ONE DAY INTENSIVE STAGE HYPNOSIS CLASS Barry Jones with guest speaker Bill Anapoell MD June 19th San Diego and July 9th Devon, UK

ONE DAY INTENSIVE STAGE HYPNOSIS CLASS Barry Jones with guest Speaker Bill Anapoell MD June 19th San Diego and July 9th Devon UK

This will be a fun, fast and comprehensive overview of stage hypnosis. Performing
inductions is simple, in fact, Barry can cover every variation in 10 minutes or less.
Evangelical, Instant or traditional progressive inductions? There is nothing complex or
magical about them. There is no right or wrong! Use what works for you, AND realistically,
what keeps on getting you hired back.


The American Psychological Association (HDC hypnosis definition committee 2015)
seems to be no further forward with their understanding of what hypnosis really is.
Whatever you learn and from whom, is always going to be open to debate until enough
money is invested into peer-reviewed research. The academics postulate their theories and
there are many! In the same way, the stage hypnosis community does the same.


Barry feels very fortunate to have Bill Anapoell MD as a guest speaker. An Internist at
Scripps Mercy Hospital, Hillcrest, San Diego, Bill is passionate about hypnosis and its
application in medicine as well as being a wonderful entertainer. Bill received his clinical
hypnosis training through Mary Elizabeth Raines, David Snyder, Anthony and Freddie
Jacquin, Marc Savard and John Zulli; and his stage hypnosis training with Jerry Valley,
Marc Savard and Justin Tranz.


Being in front of an audience came naturally for Barry Jones. Twelve years of teaching at
California universities sharpened public speaking skills and stage presence. Barry reveals
comedy timing as his pièce de résistance. Like any good athlete or musician that makes a
performance seem effortless, there are countless learning experiences a stage performer goes
through to achieve a refined level of expertise.
In the One Day Intensive Stage Hypnosis class, Barry shares and elucidates how his
learning opportunities refined his performance success. In this age of succinct information,
the Intensive class provides you the basic skills to put on your own show. Many people like
the thought of performing a show and probably have the skills to pull it off, but for ‘some
reason’ it just does not happen. This course works on effectively addressing those mental
blocks.


The Intensive Stage Hypnosis class gives you the tools; showing you how to use them
effectively and efficiently. You just apply them.
Please do not hesitate to review Barry’s webpage at www.barryjones.com
Bill Anapoell MD http://about.me/hypnodoc


For those taking the course, you are welcome to see any of Barry Jones’ performances in
May/June 2016. All students will have continued access to Barry via phone, email or Skype.
Course materials will be supplied as an adjunct to material covered.
Cost is $500.00 and UK £400.00
Location: San Diego and Tavistock Devon

Hypnotically Induced Emotional States

Since an emotion is generally regarded as a combination of the activities of the ANS, the subjective perception of these activities, and the accompanying ideation, it follows that hypnotically suggested emotional states are closely related to the physiological effects of hypnosis. Because the ANS is generally not under voluntary control, many of the physiological effects producible under hypnosis may in fact be mediated by emotional states that are more directly produced by hypnotic suggestion.

Hodge and Wagner (1964) cited a collection of studies that utilized hypnotically induced emotional states to test the validity of the Rorschach test by inducing various emotional states in subjects and seeing if the resultant Rorschach protocol was changed in the predicted direction (Bergmann, Graham, and Leavitt, 1947; Counts and Mensh, 1950; Lane, 1948; Levine, Grassi, and Gerson, 1943; Mercer and Gibson, 1950; Sarbin, 1939). They then embarked on a line of inverse research designed not to demonstrate the validity of a projective technique but to show the reality of hypnotically suggested emotional states by demonstrating that these states produced appropriate changes in responses to a projective test assumed to be valid. For this purpose, the Hands Test, which consists of nine pictures of a pair of hands in ambiguous positions, was used. The subject was required to describe the activities the hands were engaged in. For a tenth card, which was blank, the subject was required to imagine a set of hands and describe their activities. In the first study, a middle-aged patient was used as the only subject. She was tested in the normal waking condition to establish a baseline and was diagnosed as a passive-dependent personality type. She was then given the test under neutral hypnosis, with remarkably similar results. She was subsequently administered this test under five different hypnotically induced emotional states (with instructions after each testing to forget the test). The five emotional states suggested were:

1. Dwelling on a happy thought.

2. Anticipating a pleasant sexual experience.

3. Unhappiness over her husband leaving her.

4. Anger over unjust criticism.

5. Falling in love.

Hodge found that in each state, the patient's basic personality features were reflected in test results, but the effects of the suggested emotional state were also apparent.

In a follow-up study, seven subjects were tested to permit a statistical analysis of results. Only two induced emotional states, affection and aggression, were used. Responses to the Hands Test obtained in these states were compared to the results obtained from the administration of the test in the waking and neutral hypnosis conditions. In both emotions, it was found that the number of test responses appropriate to the suggested emotion increased from the baseline condition. It was also noted that responses appropriate to the noninduced emotion were lower than in the baseline condition (Hodge, Wag-ner, and Schreiner, 1966a). Hodge, Wagner, and Schreiner (1966b) con-cluded that a hypnotically induced emotion can be considered similar to a naturally occurring one, provided it can be demonstrated that the behavior and test responses of subjects are similar (under the hypnotically induced emotion) to their behavior and test responses under the naturally occurring emotion. They also found that the subject's behavior was different from that In the control state, that each test situation was perceived by the subject as a new experience, and that the effects of acting could be eliminated.

About Forensic Hypnosis

About Forensic Hypnosis

Contributor

By Timothy Sexton  eHow Contributing Writer

Article Rating:

(

0

Ratings)

Forensic hypnosis is the use of hypnosis in the field of law enforcement. Forensic use of hypnosis is often used to help witnesses recall events and descriptions of suspects that normal memory recall cannot. One thing that a forensic hypnotist cannot do is and is never called to do is to help a suspect confess to a crime. Not only is this impossible, but any confession arrived at through hypnosis would never be admissible in court.

