This is an article reprint
By PAUL G. DURBIN SUBCONSCIOUSLY SPEAKING: NOV 03/FEB 04: VOL 19 NO 11.INTRODUCTION: (Edited version of speech delivered at IMDHA 2003 Conference):
Hypnosis is one of the tools that can be used to enhance healing, overcome unwanted habits, and create a more abundant life. Though hypnosis may not be a panacea, it is an excellent method of reaching the subconscious and using the power that God created within us. We offer a great service to those who desire change in their lives. We are at a crossroads and it is time that we step up and let the world know what we have to offer. Let us look at hypnosis – yesterday, today and tomorrow. 2. YESTERDAY: The first recorded use of hypnosis is found in the book of Genesis 2:21-22, So the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon man and while he sleep took one of his ribs and closed up its place with the flesh: and the rib which God took from the man. He made into woman and brought her to the man.
In this incident God used hypnosis as an anesthesia so that Adam felt no pain during the removal of his rib. Since that time, hypnosis has been used in almost every age and culture under a variety of names. 2A. THE MEDICINE MAN: Imagine going back several centuries into the past. You are running a high fever and the herbs that normally bring you relief have not helped so your family calls up the medicine man to come. With great expectation, you await his arrival. He is a great healer and very respected in the tribe. The medicine man comes and waves an eagle’s feather back and forth over your face. He chants words for releasing evil spirits and for healing and comfort. In a short time, the fever is gone and you are feeling well. The feathers passing over the face and the chants produced a hypnotic state and you were healed. 2B. SLEEP TEMPLE PRIEST: You have been having devastating headaches that come and go. When the headaches come, you can do nothing but lie down and pray for the headache to pass and go away. A friend tells you about miraculous healings taking place at the Sleep Temple in Athens which is about 15 miles from where you live.
Your choice of transportation may be camel, donkey, horse, wagon or walk. Whatever it takes, you make your way to the Sleep Temple. Once there, you enter a large room with many other sick people and people just wanting a good change in their lives. You lie down and the Priest begins to chant, chant, chant for healing, health, prosperity etc. until you go to sleep. You wake up feeling great and go through your life seldom experiencing headaches again. 2C. FRANZ ANTON MESMER, JAMES BRAID, JAMES ESDAILE, MILTON H. ERICKSON: Franz Anton Mesmer, a physician, was influenced by Father Hell and Father Gassner who were widely recognized for their healing services. Father Gassner would have those desiring to be healed brought into a room where they were told to wait. As their expectation mounted, Father Gassner would wait and then majestically enter the room, lower his cross on the head of a person to be healed and command, be healed. The person would collapse and upon command would rise, praising God for healing. [Morton, pIS]
Father Hell used hypnotic techniques and metal plates. He believed that illness occurred when the magnetism of the body was out of polarization. He would have his patients lie down and pass metal plates over them. His suggestions and the passes of the metal plates seemed to cure those who came to him for healing. The modern history of hypnosis is considered to begin with Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer (1735-1815). Mesmer came to the conclusion that it was the metal in Father Gassner’s cross that caused the cures as well as the religious significance of the cross. If the metal in the cross could bring cures, perhaps any metal could be used for healing. With this information and experiments conducted by Father Hell in mind, Mesmer began to develop his theory of “animal magnetism.
Though Mesmer facilitated the healing of many, a committee appointed by the King of France discredited him. The committee came to the conclusion that the cures came from the expectation and imagination of the patients and not from anything Mesmer did. It is interesting to note that the committee recognized the importance of the expectation and the imagination of the patient, but none of them followed up with studies on the value of expectation and imagination. Charles d’Eslen, a pupil of Mesmer, remarked concerning the committee’s findings, If the medicine of Imagination is best, why should we not practice the medicine of imagination. Other great names from Yesterday are James Braid, James Esdaile, Ambrose Liebeault, Hippolyte Bernheim, Milton H. Erickson and I am sure that you could name many more. All of these and others made great contributions to the understanding and use of hypnosis. 3. TODAY: Today is a great day for hypnotherapy and it is gaining ground in respectability each year.
However, we have a long way to go before we receive the full acceptance and respect that we deserve. I would compare the hypnotherapy of today with the chiropractors of 50 years ago. Chiropractors were fighting for recognition, for reimbursement from insurance, and respectability. In the 1980s, they won a restriction of trade law suite against the AMA and since that time they have been recognized as a legitimate profession and now receive the respect they deserve. In 1989, I represented National Association of Clergy Hypnotherapists, which is no longer active, at a Convention held in Santa Ana, California. The theme of that convention was “United We Stand.” From that meeting, the Council of Professional Hypnosis Organization was established.
The purpose of the organization is to work together to promote a positive acceptance of hypnosis in our country and the world. COPHO has done a lot of good for hypnotherapists, but we still have a long way to go, and we must keep working toward the national recognition of hypnotherapy with all the benefits that come from recognition. We must work together. I have often said that the various hypnotherapy organizations are their own worst enemies because of the infighting that sometimes goes on between organizations. Let us rise above our jealousies and competition and work together to get hypnotherapists licensed in every state in the USA. Not only should there be a door marked Hypnotherapy in every hospital, but licensed/registered hypnotherapists in every state. 4. TOMORROW: We have looked at yesterday, today and now look toward tomorrow. I believe that great times are ahead of us for the use of hypnotherapy. In order to fulfill our potential, we must work together. We can best fulfill our potential by respecting, uplifting, and learning from one another.
To put another hypnotherapist down is unproductive and detrimental to all hypnotherapists. A Rabbi once asked his pupils, Have you can tell when the night had ended and the day was dawning? Could it be when you can see an animal at a distance and can tell whether it is a sheep or a dog? Asked one of the students. No. Said the Rabbi. Could it be when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it is a fig tree or a peace tree? No. said the Rabbi. Well, when is it? demanded one student. It is when you look on the face of a woman or a man and see that she or he is you sister or brother because, if you cannot do this, then no matter what time it is, it is still night. Jesus said, A house divided by itself cannot stand. (Mark 3:25) There are mountains to climb and rivers to cross, but we are making advances which will be of great benefit to the people of our world. Let us accept the challenge in unity and begin to climb the mountains and cross the rivers as we fulfill our mission. Let us work toward the full recognition of hypnotherapy practiced by licensed/registered professional hypnotherapists and others.