suggestion and "positive thinking." This aspect of hypnosis is described as a forerunner of modern cognitive therapies of depression and other illnesses. The panel exerted a constructive effect in applying scientific method and rigorous evaluation to hypnotic treatment, an application of Enlightenment philosophy that presaged the Flexner era in modern medicine. Both hypnosis and medicine ultimately benefited.

Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305-5718, USA. dspiegel@leland.stanford.edu

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2002 Oct;50(4):397-406

Hypnosis and surgery: past, present, and future.

Hypnosis has been defined as the induction of a subjective state in which alterations of perception or memory can be elicited by suggestion. Ever since the first public demonstrations of "animal magnetism" by Mesmer in the 18th century, the use of this psychological tool has fascinated the medical community and public alike. The application of hypnosis to alter pain perception and memory dates back centuries. Yet little progress has been made to fully comprehend or appreciate its potential compared to the pharmacologic advances in anesthesiology. Recently, hypnosis has aroused interest, as hypnosis seems to complement and possibly enhance conscious sedation. Contemporary clinical investigators claim that the combination of analgesia and hypnosis is superior to conventional pharmacologic anesthesia for minor surgical cases, with patients and surgeons responding favorably. Simultaneously, basic research of pain pathways involving the nociceptive flexion reflex and positron emission tomography has yielded objective data regarding the physiologic correlates of hypnosis. In this article I review the history, basic scientific and clinical studies, and modern practical considerations of one of the oldest therapeutical tools: the power of suggestion.

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida 32610-0254, USA. awobst@anest.ufl.edu

Anesth Analg. 2007 May;104(5):1199-208

Remembrance of hypnosis past.

The history of the most enduring experimental design in hypnosis research is reviewed. More than 75 years of research converge to indicate that: (1) all of the phenomena produced in hypnosis by suggestion also can be produced by suggestion without the induction of hypnosis, (2) the induction of hypnosis produces a relatively small increase in responsiveness to suggestion, and (3) hypnotic and waking suggestion are highly correlated, in many cases rivalling the reliability of the suggestibility measure. The importance of these data to both clinical and experimental hypnosis is emphasized.

Kirsch I, Mazzoni G, Montgomery GH. Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, United Kingdom. i.kirsch@hull.ac.uk

Reassessment of hypnotic symptom removal by Freud and Bernheim.

As demonstrations of clinical efficacy, cases reported by Freud and Bernheim reveal an intrinsic advantage of hypnotic symptom removal over therapies requiring extended periods to achieve significant outcomes. They also lend support to Weitzenhoffer's survey of therapeutic results achieved during the classical (pre-1900) period.


The berserks--what was wrong with them?]

The terms berserk and going berserk reflect the violent and ferocious warriors and ruthless murderers of Scandinavia and Northern Europe, active from before the Viking age until the advent of Christianity. The main source on the phenomenon is the Old Norse literature, mainly the Icelandic sagas with their sober descriptive accounts of the berserks and their behaviour.


A symbolic defence of animal magnetism

The year 1843 saw the publication in Dresden of a comprehensive account of the magnetic treatment of a somnambulist. This date came relatively late in the history of animal magnetism in Germany, and coincided with the decline of the theory in medical circles. Perhaps it was for this reason that the authors commissioned Ludwig Richter, one of the most accomplished engravers of the day, to produce a plate of illustrations which were intended to act as a symbolic defence of the theory. They are examined in this article.

Universidad Complutense, Madrid.

Charcot, Freud and the unconscious

During the ten last years (1882-1892) of Charcot's (1825-1893), life he attempted to explain hysteria symptomas. He discussed clinical examples (hypnosis and hypnotherapy, "hystero-traumatism", "psychological theory of hysteria", "faith healing"). The psychological dimension went back into the Parisian Hospital Medicine. This occurred on the late XIXth century, just one century after Mesmer, when Freud was Charcot's intern, at La Salpetriere hospital, during years 1885-1886. The return of a non-rational thought into hospital medicine upset the organicist concepts of the Parisian "Ecole anatomo-clinique".

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.


Theodore X. Barber (1927-2005).

Presents an obituary for Theodore Xenophon Barber (1927-2005), one of the most prolific and influential researchers in the field of hypnosis. At the time of his death he was an active scholar in his private research enterprise, the Interdisciplinary Science Research Institute. A brief biography of Barber is followed by an overview of his published work, his theories and other influential accomplishments. Although hypnosis was the main focus of Barber's research, his interests and research encompassed other topics, including the phenomenon of investigator bias, psychical phenomena, and even comparative psychology.