 

  1. Purpose
  2.  
  3. There are basically two purposes for using forensic hypnosis. The most common purpose is to induce relaxation when anxiety and stress may be obstructing a witness' ability to recall as much information as possible. The second use of forensic hypnosis occurs when retrieval of information from witnesses cannot be be acquired through any other means.
  4. Origin
  5. The very first court case to involve forensic hypnosis was Cornell v. Superior Court of San Diego in 1959. Although forensic hypnosis is mostly used by prosecutors, in this particular court case, it was the defense that use hypnosis as an aid in preparing its strategy. Since then, many famous cases have used hypnosis as an aid, including the Ted Bundy trial in Florida and the Sam Sheperd murder trial.
  6. Admissibility
  7. Currently no overriding judgment has yet been handed down regarding admissibility of evidence achieved through forensic hypnosis. For this reason, the use of such evidence varies from one jurisdiction to the next. Adding to the problem of reliability of such evidence is the fact that very often solid evidence has been devalued as a result of unprofessional circumstances surrounding the obtaining of evidence through hypnosis.
  8. Observation
  9. In order to ensure that solid forensic hypnosis that facilitates the investigation of a crime is not devalued, it has become standard and vital operating procedure that all hypnosis sessions are recorded on video and audio and that the session is witnessed by independent observers. In addition, to further strengthen the case, the hypnosis must be performed by a trained forensic hypnotist.
  10. Conditions
  11. Before a forensic hypnotist is allowed to begin a session, one very important condition must be met. The subject must be assured that during the hypnotic session no attempt shall be made to elicit any information that is not directly relevant to the investigation. In addition, the forensic hypnotist must also assure the subject that no information retrieved will lead to self-incrimination.
  12. Criticism
  13. Criticism of forensic hypnotism centers around the accuracy and reliability of the evidence that is obtained. The concern that the evidence is simply not accurate because the witnesses could not remember on their own is omnipresent when hypnosis is used. The more profound criticism is that hypnotism may facilitate memory to the point of creating memories through the use of leading questions.

Therapist opens mind to hypnosis

Therapist opens mind to hypnosis

Leslie McCall of En Route Hypnotherapy on Martin Street says hypnotherapy assists in reaching goals that have been unattainable, using positive, self-empowering suggestions. The therapist can help people use their minds to deal with a variety of issues, including health matters.

Mark Brett/Western News

By 

Kristi Patton - Penticton Western News

Published: January 21, 2010 6:00 PM Updated: January 22, 2010 3:41 PM

Don’t expect hypnotherapist Leslie McCall to pull out a gold watch and start wooing you into a state of subconsciousness to get you to cluck like a chicken.

“Hypnotherapy is more of what it is not. You talk about hypnosis and people think Uncle Roy doing the chicken dance,” said McCall. “It’s not that, that is stage hypnosis and that is not what we are about at all. I’m a hypnotherapist and I can do treatments for a multitude of problems.”

McCall opened En Route Hypnotherapy earlier this month in Penticton after graduating from the Pacific Institute of Advanced Hypnotherapy in New Westminister. It was there she took in 160 hours of training learning the theory of the conscious and subconscious mind, how memory works, how brain waves work and practical training hypnotizing people.

The businesswoman and former registered nurse said the brain cycles at about 40 cycles per second when engaged in conversation and drops to four to seven cycles under hypnosis.

“Your conscious mind disengages and wanders while your subconscious mind is what I deal with. When your brain waves are that slow and that relaxed I can put positive suggestions in,” she said.

This is where McCall can assist the client in reaching goals that have been unattainable, using positive, self-empowering suggestions that are accepted by the subconscious mind. Some of the things McCall said hypnotherapy can aid include depression, pain control, allergy relief, fears and phobias, migraines, sports performance, smoking cessation, childbirth, insomnia, exam anxiety and much more.

According to McCall, it is not unheard of to find many top athletes, including Olympians, who use hypnosis to visualize their goals.

“Everybody comes out feeling just great. At my school people would regularly come in just to feel good. You are energized and positive,” she said.

McCall stresses that hypnosis is not mind control and that the client is in control at all times and can get up and leave whenever they wish. And, almost everything that she can help with can be done in one session.

For example someone that wants to quit smoking can book a two-hour session which starts with McCall asking questions regarding why the person wants to quit.

They are then put into a hypnotic state and then she tells the subconscious, which takes the words as truth because it is not analyzed by your conscious mind, how bad smoking is, reaffirms the reasons why you want to quit, provides a method to relax when the client does find they have cravings amongst other things.

“The client often throws their cigarettes in the garbage right away. The change is immediate,” she said.

The client is given a CD to play at night while they are sleeping that reaffirms the positive words McCall has already given.

While there are skeptics out there, McCall said there is overwhelming evidence showing the value of the treatment. She added that in 1958, the Canadian Medical Association and Canadian Psychological Association endorsed hypnosis.

En Route Hypnotherapy is located at 461 Martin St. and McCall can be reached for more information or to make an appointment at 250-497-2047 or by email at leslieamccall@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hypnosis

What is hypnosis? ---It is movement of brain wave states; I say movement because at any point in time an individual can be drifting through multiple brain wave patterns.

These patterns can be measured as a frequency response and can be measure by an EEG machine.

These frequency responses are described as Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. The state of hypnosis is typically related to the Theta brain wave response. However in my opinion theta shows constant vacillation with other brain wave states.

In simplified terms these brain wave states can be measured on a graph. The amplitude or height of the response is indicative of how are mind is functiong. Beta brain waves show a very active mind and therefore they spike the highest on a graph. This the brain wave state that would describe daily activity

Alpha state is slightly meditative; almost a feeling of melancholy if anybody is in to yoga it is the feeling you get right at the end of the class when you take shabasa. You’re not asleep but just floating on that cusp.

We then come to Theta, which is the highly responsive part of the brain that is associated with hypnosis

This state of hypnosis shows less amplitude on our graph due to the fact that the conscious mind is in a state of hibernation. The sub conscious is still hyperactive and very open to suggestion. The conscious mind although in hibernation still knows what is going on but is quite happy to kick back and observe ---If conflict occurs with its personal values it will quickly revert to an active conscious state.

Do not

Although as simple as these sounds this is the best way to think about hypnosis. Far to many people intellectualize the state of hypnosis and subsequently prevent them from experiencing it.

Delta describes a deep deep state of relaxation—This is the brain wave state where we heal and recuperate, where we charge our engines for the following day. It is often difficult to get an individual to awaken from this state. The conscious mind will step in, but it does not like to----It is self-preservation, it knows that it needs deep rest. Do not ignore this restorative state or you will end up physically and emotionally exhausted

As a hypnotist I remove the way of communicating between Beta and Theta. The way we access hypnosis is to travel through alpha- It is the bridge to the hypnotic state. With your permission you allow me to guide you across this bridge –In essence my voice becomes the bridge that carries you to the highly receptive hypnotic state

Although all hypnosis is self-hypnosis autohypnosis for most is still difficult. The need to have a therapist or facilitator takes away the thought process allows for a more successful experience.

Understanding basic brain wave patterns gives a better handle of what hypnosis is. An incredible self-development tool that can have a profound effect on every aspect of our life. Keep hypnosis simple stupid and sit back and reap the rewards.

