Hypnosis and Clinical Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Psychological and Psychosomatic Ailments



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Medical Journal of Babylon-Vol. 11- No. 2 -2014 مجلة بابل الطبية- المجلد الحادي عشر-العدد الثاني- 2014



Hypnosis and Clinical Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Psychological and Psychosomatic Ailments

Wael Mustafa Abu Hassan

Department of Health Sciences, Allied Medical College, Arab American, University of Jenin-AAUJ, West Bank, PALESTINE.


Review Article

Received 25 May 2014 Accepted 15 June 2014

Abstract

This review on hypnosis and clinical hypnotherapy in the treatment of psychological and psychosomatic ailments comes to shed the light on a topic since its inception is neglected in our Arab world, though historically and scientifically it had been evolved as it is the case of other clinical procedures. Tracing of the most significant efforts in the history of hypnotism, the nature of the phenomenon, its scope and process was of great importance to be addressed. Also, earlier, late and current evaluations of the subject from a scientific outlook were highlighted, where it was shown that hypnosis and hypnotherapy is a valid and reliable clinical tool in the treatment of many health problems. From here, it leads us to conclude that hypnosis and hypnotherapy is a significant clinical tool in medical practice; in past and at present. With hope that one day hypnosis and hypnotherapy will become a therapeutic choice for all who may need it; individuals, families and groups; for a healthy living, happiness and much better promising quality of life.



Key words: hypnosis, clinical hypnotherapy, treatment, psychological and psychosomatic ailments.

الخلاصة

تأتي هذه المراجعة حول التنويم المغناطيسي والعلاج بالتنويم المغناطيسي الاكلينيكي في معالجة الامراض النفسية والنفس جسدية لإلقاء الضوء على موضوع منذ بداياته نراه متجاهل في عالمنا العربي، على الرغم من انطلاقته العلمية والتاريخية الطويلة كغيره من الطرق الإكلينيكية الأخرى. استعراض أهم الجهود ذات الدلالة في تاريخ التنويم المغناطيسي، وطبيعة تلك الظاهرة، مجالاتها وعملياتها، كان من أهم ما تطرق اليه. أيضا تم تسليط الضوء على تلك التقويمات العلمية للموضوع، المتقدمة منها والمتأخرة، والمعاصرة، ومن وجهة نظر علمية، والتي من خلالها تم الكشف عن حقيقة أن التنويم المغناطيسي والعلاج بالتنويم المغناطيسي كأداة اكلينيكية ذا مصداقية ووثوقيه معتبرة في معالجة العديد من المشكلات الصّحية. وفي نهاية الامر، خلصنا الى ان التنويم المغناطيسي والعلاج بالتنويم المغناطيسي أداة اكلينيكية ذات دلالة في المراس الطبية؛ في الماضي والحاضر. مع الامل في ان يكون التنويم المغناطيسي والعلاج بالتنويم المغناطيسي يوما ما خيارا علاجيا لكل من قد يحتاجون اليه؛ افرادا، واسرا وجماعات؛ وكله من اجل حياة صحية، وسعادة ونوعية حياة واعدة.

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Introduction

Hypnosis as a technique for health issues that seems to have been originated with Budhism and other eastern meditative techniques of ancient India cultures, [1] as it is the story of sleep temples in ancient Egypt,[2] Greece and the Romans.[3] Literally speaking, hypnotism is a state where to place an individual in a sleep-like status, though as we will see it is a different state of sleep.

In the golden times of Islam and Muslims, Avicenna (Abu Ali Ibn Sina) (980-1037), the well known philosopher and physician of his time, was the earliest medieval age to make a distinction between natural sleep and the state of hypnosis, where in “The Book of Healing” (Kitab-ul-Shifaa) (published in 1027), he referred to the phenomenon as “Al-Wahm Al-Amil” (the working illusion). From Avicenna’s perspective, one could create conditions in another person to make him or her accept the reality of hypnosis [4].

Hypnosis as a modern science is documented in Paris as far back as the 18th century, where it was used as a medical tool in dealing with pain resolving troubles, and the Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) was the first to become a famous in using a form of hypnosis referred to as “animal magnetism” and later as “Mesmerism”[5].

True that within the same period of time, we find the Swiss priest Johann Joseph Gassner (1729-1779), to challenge “Mesmerism” and to judg Mesmer’s method as curing through “exorcism” and Mesmer to confront Glassner’s religious beliefs in a controversial scientific session before the Munich Academy of Sciences [6].

Later, we find Pope Pius VI (1717-1799) of Rome, to criticize Gassner’s views, where the later position becomes difficult; in the end to be forbidden to conduct “exorcisms” or see hypnotism as “exorcism”[7].

