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Hypnotism, sleep wonderful sleep

Hypnotism, a normal behavior in suitable conditions

Hypnosis and hypnotism are terms applied to a unique, complex form of unusual but normal behavior that may be induced in most “normal people” under suitable conditions and even in many who suffer from various types of psychological abnormality. Hypnosis is primarily a special psychological condition with certain physiological attributes, resembling sleep and marked by a functioning of the individual at a level of awareness other than what may be considered an ordinary conscious state which is said to be a subconscious awareness.

Few fields of science have suffered as much from the encumbrances of poor definitions as hypnosis. We have been much too prone to lump hypnosis in the same category in which we file our ideas on witches, warlocks, and wizards; even orthodox science is inclined to approach the subject with very much the attitude of an average man investigating a haunted house; he doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he definitely hopes he won’t meet one!

Hypnotism, stripped of its occult raiment, is a method of therapy that seeks to dramatize thought into specific action for a definite end. Together with psychoanalysis, it is a means for acquiring information in areas that are not easily accessible by other methods.

Since its earliest use by primitive people, hypnosis has been endowed by both friend and foe with supernatural attributes, magical values, and miraculous significance that still cling tenaciously and deter the development of a general recognition of its scientific validity.

The scientist, the educator, the business executive, any one in some other profession, and almost any well-educated intelligent person asked to become a hypnotic subject, will show alarm and quickly decline, fearful of damage to his mind or of finding himself in the power of the hypnotist.

The scientific history of hypnosis began in the latter part of the 18th century with Franz Mesmer, a Vienese physician who used it in the treatment of patients. As a result of his mistaken belief that it was an occult force, which he termed “animal magnetism”, that flowed through the hypnotist into the subject, he was soon discredited; but mesmerism, as it was named after him, continued to interest medical men. Extensive use was made of it by a number of clinicians, without adequate recognition of its nature until the middle of the 19th century when the English physician James Braid studied its phenomena and coined the terms hypnotism and hypnosis.

Sources of Informaton:
Lecron, Leslie M. and Jean Bordeaux. Hypnotism Today.
New York: Grune & Stratton, 1949, p. 7.
Sparks, Laurance. Self-Hypnosis, A Conditioned Response Technique.
New York: Grune & Stratton, 1962, pp. vii-xiii.

You will find many other words and definitions about hypnotism or "sleep" words by going to the Latin-Greek Cross References.