If you need further information on the subject do not hesitate to call me at 1-800-956-7806 or go to my web page at www.barryjones.com

Hypnosis, local anaesthesia = good outcome

BRUSSELS, June 21 (UPI) -- Using both hypnosis and local anesthesia for some surgery can speed healing and reduce drug use and time spent in hospital, Belgian researchers say.

Fabienne Roelants and Dr. Christine Watremez of Cliniques Universitaires St. Luc in Brussels said in one study, 18 women out of 78 women had hypnosis for a number of breast cancer surgical procedures -- partial mastectomy, examination of lymph nodes and opening the armpit to examine or remove some or all of the lymph nodes. The rest had general anesthesia.

Although the hypnotized patients spent a few minutes more in the operating room, opioid drug use in the first group was greatly diminished, as was time in the recovery room and in the hospital, the researchers said.

In the thyroid study, the researchers compared the outcomes of 18 patients in the local anesthesia/hypnosis group with 36 who had general anesthesia and the results were similar.

"In addition to reducing drug use and hospital stay time, being able to avoid general anesthesia in breast cancer surgery is important because we know that local anesthesia can block the body's stress response to surgery and could therefore reduce the possible spread of metastases," Roelants said.

The findings were presented at the European Anaesthesiology Congress in Amsterdam.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

 

 

Meeting with a Remarkable Man

Personal Tales of Milton H. Erickson by Bill O'Hanlon Crown House, 2009 Review by E. James Lieberman, M.D. Dec 15th 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 51)

Hypnosis seems to be an ugly duckling in regard to training clinicians and researchers in the mental health professions. It's fascinating, and open to many theories and research approaches, but seems tainted by association with mysticism and charlatans.  It is said that ten percent of the population is highly hypnotizable, another ten percent indifferent or immune, and the great majority somewhere in between. Much of therapy--like parenting, teaching, politics, religion, sports, literature etc.--is suffused with suggestion.  Yet few are aware of how they--we--act and talk suggestively. According to Peter Brown (reference below), if you can read this, you are trained in self-hypnosis: you can convert arbitrary symbols--letters on a page--to meaningful images and ideas.

This compact disk is one of six produced by marriage and family therapist O'Hanlon, who has conducted over 2000 seminars and workshops and authored or coauthored 29 books. A good, easy-going speaker, O'Hanlon relates his experience with this "amazing man," Milton Erickson, M.D. (1902-1980). The two met in 1973 when O'Hanlon, a student at Arizona State, did some gardening for the Ericksons and then became his student.

O'Hanlon describes a few cases that characterized his mentor's style: sensitive, imaginative, bold; sometimes cryptic, often paradoxical. He calls Erickson a "wounded healer," who transcended polio as a teenager before deciding to go to medical school because he could no longer be a farmer. A great observer, Erickson trusted his unconscious and often used indirect suggestion to engage that of his patient.

This is an attractive introduction to a complex, ingenious therapist and, to many, a guru. A handful of his colleagues and students sometimes seem to compete for his mantle. Erickson's papers are collected in four volumes. There is an excellent biography, Milton H. Erickson, M.D.: An American Healer (2006) edited byBetty Erickson and Bradford Keeney.  For a broader introduction, TheHypnotic Brain by Peter Brown, M.D. (1991) has a fine example of Erickson's approach, while addressing the hypnotic phenomenon generally in its many guises.

Having studied hypnosis only in the last decade of my psychiatric career, I regret that it earns so little respect in academic circles and the health professions.  The relatively few who are trained in hypnosis have learned to pay attention to how we sound when we talk: content is important, but so is context and giving preference to positive rather than negative statements. Students of hypnosis benefit from knowing how we weaken our persuasive messages or influence more than we intend to.  Respectable researchers have made important contributions to this neglected subject in recent decades. Hypnosis is probably as well understood as most talking therapies. This CD is a good starting place for anyone interested in a psychological phenomenon that includes everything from the mundane to the mind-boggling.

Brain Imaging Studies Investigate Pain Reduction By Hypnosis

9 April 2005Although hypnosis has been shown to reduce pain perception, it is not clear how the technique works. Identifying a sound, scientific explanation for hypnosis' effect might increase acceptance and use of this safe pain-reduction option in clinical settings. Researchers at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the Technical University of Aachen, Germany, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to find out if hypnosis alters brain activity in a way that might explain pain reduction. The results are reported in the November-December 2004 issue of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.

The researchers found that volunteers under hypnosis experienced significant pain reduction in response to painful heat. They also had a distinctly different pattern of brain activity compared to when they were not hypnotized and experienced the painful heat. The changes in brain activity suggest that hypnosis somehow blocks the pain signal from getting to the parts of the brain that perceive pain.

"The major finding from our study, which used fMRI for the first time to investigate brain activity under hypnosis for pain suppression, is that we see reduced activity in areas of the pain network and increased activity in other areas of the brain under hypnosis," said Sebastian Schulz-Stubner, M.D., Ph.D., UI assistant professor (clinical) of anesthesia and first author of the study. "The increased activity might be specific for hypnosis or might be non-specific, but it definitely does something to reduce the pain signal input into the cortical structure."

The pain network functions like a relay system with an input pain signal from a peripheral nerve going to the spinal cord where the information is processed and passed on to the brain stem. From there the signal goes to the mid-brain region and finally into the cortical brain region that deals with conscious perception of external stimuli like pain.

Processing of the pain signal through the lower parts of the pain network looked the same in the brain images for both hypnotized and non-hypnotized trials, but activity in the top level of the network, which would be responsible for "feeling" the pain, was reduced under hypnosis.

Initially, 12 volunteers at the Technical University of Aachen had a heating device placed on their skin to determine the temperature that each volunteer considered painful (8 out of 10 on a 0 to 10 pain scale). The volunteers were then split into two groups. One group was hypnotized, placed in the fMRI machine and their brain activity scanned while the painful thermal stimuli was applied. Then the hypnotic state was broken and a second fMRI scan was performed without hypnosis while the same painful heat was again applied to the volunteer's skin. The second group underwent their first fMRI scan without hypnosis followed by a second scan under hypnosis.

Hypnosis was successful in reducing pain perception for all 12 participants. Hypnotized volunteers reported either no pain or significantly reduced pain (less than 3 on the 0-10 pain scale) in response to the painful heat.

Under hypnosis, fMRI showed that brain activity was reduced in areas of the pain network, including the primary sensory cortex, which is responsible for pain perception.

The imaging studies also showed increased activation in two other brain structures -- the left anterior cingulate cortex and the basal ganglia. The researchers speculate that increased activity in these two regions may be part of an inhibition pathway that blocks the pain signal from reaching the higher cortical structures responsible for pain perception. However, Schulz-Stubner noted that more detailed fMRI images are needed to definitively identify the exact areas involved in hypnosis-induced pain reduction, and he hoped that the newer generation of fMRI machines would be capable of providing more answers.

