Saturday, January 19, 2008

Esoteric Freud

In the somewhat recent past, Freud has been a topic of conversation. And though Freud is not so esoteric in terms of hypnosis, books the reference him and hypnosis in the same volume seem perfect.

In a recent Sunday Book Review in the New York Times,George Prochnik reviewed George Makari's Revolution In Mind: The Creation of Psychoanalysis. According to Prochnik (I have to rely on him as I have yet to read this, but it is now on the list), there is discussion about Freud's background in hypnosis. Apparently one of Freud's mentors, Jean-Martin Charcot who apparently believed that the affects of hypnosis "depended upon the abnormal nervous condition of the hypnotized." Apparently, though, Charcot was diagnosed by Hippolyte Bernheim as having moments of hysteria, too. Bernheim's theory of hypnosis was that hypnosis worked with "exaggerated human credulity" or the idea of suggestibility rather than genetic hysteria. It was with this idea that Freud became the man we all know and love - the psycho analytic theorist. He utilized Bernheims ideas about hypnosis, but changed it a bit with the idea that the mind is more susceptible to suggestions made within rather than form outside sources.

There is a lot more to Procnik's review, so do check it out, but it is always interesting to see anything about those who helped make hypnosis the tool it is now.

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