chapter  Four
18 Pages

Hypnosis and dynamic psychology

ByLawrence Goldie, Jane Desmarais

The mental and physiological experience that comprises hypnosis has morphed in ways that reflect changing social expectations and mores. Few people have used hypnosis and not witnessed associated anxiety reactions. In 1779 Franz Anton Mesmer gave an excellent account of such a reaction which, indeed, he considered a prerequisite of cure, and subsequent reports have been limited to their occurrence in a clinical setting. In describing the hypnotic state we must distinguish deliberately evoked responses from those that occur spontaneously as a reaction to being hypnotised. It is a simple matter to differentiate between a direct suggestion that the heart rate will increase, and suggesting an emotion that produces an increased heart rate. There is a diversity of hypnotists, situations, and subjects, and the problem is further complicated by authors who fail to ascertain and describe subjective reactions. It is thus difficult to repeat and compare experiments.