State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, USA.

Death by hypnosis: an 1894 Hungarian case and its European reverberations

Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RH, United Kingdom. el260@cam.ac.uk

The story of a fatal hypnotic seance in a castle in provincial Hungary in 1894 was sensationalised by the media and propelled across national and social boundaries within a few days. It stirred public feelings and compelled prestigious medical mandarins, legal professionals and social commentators of the day to express wide-ranging views concerning hypnotic practice. The case intensified social and professional anxieties surrounding hypnosis in late 19th century culture and illustrates the complex relationship between medical hypnotic research, lay hypnosis and widely reported and sensationalised forensic cases.

Benjamin Franklin and the neurosciences

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who is better known in other fields, especially colonial politics and international diplomacy, was an early, major contributor to the neurosciences from the New World. Among his accomplishments are: experiments on medical electricity as a possible cure for the palsies and hysteria; the first descriptions of how electricity affecting the brain can cause a specific type of amnesia; supporting the idea that cranial shocks might provide a cure for melancholia; showing that the cures performed by the Mesmerists to remove obstructions, including nerve blockages, rest on gullibility and suggestion, and recognizing the dangers, including those to the nerves, posed by exposure to lead. Franklin?s neuroscience was firmly based on experiments, careful observations, and hard data ? and finding clinical relevance for new discoveries was always on his mind.

Department of Psychology, University of Washington, USA. sfinger@wustl.edu

Social suggestibility to central and peripheral misinformation

This study used a laboratory-based paradigm to investigate social influences on participants' susceptibility to misleading suggestions. Participants viewed a video clip of an action sequence with one or more peers, and then were required to discuss the event with the co-witness or with the group of co-witnesses. During the discussion a confederate, posing as a peer, presented misinformation about central and peripheral features of the co-witnessed event. Results indicated that participants were more susceptible to misleading suggestions during one-on-one discussions than during group discussions. In addition, participants were susceptible to misleading suggestions about central features of the witnessed event, although to a lesser extent than they were susceptible to misleading suggestions about peripheral features.

Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The blind protocol and its place in consciousness research

This paper describes the development of the blind protocol, and its place in this history of consciousness research. It was first devised by Croesus, King of the Lydians (BCE 560-547) and reported by Herodotus ( approximately BCE 484 - approximately 424), and was created to protect against fraud in assessing an Anomalous Perception (AP) event; a Remote Viewing (RV) experiment little different from those conducted today. Its next use in the 17th century was to study a peasant farmer, Jacques Aymar, who solved crimes with Anomalous Perception, using dowsing. Not only was a blind protocol employed, but the rudiments of controls were introduced to assess Aymar. The next documented use of a blind protocol in consciousness research occurred in 1784, when it was explicitly employed in the interest of science, and its history as a research technique can be said to have formally begun. King Louis the XVIth created a commission to evaluate Franz Anton Mesmer's claims concerning healing through "animal magnetism," administered while people were in a trance, and asked Benjamin Franklin to be the commission's head. The paper proposes that Franklin be considered the first parapsychologist. He created the blind protocol to answer the king's question as to whether "animal magnetism" was real, and he not only introduced demographic variables and controls, but literally blindfolded people, which is why today we call it the blind protocol. Franklin's observations also present the first recorded Western description of psychosomatic illness. An unintended consequence of Franklin's Mesmer study was the loss of the idea of psychophysical self-regulation (PPSR) as a research vector, although the English surgeon John Eliotson (1791-1868) apparently saw through the failure of Mesmer's explanatory model to the deeper insight in the form of hypnosis that was Mesmer's real discovery. He seems to have avoided all attempts at explaining how it worked but conducted a considerable number of surgeries using hypnosis as the anesthetic, anticipating its usage in this capacity a century later. So great was the disapproval of Mesmer, however, that no one seems to have gotten Eliotson's point. Franklin's protocol, though, rapidly became the gold standard of science. Rupert Sheldrake, however, carried out a survey of the leading scientific journals and discovered that the main use of the blind protocol is not in medicine per se, but parapsychology and consciousness research, in which it is used for the same purposes it was originally conceived: to winnow out fraud in anomalous consciousness events and to avoid introducing experimenter effects. Ultimately, though, the protocol may be based on a false assumption, because increasingly research in areas such as therapeutic intent/healing and remote viewing suggest that all consciousness from single-celled organisms to human beings may be interlinked through a nonlocal aspect of awareness they all share.


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