"Imaging studies like this one improve our understanding of what might be going on and help researchers ask even more specific questions aimed at identifying the underlying mechanism," Schulz-Stubner said. "It is one piece of the puzzle that moves us a little closer to a final answer for how hypnosis really works.

"More practically, for clinical use, it helps to dispel prejudice about hypnosis as a technique to manage pain because we can show an objective, measurable change in brain activity linked to a reduced perception of pain," he added.

(Source: University Of Iowa: April 2005.)

Hypnosis, Guided Imagery and Fibromyalgia

According to a recent systematic review published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, hypnosis and guided imagery may not improve fibromyalgia-related quality of life. Fibromyalgia is a complex, disabling, chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue and stiffness in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. There may also be multiple tender points, which are areas of the body which experience pain upon slight pressure. Fibromyalgia may also be associated with sleep problems, depression and an inability to think clearly.

Currently, a cure for fibromyalgia is lacking. However, some treatments may be effective at reducing symptoms, such as medications, behavioral interventions, support groups, patient education and exercise. In mild cases, a reduction in stress and certain lifestyle changes may be enough to manage the disease. These changes may include counseling, regular exercise, physical therapy, healthy sleep habits, and stress reduction.

The recent meta-analysis and systematic review combined the results of six controlled trials. There was a total of 239 patients with fibromyalgia who received an average of nine hypnosis and guided imagery sessions.

Hypnosis, which is also known as hypnotherapy, is a trance-like state of altered consciousness in which the patient experiences increased focus, concentration, and openness to suggestion. Guided imagery is the process of directing a person's thoughts through suggestions that direct towards a relaxed and focused state.

The results showed that hypnosis and guided imagery did not statistically significantly reduce limitations in health-related quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia at the time of final treatment. Due to lack of available data, changes in fatigue, sleep, depressed mood, and health-related quality of life at follow-up were not calculated.

The researchers concluded that due to few available trials and trials of poor quality, future well-designed trials are necessary to adequately assess the impact of hypnosis and guided imagery on fibromyalgia.

In an evidence-based clinical review, Natural Standard found that hypnosis and guided imagery had unclear or conflicting evidence in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Further well-designed research may be necessary to realize their potential benefits. Natural Standard found, however, that both hypnosis and guided imagery have good scientific evidence for the treatment of certain types of headache and pain. In addition, hypnosis also has good scientific evidence as an adjunct to cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and for treating anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

For more information about fibromyalgia, please visit Natural Standard's database.

References

  1. Bernardy K, Fuber N, Klose P, et al. Efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery in fibromyalgia syndrome - a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Jun 15;12:133. View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com

POSTGAME NOTES: Maybe that hypnotist could help elsewhere, a rare double-bogey for Vogey, Cabrera not showing himself much of an upgrade

In for Baggs on another night of offensive offense … A really good story came across the Associated Press wire today by the service’s longtime Bay Area reporter, Janie McCauley. It was about Bruce Bochy’s season-long ability to stay off canned tobacco snuff with the help of a hypnotist. Bullpen coach Billy Hayes and clubhouse manager Mike Murphy also signed up for the hypnosis therapy and have had similarly successful results getting off the dip.

So now, my twisted take: If this hypnotherapy works so well between the cheeks and gums of Bochy and Giants support staff, do you suppose it might have some positive effect between Giants’ hitters ears? At this point, anything might be worth a try. Holy popup, Batman, this is like a really baddeja vu movie, only instead of Groundhog Day, it’s more like Groundout Day.

The Giants were shackled by Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton Monday night for eight innings. OK, Morton’s probably the Pirates’ best pitcher, but this team came into town on a worse streak than the current stock market. They’d lost 10 in a row, and they just got royally strafed by the powderpuff Padres … AT HOME. You’ve gotta beat these boys while their chins are dragging the chalk lines.

Yet the Giants mounted rallies like Boy Scouts on a rainy camping trip using 30-year-old matches. Two on, nobody out in both the second and fourth innings and both times it turned to squat. Short fly to left, force groundout, strikeout in the second. Strikeout, double play grounder in the fourth. With one out and two on in the fifth, comebacker to the mound that’s quickly turned into an easy DP. There were lesser failures we won’t even delineate. You saw them, you know the perpetrators, and you continue to be horrified by them.

Bochy is at the end of his rope, which is saying something even for a guy who’s gone four months without a big pinch of Copenhagen. He said afterward, ”We have to get our mojo back. We’ve lost it and we know it … but we need to get it back sooner than later.”

Get the mojo back? Everybody’s in favor, but at this point, it may require a hypnotist, or an exorcist, or perhaps even an arsonist. But let’s stick with the hypnosis hypothesis for now: “Look into my eyes. You are getting sleepy, sleepy, very sleepy …  OK, here we go, fellas: You will not swing from your behind when a simple well-struck ball to the right side will do. You will see a situation and maybe drop a surprise bunt, even if the manager doesn’t call for it (and he didn’t on this night when maybe he should have). You will try to think about what a pitcher is going to throw you in a certain count instead of just winging it. You will remain calm and loose instead of becoming a grimacing ball of tension and trying to win the game all by yourself by hitting one off the big Coke bottle. You will try to protect with two strikes instead of gazing dumbfoundedly at a called third. And, you Mr. Rowand, enough with the goofy gyrations, just stand up there and rake. OK, got it, guys? Now I’m going to snap my fingers and I want you snap out of it — pretty please — then go win some bleedin’ ballgames with your bats!”

Truth be told, I’m not a big believer in hyponosis. But a little levity might be the order of another bad day. If fans keep grinding on this offensive ineptitude, they may need a psychiatrist, not a hypnotist.

Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr uses Hypnobirthing to have son naturally

Written by

Heather VanNest

Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr used Hypnobirthing techniques to give birth to her son. She says the daily, relaxation breathing exercises and guided imagery she used while she was pregnant had a lot to do with the calm demeanor of her baby boy.

Hypnobirthing classes don't actually involve traditional hypnosis. Women use specific breathing exercises to relax enough so that they don't need epidurals or medications which are usually given to speed up labor (and can intensify contractions).

 Kerr joins actress Jessica Alba who also talked about taking these classes to have a medication-free natural birth. The specific training exercises allow for a more peaceful birthing process.

While natural, medication-free births are common in other countries, it is less likely a woman in the United States would have a natural birth.

The U.S. also has one of the highest c-section rates in the world. Florida has the highest c-section rate in the country. The reasons for the high rate include convenience, medical malpractice concerns, age/health of mother. Recovery can take longer compared to natural birth.

I interviewed many Hypnobirthing mothers who told me the techniques trained them to relax their entire bodies so they could have a peaceful birth experience.

