Hypnosis – Part 2: How Old Is It?

Hypnosis remains one of the most confusing treatment modalities available, yet its benefits have been known since the dawn of humankind. Until one hundred and fifty years ago, it wasn’t referred to as hypnosis, but more about that later.


Hypnosis – Part One: Why, and What Is It?

Some information comes from my memory, and some is available on Wikipedia. I will share the noteworthy details that are seared in my mind.

Ancient Greece

It was believed the ancient Greeks used hypnosis. Those afflicted with plaguing issues such as sleep deprivation or pain would prepare themselves for days to undergo a healing ritual.

After the stage was set, individuals visited a temple, laid down on a rudimentary chaise, and listened to the healer’s suggestions.

Messages whispered in their ears were intimations that their sleep would improve or their headaches would disappear.

How do we know this ancient form of healing was related to hypnosis?

They found carvings on temple columns or walls. The Greeks understood aspects of the unconscious mind, observing recipients’ belief in the medium and healer.

Over the next centuries, there was information about other practitioners in ancient Persia, and later, Switzerland.

Franz Mesmer

One noteworthy practitioner was Franz Mesmer, who I highlight in my story Mesmerize, the verb derived from the good doctor’s name. He founded the therapeutic movement, which he referred to as mesmerism.

According to, “the doctrine that one person can exercise influence over the will and nervous system of another and produce certain phenomena by virtue of a supposed emanation called animal magnetism,” 1798, from French mesmérisme, named for Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815)…”

Unfortunately, Dr. Mesmer’s narcissism contributed to his use of more drama, and during that period, his methods became viewed as less effective than such medical procedures as leeching. Later, Dr. Mesmer’s techniques were resurrected when others discovered the healing properties of the hypnotic experience.

More Modern Times

In the late 19th century, the phenomenon received its name twenty years after the death of James Braid, who referred to it as hypnosis from the Greek God of sleep, Hypnos. Although not sleep, it is understandable people confuse it with our somnolent state. I’ve seen people so relaxed they fall asleep during the session.

Jean-Martin Charcot, a neurologist, recognized the benefits of hypnosis. During his time, post-hypnotic suggestion was first described, and hypnosis migrated from the exclusive domain of medical professionals to those in mental health.

Sigmund Freud used hypnosis, and although he abandoned it for psychoanalysis, he recognized his newfound practice was rooted in hypnosis.

In the twentieth century, hypnosis remained a remedy for many.

During World War II, when pain medication was unavailable, hypnotic techniques were used to provide relief to injured soldiers.

Even the Catholic Church recognized its benefits. In 1956, the Pope sanctioned the use of hypnosis, as a serious medical treatment.

By the late fifties, hypnosis could not be denied as a treatment modality. Milton Erickson, M.D. founded the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and developed “Ericksonian” hypnosis which is practiced by many. Although I am not trained in this form, like others, I use some of the creative elements from this vein of hypnosis.

Again, I am honored to have trained with fabulous luminaries in hypnosis especially, Dr. Daniel Brown.

Many years ago, I was privileged to have met his mentor, Dr. Erika Fromm, who paved the way for us practitioners to recognize its benefits.

It Is Up To You!

“The incredible power of the unconscious mind,” a repeated quote, cannot be overstated.

Even other giants in personal development and the philosophy of success recognize its potency.

The great Napoleon Hill stated, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

He believed in auto-suggestion, which, in my humble opinion, emulates self-hypnosis.

I cannot enunciate the healing attributes of hypnosis enough. However, it is not magic, and its power can only be unleashed through collaboration with you. The bottom line? If you are determined, it can assist you beyond your imagination.

In the next section, I will discuss more about this amazing treatment modality.


Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett views herself as a life-long learner, a pursuer of excellence, a work-in-progress, and a seeker-of-the-truth. She is also referred to as the "Unstuck Expert" in her many roles. Why? Because for over thirty years, she has been assisting people to get unstuck. Darlene's primary roles are now Therapist, Hypnotherapist, and Author/Writer. Although she loves speaking, it is now secondary and done mainly through her podcast, "Get Unstuck Now. Because of her wealth of experience, Darlene began putting her thoughts on paper.  Many of her blogs can also be found on Medium, Sixty and Me, and Penning these articles set the stage for her first book, "Stop Depriving The World of You," traditionally published by Sound Wisdom. Being a believer in pushing oneself as long as one has life, Darlene has tried her hand at fiction, hoping to have something completed in the no-so-distant future. Over the years, Darlene has been described as animated or effervescent which contradicts the perception of a psychotherapist. She firmly believes in the importance of being authentic and discusses platinum-style authenticity in her book.

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