Later as an interested fellow in the phenomenon, the Scottish surgeon James Braid (1795-1860) was the first to publish a major book on hypnotism, named Neurypnology (1843), where he discussed hypnotism's historical precursors in a series of specialized varied articles [8]. Further, Braid was the first to draw analogies between his own practices of hypnotism and other various forms of Hindu yoga meditation and related ancient spiritual practices[9]. Braid was the one who coined the term "hypnotism" as an abbreviation for "neuro-hypnotism," meaning "sleep of the nerves,"[10] where from here the man was taken by many as the first genuine “hypnotherapist” and the “father of hypnotism.”[11]

Contemporary to Braid, John Elliotson (1791-1868), the President of the Royal Medical and Surgical Society of London performed successfully about 1834 surgeries while patients were under hypnosis. Also, within the same period of time, it was reported that James Esdaille (1808-1859) of Scotland, who is a famous British surgeon serving in India, as conducted about 2,000 operations (including amputations) with patients under hypno-anaesthesia, without feeling any pain [12].

Post Braid contributions and other British reputed figures, interest in hypnotism was temporarily waned for a while, gradually to be shifted from Great Britain to neighboring countries, to France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where clinical and medical research on the topic began to grow, reaching its peaks in 1880s on the hands of Auguste Ambrose Liebeault, Hippolyte Bernheim, Emile Coue de la Châtaigneraie, and Jean-Martin Charcot[13].

At the Nancy school, which is considered the most famous earlier French hypnosis-centered school of psychotherapy, Auguste Ambrose Liebeault (1823-1904) and Hyppolyte Bernheim (1840-1919) where the first to come out with the notion that hypnosis is a normal phenomenon, and as due their works to be documented in various languages[14].

Based on such scientific efforts, hypnosis become an accepted therapeutic medical tool in medical science, where over the course of four years, Bernheim alone utilized hypnotic inductions in the case of about 5,000 patients, with a 75% observed success rate[15].

Émile Coué (1857-1926) who studied on the hands of masters Liébeault and Bernheim, entered the arena as a psychologist and introduced a popular method of psychotherapy well based on autosuggestion[16]. His appreciated contributions made him to be seen by many medical critics as a second Nancy School per se [17].

In 1886, Jean-Martin Charcot (1835-1893), who becomes later the father of modern neurology in France, was the first to present his findings on the topic of hypnosis before the French Academy of Sciences; and albeit his critical conclusions that hypnosis is a manifestation of hysteria not a cure, hypnosis continued to be accepted and practiced as a therapeutic medical tool [18].

From the 1880s the examination of hypnosis passed from surgical doctors to mental health professionals, and Charcot’s works led the way for others, where his clinical observations and enlightening studies continued by his pupils, particularly, Pierre Janet (1859-1947). Janet becomes the first to describe the theory of dissociation; the splitting of mental aspects under hypnosis (or hysteria as it were seen) as well he is the one who provoked interest in the subconscious mind and laid the framework for reintegration therapy in the case of dissociation and dissociated personalities [19].

Another enlightened pupil from Vienna, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), who learned at the hands of Charcot himself, side by side with Janet, with some other medical reputed figures, like close friend Josef Breuer (1842-1925), we find them through hypnotism, strongly contributed enough to psychology, psychotherapy, the science of mind and other related mental processes [20].

In succession of Freud and Breuer, Clark Hull (1884-1952) who was an eminent experimental psychologist at Yale University, was the first American to present his data and observations on hypnosis, with a full description of the phenomenon in one of his revolutionary books, titled “Hypnosis and Suggestibility”[21].

Hull attempts dispelled all those misconceptions about hypnosis, and he did enough in comparing subjects’ capacities while in hypnotic states with those in the awake states, and much more [22].

Succeeding Hull, Milton Hyland Erickson (1901-1980) as a reputed American mental health professional (both psychologist and psychiatrist) becomes a figure in what is denoted later as medical and clinical hypnosis [23-26].

It is enough to know that Erickson was the founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis in addition of being an active fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychopathological Association. He is well noted for his distinguished approach to the unconscious mind as creative and solution-generating. Further, as a clinical hypnotist, the man noted in influencing plenty of psychological therapeutic techniques and related approaches, such as brief therapy, strategic family therapy, family systems therapy, solution focused brief therapy, in addition to his excellent contributions to the establishment and emergence of Neuro-Linguistic Programming -NLP [27].

Not to proceed further beyond, hypnosis and hypnotherapy becomes a well established medical procedure all over, where it is thoroughly investigated, taught, learned and clinically practiced at psychology, psychiatry, and neurology schools, faculties, departments and units of health care settings and medicine.




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