It's another birthing option for parents to consider.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I paid for the classes to see if they would work for me.

 

10 News

The dangers of hypnotic regression

Hypnosis is a safe and effective therapeutic procedure in the hands of a trained hypnotist, but it can be dangerous in the hands of an amateur.

By: Jaime T. Licauco

12:23 am | Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

The growing acceptance of the concept of reincarnation, despite our strong Catholic orientation, has given rise to a good number of individuals performing past life hypnotic regression, even though they may not be qualified to do so.

I’ve heard, for example, some psychics, fortune tellers, mediums, exorcists and even feng shui specialists practicing it.

Hypnosis is a safe and effective therapeutic procedure in the hands of a trained hypnotist, but it can be dangerous in the hands of an amateur. We’ve all heard stories of people performing hypnotic spells on others for criminal purposes. Many store cashiers and even bank tellers have been victimized by such criminals.

One dramatic case of an ordinary housewife who was hypnotized by an amateur hypnotist to go back to a previous life had disastrous consequences. The woman was regressed to a past life several hundred years before, when she was a beautiful and accomplished person.

She identified herself so much with that glorious past life, compared to her drab and uninteresting present life, that she had difficulty accepting her present status. She wanted to remain living in the past.

This is the story contained in the book, “The Search for Bridey Murphy,” which was made into a movie in Hollywood.

Because it is very easy to place a person under hypnosis, I have always refused to perform past life hypnotic regression on TV.

That’s why I was surprised to learn that Oprah Winfrey once showed an episode where a hypnotist placed a woman in a trance and brought her back to a past life, before the camera, from beginning to end.

Bandwagon

According to psychologists, about 70 percent of the population can be hypnotized, and the rest cannot. That’s why hypnosis should be done only by competent and highly trained hypnotists.

But Filipinos being what they are, everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon without realizing its possible dangers or negative consequences.

Several years ago, I got a frantic phone call from a teenager. What happened was, several cousins ages 17-19 gathered to perform a past life hypnotic regression on their 18-year-old female cousin by using a procedure from a book on hypnosis. They succeeded in putting her in a trance and moving her back several hundred years.

Then all of a sudden, the hypnotized subject became agitated and started crying profusely. They tried to wake her up by shaking her shoulders. It didn’t work. They even slapped her, it didn’t work either. She remained in deep trance, crying.

Fortunately, one of them remembered me and looked for my number in the phone directory. They told me what happened. I asked to talk to the person who gave the entranced subject the hypnotic induction.

I gave him instructions on what to do to wake her up and call me afterwards. After about five minutes, one of them called me up and informed me the subject had waken up. I told them never to play again with hypnosis. They learned their lesson the hard way.

I have been conducting past life hypnotic regression for more than 20 years now in the Philippines and for three years in Poland. I have never had any problem of this nature. I always advise my students to never allow anybody to hypnotize them, no matter how light it is, unless they know the background of the person doing it. It should never be done by anybody who is not properly and competently trained for it.

My next Inner Mind Development seminar will be on Aug. 13-14, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rm. 308 Prince Plaza I, Legazpi St., Legazpi Village, Makati. For details, please call tel no. 8107245 or cell phone no. (0920) 981-8962; email jaimetlicauco@yahoo.com Visit our website: www.jimmylicauco.com.

 

Hypnosis tackles problems at their roots

To tackle a problem, one must address its roots. This axiom holds true for many things, and forms the cornerstone of hypnotherapy - a form of therapy that uses hypnosis to help a person overcome habits, beliefs or emotions that have a negative impact on his life. Giselle Gianella Gabe (pictured above), a certified professional hypnosis instructor residing in Singapore, explains to AsiaOne Health that such negative beliefs, habits and emotions have their roots in the subconscious mind, which has an inbuilt protective mechanism that guards it from unnecessary changes. Unfortunately, the same protective mechanism also means that once a false belief has taken root within the subconscious mind, it is very difficult to correct or dispel it. This is where hypnosis comes in.

"For real, permanent change, you need to work on the subconscious mind in order to achieve both cognitive and emotional change," says Ms Gabe, who was born in Peru. "Hypnosis is the only known method that successfully allows the properly trained hypnotherapist to bypass the mind's protective mechanism and work directly on the sub-conscious mind, thus having an immediate effect on it."

 

According to Ms Gabe, who is also a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnotherapy can treat issues such as psychosomatic illnesses, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and phobias. It can also be used to help people achieve their goals by helping them "unlock" their potentials and talents, or by helping them overcome self-limiting beliefs and habits such as procrastination, self-sabotage and low self-esteem.

Hypnotherapy can also impact the unconscious mind, which Ms Gabe describes as the 'body's consciousness'. She describes a case in which one of her clients suffered from repeated miscarriages: "Her pregnancies generated enormous amount of fear that she was not able to cope as a mother and to be able to do a good job as a mother. Hence, her womb 's reponse was to 'expel' the baby.

"Once we got to the root cause of her fear, she was able to complete the [therapy] process. Her womb was then able to hold babies, and she gave birth to two gorgeous and healthy babies in a span of 3 years."

While hypnotherapy is safe in general, and has no risk of physical side-effects unlike many medications, it is best to seek out trained hypnotherapists. "If the hypnotherapist is not well-trained and uses age regression, there is a small chance that false memories can be implanted ," cautions Ms Gabe.

AsiaOne Health understands that unscrupulous or poorly trained therapists in the United States have been sued for implanting false memories of childhood sexual abuse in their clients - 'memories' that often ripped apart families and marriages.

That said, hypnosis is not a form of mind control. "No one can control your mind but you!" asserts Ms Gabe. "There is no way a person can give up her own will power unless she wants to."

She notes that there are some who may fall victim of people who are skilled at manipulating others. However, the distinction between manipulation and mind control must be stressed - a person may be manipulated without losing control of his mind and will.

Some people say that hypnosis/hypnotherapy is a form of mind control. What is your response to that?

Unfortunately, I say that it is both a misconception and a sad reality.

The misconception comes mainly from the misrepresentation of hypnosis in movies that show hypnosis as a tool to control people, even to the point of making a person rob a bank!

The person who receives the suggestion 'go and rob the bank' must have in his subconscious mind the belief 'It's OK to rob a bank' or have a fantasy of doing it - because the mind is very simple, it will accept external information that matches what already exists in the subconscious Mind and will immediately reject the information that doesn't match. This explains also how hypnosis and hypnotherapy are safe, as you will not accept a suggestion that you do not like.

This misconception comes also from the misunderstanding of what is hypnosis/hypnotherapy and 'Stage Hypnosis'.

