Valerie Grimes, Dallas Hypnotist Explains Mesmerism and Hypnosis.
This is part two of her series on ‘The History of Hypnosis.’
Another important aspect of Puysegur’s study of mesmerism (animal magnetism) was the realization that the success of the procedure was based on the person’s will to be healed. And he believed it was possible for them to magnetize themselves. The same is true today of hypnosis. The person must be willing and believe they can be transformed and they learn to perform self: hypnosis.
Marquis de Puysegur
During the early 1800s there were two camps: mesmerists in Europe who were engaged in the medical field and maintained the physical reality of animal magnetism; and the “animists” whose explanation of animal magnetism was more psychological then physical.
Jose-Custodio de Faria (1756-1819) continued the concept of Puysegur that the “real power was located in the subjects themselves.”
Henin de Cuvillers (1755-1841) promoted the view that the phenomena associated with mesmerism resulted from the combination of suggestion and belief.
Dr. John Elliotson (1791-1868) used mesmerism to treat disorders of the nervous system, including epilepsy, and hysterical paralysis. Elliotson admitted that he could not explain how healing occurred using his approach to mesmerism, this was not a great career move for him and resulted in a shift from the medical field to private parlors and sickrooms.
It would be just as difficult to explain how a prayer works. If you are looking for a scientific explanation for how a person is healed by intercessory prayer, you won’t find one. I feel the same way about hypnosis, it works when there is rapport and a belief on the part of the subject. However you can’t conduct a double blind study to produce a known process for the specific procedure used in that session.
Valerie Grimes, Dallas Hypnotist Explains Mesmerism and Hypnosis and how one transformed the other in her series on the History of Hypnosis. The coining of the term hypnosis will be covered in the next article.