The purpose of stage hypnosis is to entertain people - this is why you will never see a Stage Hypnotist 'pick' a volunteer (if you ever go to a show, be observant and you will see). The Stage Hypnotist knows that if he picks someone 'unwilling' to go on stage he will be shooting himself in the foot. Hypnosis/hypnotherapy is a dance in which the hypnotherapist leads and the client follows. If the person is not willing to go on stage, he is unlikely to follow instructions and hence be very unlikely to be hypnotised.

Anyone's mind has a protective mechanism that is working 24/7. There is no way that a person will give up her own will power unless she wants to.

Is hypnosis sleep?

Hypnosis is not sleep. If you fall asleep during your session you will miss the whole thing and your hypnotherapist will not be able to work with you at all. Hypnosis and hypnotherapy require your full, focused attention.

You may have your eyes closed, and you may look like you are asleep, and even your Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist may use the word 'sleep' - but when she uses this word it means: 'Become deeply relaxed as if you are asleep'. It doesn't mean you will sleep!

Hypnosis/ hypnotherapy is an interactive activity that you do while being fully conscious and aware. When you emerge from hypnosis you remember everything and you are aware of what you did with your hypnotist/hypnotherapist.

Is Hypnosis mind control?

No IT IS NOT. No one can control your mind but you!

How is hypnosis carried out? E.g. is it done by swinging a pendulum in front of the client, as we often see in the movies?

The pendulum usage is what you see on TV and in movies, and it is very old fashion.

In the old days the pendulum was used to help induce hypnosis.

Nowadays, I don't think you will find a properly trained Hypnotherapist using this method. First of all it is boring - your mind will get so fed up that it won't pay any attention after a while, hence you will not do hypnosis or hypnotherapy properly!

Now there are modern methods that are effective and take little time to induce hypnosis. For instance we use Rapid Induction Techniques that are fast and effective. Compared to the traditional ways of inducing hypnosis (that in some cases could take up to half an hour), we can do it in less than a minute or even in seconds.

Giselle Gianella Gabe is a Certified Professional Hypnosis Instructor and a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner.

amyyeong@sph.com.sg

By Carole Fawcett

"Can you teach me how to relax Carole?” was the question a client asked me not too long ago.  Yes, as a matter of fact I can (and did)  and if you’d like to give yourself the gift of relaxation, keep reading.

You can learn how to slow down and totally relax.  It’s important to do this at least once per day.   So I’m going to teach you how to do self hypnosis.

Find a quiet comfortable spot where you know you will not be disturbed for ½ hour – 45 minutes.  Turn off your cell phone.  Get nice and comfy.

Sometimes it is helpful to have meditation music playing in the background.

Close your eyes and become mindful of your feelings.  Identify any feelings of stress, anxiety or other issues. (see if they are affecting any parts of your body – sore shoulders, achy bits, tension headaches, etc.)  Visualize these feelings leaving.  See yourself waving good-bye to them.

Identify the tension in your body.  Starting with your head, concentrate on relaxing your skull, your forehead, all the little muscles around your eyes, your cheeks, your mouth, your nose, jaw and work all the way down your body, finishing with the feet.  Visualize each part of your body as you do this and consciously relax to the point you feel like you may be floating.  Try to become as relaxed as a rag-doll.

Take nice deep breaths in and out.  Breathe in calmness and peace and breathe out tension and negative emotion.

Once you have completely relaxed your body, imagine yourself stepping into an elevator that has 10 floors that go down.  See the elevator and notice that the inside of the elevator is surrounded by a beautiful aquarium.  In your minds eye, push the DOWN button.  Visualize the word “DOWN”.  As you are going down – 10 – nine – eight – feel yourself becoming lighter and more relaxed.  Do this slowly and really ‘see’ the numbers.  When you finally arrive at floor number one, imagine the elevator doors opening and see yourself stepping out into a beautiful garden, filled with your favourite flowers, or shrubbery or animals (you can imagine anything you like at this point – if you’d prefer a beach, or a lake, you can use that as a visual instead of a garden).

In your minds eye, visualize five steps that go down into your special place (garden, beach, lake, etc.), so counting the steps down to the scene, becoming aware that when you get to the bottom, you will feel the surface that you are stepping onto (grass, sand, etc.)  Concentrate on this feeling and allow peace and calmness to wash over you.  Really feel it.

As you become aware of the grass/sand, you will know that you are very relaxed.  This is a good time to give yourself some positive messages (i.e.  I am very relaxed and calm; I am confident; I am healthy; I am happy and content). When you feel nice and relaxed, you can begin to return slowly to the room.  Step onto the elevator and push the button that says “UP”………….and slowly counting from one to 10, start to come up.

Once you get off the elevator on floor 10, become more aware of being in the chair or couch you are seated in and begin to bring yourself back into awareness.

Once you have opened your eyes and are back in the room, say, out loud, “I am now awake,” and this will bring your mind back to the conscious state (or if you are doing this at night – just drift off to sleep if you haven’t already done so).

This is an excellent exercise to do at night if you have sleep issues, or after a stressful day at work.  It helps to slow down your brain waves and is mentally and physically very beneficial.

But like anything that is good for our body and minds, only doing it once will not make a huge difference.  It is something you need to incorporate into your life.

If you have chronic pain issues, self hypnosis can help to ease the pain, because pain causes tension in the body. Self hypnosis can help to ease the cycle of pain.

It will take some practice to become deeply relaxed, but don’t give up.  And don’t worry if you don’t remember all the steps – make up your own steps.

The more you practice encouraging your mind to quiet and slow down, the happier your body will be.

Enjoy.

Carole Fawcett is a clinical hypnotherapist, registered professional counsellor and freelance writer. www.amindfulconnection.com

 

 

Hypnotize Yourself To Good Sleep

Marc Schoen, Ph.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA's School of Medicine

Hypnotherapy for sleep disturbance is commonly believed to be driven by the power of suggestion -- where suggestions are given to the client to feel tired or sleepy at bedtime. Yet, hypnotherapy can be substantially more than direct suggestions for sleepiness. In its greatest form, hypnosis has the ability to recondition the entire sleep process. It can be used to retrain the client's reactions to negative or intrusive thoughts, early awakenings, stress and even the tendency to resist sleep.

Common concerns expressed by clients seeking hypnosis for insomnia is that they might be resistant to hypnosis and will dislike relinquishing control, or that they will not be able to sit still or quiet their mind enough to benefit. The apprehensions they hold about hypnosis are commonly the very same dynamics that are operative in impeding their sleep process. But this is where hypnosis particularly shines, for the process of embracing the trance state is parallel to the welcoming in of the sleep state. Rather than being obstructive to the hypnosis treatment, these sleep and hypnosis resistances now become part of the treatment -- rather than remaining outside of it. The goal is not to extinguish these unconscious oppositions, but instead to alter the client's reaction to them. In this way, these resistances become sleep enhancing rather than sleep disruptive.

With our culture's growing sense of having to be "on" 24 hours a day, the pressures of remaining alert, attentive and awake can be suffocating. There is often a pressure to delay or resist fatigue and sleepiness in order to complete our work demands. The unintended consequence is that we are teaching the mind and body to resist its natural rhythms. When it is time to go to bed and switch gears, the mind and body have been trained to resist letting go to the sleepy feeling, a process that I call sleep resistance. Over time, the process of going to sleep becomes a signal to wake up, and increasingly, associated with significant frustration and anticipatory anxiety.

In addition to developing a healthy sleep hygiene routine, hypnosis can be used to restore the client's ability to switch gears from a cerebrally active mind that resists sleep to one that is receptive to the sleep process. In this case hypnosis is used to influence both the physical and mental experience of going to sleep. By using hypnosis to modify the wind-up associated with the pre-sleep ritual, the routine is now conditioned to elicit a state of relaxation.

The pre-sleep rituals -- such as a nightly shower, brushing teeth, television or climbing into bed -- are now altered to facilitate a gradual shifting from an alert to a relaxed or sleepy state. Additionally, hypnosis can be helpful in restructuring negative or distracting thoughts; thoughts that are sleep obstructive can be transformed and conditioned to be sleep facilitative. Since it is difficult to quell negative or distracting thoughts, it is possible to imbue them with either a neutral or a soporific effect whenever the client thinks about them.

Pertinent to the issue of intrusive bedtime thoughts is the common misperception that it is imperative to silence conscious thoughts in order for the sleep process to unfold. In actuality, the sleep process unfolds even in the presence of conscious activity. By giving the client practice going in and out of the hypnotic trance while entertaining intrusive thoughts, the client learns to experience consciousness as part of the sleep process rather than outside of it.

The fact that the hypnotic process can mimic the sleep process has particular value in dealing with the early awakening form of insomnia; the condition in which individuals find it difficult to return to sleep after awakening in the middle of the night. To address this condition, hypnosis is used to induce a sleepy relaxed state in the client. While in this relaxed zone, the client is repeatedly awakened from the sleep like trance, a process which duplicates the early awakenings at night time. Next, by following these interruptions with a subsequent induction into the hypnotic sleep state, the wake-ups now become a stimulus for returning to sleep. Thus, rather than the wake-ups being associated with protracted periods of non-sleep and frustration, they are now associated with another opportunity to return to sleep.

I also find it helpful to record a hypnosis CD for clients to listen to at bedtime. This CD is comprised of those suggestions that have been facilitative in inducing a hypnotic sleep state in my meetings with the client. This CD has several goals. First, it helps the client disengage from an active cerebral mind and physical state to a frequency that is more conducive to sleep. Second, the CD serves as a transitional object, extending the hypnosis interventions to the client's sleep process outside of our sessions. Third, as the CD is continually paired with falling asleep, the hypnotic CD over time becomes a stimulus for precipitatingsleep.

Since a number of clients begin treatment with a heavy reliance on sleep medications, hypnosis can be a valuable tool in altering their physical and psychological dependence on these medications. Therapy sessions can be used to give clients experience in becoming relaxed and sleeping without medications. This can boost their confidence in their own inner resources while lessening their psychological reliance on external solutions.

Further, hypnosis can influence the client's physical dependency on sleep medications. Hypnotic suggestions can be aimed at affecting how the client reacts to the sleep medications. In this scenario, suggestions are given so that the act of taking less of a medication is now experienced as taking more of the medication. Gradually, this procedure can be utilized to reduce the amount of the medication required by the client. Finally, the power of the sleep medications can be conditioned and transferred to the sleep CD, which allows the sleep CD to exert more power over the sleep process.

For most individuals, reconditioning the sleep pattern can happen in as little as three meetings, while five to seven meetings are more typical. In those cases where there is a previous trauma related to sleep or a heavy dependency on multiple sleep medications, more extensive treatment may be necessary. Additionally, hypnotic interventions tend to work better for more acute insomnia episodes as opposed to chronic insomnia that emanates from childhood or early adulthood.

In summary, since so few visits are necessary to determine whether hypnotic interventions can be a productive intervention for insomnia, hypnosis is worth considering where more traditional forms of intervention have not been successful. For cases in which it is evident that the insomnia is a function of negative conditioning, hypnotic interventions may be of particular value due to their powerful reconditioning properties.

UCSD Professor Teaches Subliminal Therapy at Athens Conference

A treatment originally developed by Dr. Edwin K. Yager is to be the subject of a textbook out this fall.

  • By Sandra Fong Young
  • Email the author
  • July 26, 2011
  • There are no swirling black and white spirals or pocket watches swinging back and forth in UCClinical Professor Dr. Edwin K. Yager’s Subliminal Therapy practice. In fact, patients may not even enter a hypnotic trance. Instead, subliminal therapy, a treatment developed by Yager, helps patients access and use unconscious abilities to treat problems caused by negative life experiences.

    This past May, Yager was invited to share his findings in Athens before a global audience at the 16th International Conference of the Association of Psychology and Psychiatry for Adults and Children. During the two-part workshop titled “Subliminal Therapy: Effective, Evidence-Based Psychotherapy of Psychogenic Medical Problems,” Yager explained how this specific psychotherapy can treat problems including headaches, asthma, addictive disorders, anxiety, depression, pain issues and weight control.

    However, with subliminal therapy, the clinician may never know the specific experiences or issues faced by the patient. By guiding patients’ “extra-conscious” domain that Yager has named “centrum,” the clinician can aid patients in determining the root of their problem and help educate the conscious mind of these issues. Yager stresses that the clinician is merely a facilitator in this process, as the patient is in control of both conscious and unconscious activities. The clinician can only interact with “centrum” by responses reported by the patient through an imaginary chalkboard or whiteboard.

    Yager acknowledges that there are skeptics of the treatment, both within the general public and professionals, but he is confident in the results of his research over the past three decades.

    Researched success rates vary but are generally high, including a survey Yager began in 2009 where the most common problem treated was general anxiety, with a success rate of 92 percent. Other success rates include 70 percent improvement in pain disorders, 66 percent for compulsive behavior, and 90 percent for phobias.

    Subliminal therapy is also considered an extremely time-efficient form of treatment compared to traditional therapy. Yager asserts that most individual problems go away after three to seven sessions and explains that it works to resolve issues by identifying and recognizing their causes (life experiences), instead of focusing on the symptoms.

    “We learn to be afraid or to react in a physical way when things happen, and we sometimes continue to react in the same way long after the event,” said Yager. He has observed that if a problem is periodic, it may have been learned, compared to other ailments, such as a headache caused by a brain tumor, that would result in constant pain.

    Conference participant Dr. Edith Samuel, an associate professor and coordinator for the Department of Psychology at Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, was not familiar with subliminal therapy before the workshop and from her initial understanding considered it “pretty Freudian in approach.”

    After Yager conducted the therapy on a couple of attendees, Samuel said that she considered the treatment very effective and “more practical than other therapies that I know of.” Yager said such reaction post-demonstration is common and commented, “It was encouraging for me to see the same enthusiastic responses from persons from other countries as I have found here.”

    Yager first began conceptualizing subliminal therapy in 1973, copyrighting it with his first paper in 1976 and claims he has demonstrated its efficacy on thousands of patients since then, including William Campbell, a retired airline captain residing in Tierrasanta. Campbell came to Yager with chronic pain in his lower back. After approximately six sessions, he was able to resolve his pain and also found that the therapy helped him fall asleep quicker. Patients’ experience with subliminal therapy varies, but Campbell described, “When coming out of the trance state I tingle all over.”

    In another case, Fletcher Hills resident Barbara Tierney sought subliminal therapy in order to lose weight and as a result, was able to resolve an abuse issue experienced earlier in her life. She noted that she had completed many years of therapy but believed the best she could do was “manage varying degrees of shame, fear, dread, panic.”

    “I felt as though Dr. Yager and I were watching the event back in the time and place that it occurred,” said Tierney, who had treatment for a year. Tierney was able to recondition the unconscious parts of her mind causing the problems and successfully remove her lingering feelings. The treatment has also led to larger life changes, as she has since returned to graduate school to become a psychologist and practice subliminal therapy herself.

    In addition to his roles as psychologist and practitioner, Yager is the founder of the nonprofit Subliminal Therapy Institute Inc., which conducts formal research including identifying other illnesses that can be treated with the therapy, trains clinicians and educates the public and other clinicians.

    Yager, a La Jolla area resident, has been with UC San Diego since 1975, when he began in the department of pediatrics. He then held clinical appointments in the department of psychiatry, leading to his appointment as a clinical professor of psychiatry in 2005.

    To assist people looking to practice this psychotherapy, Yager has written a textbook that provides examples and transcripts for completed cases. Launching this fall, the book is titled, Subliminal Therapy: Using the Mind to Heal. He is also the author of Foundations of Clinical Hypnosis: From Theory to Practice.

    Continuing to teach workshops and speak at conferences around the world, Yager will be presenting a one-hour workshop next month for the 2011 Congress of the European Society of Hypnosis in Istanbul, Turkey.

     

Acting up: is hysteria all in the mind?

Celebrity hysterics' drew crowds in the 19th-century – but what can they teach us today?

Laura Barnett

guardian.co.uk

    •  Monday 25 July 2011 20.59 BST
Jean Martin Charcot inducing hypnosis using a magic lantern.

Jean-Martin Charcot inducing hypnosis using a magic lantern. Getty Images

In the winter of 1876, 15-year-old Louise Augustine Gleizes, a patient at the sprawling Salpêtrière women's hospital in Paris, had 154 hysterical fits in one day. She heard voices; she saw swarms of black, demonic rats; she felt an intense pain in her right ovary; and then she lost consciousness, her body convulsing in a series of violent seizures.

 

  •  
  • Yet this was not just a private problem. Each of Augustine's attacks were carefully monitored by her doctor, Jean-Martin Charcot, eanand his team. She was wheeled out to demonstrate her symptoms to a class of students, and along with other women patients, was photographed and hypnotised to exhibit the various stages of hysteria to packed-out public lectures – becoming, in the process, a celebrity in France and beyond.

Now the teenager's hysteria – along with fellow Salpêtrière patients Blanche Wittman and Geneviève Legrand – is the subject of Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris, a fascinating and beautifully written book by Asti Hustvedt. Originally the term "hysteria", widely attributed to Hippocrates, was used to describe a female disorder caused by a "wandering womb"– something now disdained as a misogynistic anachronism. Yet Hustvedt controversially argues that certain aspects of hysteria are still with us today.

Hustvedt, a French scholar, and sister of novelist Siri Hustvedt, has long been fascinated by hysteria and the Salpêtrière. "It was haunting me; I kept thinking, what does [hysteria] mean?" Yet Hustvedt's own preconceptions about the illness, and Charcot's treatment of his patients, also changed. She started out suspicious of his theatrical lectures in which the hypnotised hysterics were compelled to perform various degrading tasks, from stamping on imaginary snakes to kissing the hospital chaplain.

"There's a lot that we can, and we should, criticise Charcot for. These women were undoubtedly turned into medical specimens to serve his needs," she points out. "But at the same time, he did take hysteria seriously. He insisted that it was real, not imaginary or faked."

This serious analysis of symptoms whose origins can't be medically determined is not, she points out, always the approach taken by doctors and patients today. "If you are diagnosed with something whose origin remains murky – a syndrome – people experience it as something pejorative, or that they don't have a legitimate disease."

She also believes that Charcot's definition of hysteria as an almost exclusively female complaint – one produced by the strange, unknowable female body – continues to dog today's medicine. "In many ways we live in a culture that's far less sexist than Charcot's was," says Hustvedt, "but when it comes to the idea that the female body is, say, more vulnerable to hormones than the male body – that absolutely continues. As does the idea that anything connected to the entirely natural, biological female reproductive system – pregnancy, childbirth, menstruation, menopause ‑ is a medical issue."

Crucially, Hustvedt argues that it's no use asking retrospectively, now that the diagnosis of hysteria has disappeared, which contemporary disease Charcot's patients might have had. Hysteria, even if its causes remained mysterious, was, for Charcot and his patients, a real and recognised medical condition, some of whose frequently reported symptoms – such as sporadic limb paralysis – occur rarely today, if at all.

"All illness," she says, "is experienced in a specific time and place, and it is classified differently depending on what culture you're from. Significantly, they [the hysterical women] would probably not exhibit the same symptoms today."

But some of the facets of what was once termed hysteria, do, she says, still exist: in the many neurological complaints that still go undiagnosed; in eating disorders (some of Charcot's hysterics refused food); in the increasingly widespread diagnosis of depression (Augustine, Blanche and Geneviève all led extremely troubled and traumatic lives: towards the end of his life, Charcot was approaching a psychosomatic explanation for their symptoms); in self-mutilation, multiple personality disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome; and even in the sudden outbreak of rashes reported by schoolgirls across America in the wake of 9/11.

"There's been a lot of talk about how hysteria has disappeared," Hustvedt says. "In some ways that's accurate – it's no longer considered a medical entity or diagnosis. And at the same time, of course, it hasn't disappeared. People continue to write about it, people continue to talk about it; it's been broken up and reclassified into other, separate disorders. It's just that the names have shifted."