Sample Research Paper on History of Hypnosis


In many cases when the term hypnosis is mentioned the most common vision or perception had by many is that of a swinging pendulum, slow hypnotizing voice or a turning spiral. Though far from reality this visions are usually based on movies; nonetheless, the concept is a close to real.The generally accepted dictionary definition of hypnosis is the state of cognitive consciousness with reduced peripheral as well as awareness in addition to high attention on a particular memory. The whole process as well as the notion derived from the reality hypnosis remains mystical in addition to the origin of the art. This paper with the use of a variety of information from different school of thought will be centered to offer an in-depth explanation of the history of hypnosis.


Hypnosis is considered to some an art, other a skill, other a swindle and to many a mystery. The notion of triggering an individual’s mind increasing or heightening their state of concentration blocking out any other peripheral thought is an issue that is not easily accepted; nonetheless, not disapproved. In order to understand hypnosis Hilgard and Hilgard (2013),state that one has to understand its origin. However, this is not a simple straight forward aspect as Pintar and Lynn (2009) explain that the history of hypnosis is filled with disagreementsconsidering a number of technocrats view it in different ways the first through early use of mind control and secondly after the period science made more medical breakthroughs that disapproved folklore perceptions.


When an individual defines hypnosis in the context of social change or medicine then its history is then through early priest as well as witchdoctors who attempted to find healing through altering the state of mind. Early medieval period’s priests and witchdoctors facilitated the process of mind control through rhythmic dancing,drumbeats as well as chants that were supper imposed through to take a form of elaborate rituals (Lynn&Rhue, 1991). The results of these practices were profound considering at that point man in the search of some explanation to finding the inconsistencies of life sorted divine manifestation as the answer and most of the people believed in hypnosis being a cure.  Additionally, some societies majorly of early civilization had found a significance in having harmony of the mind and the body. For instance in Ancient Egypt as well as Greece patients were provided with curative suggestions from their ‘Temple of Sleep’ as well as Shrines of healing respectively (Rosenfeld, 2008). In the above cases, hypnosis was used to help the patients find peace and in turn healing. This notion can also be found in the Bible as most holy men ascribed the use of hypnosis as a means to finding internal peace. The above-mentioned notion remained as a constant throughout most of the period between the times of the Romans to the 16th century considering during this time medicine was primarily based upon folklore not science.

Another way to view the history of hypnosis is based on the assumption that due to scholarly research as well as other social developments has changed human perception on hypnosis.Over the last few decades,it has been realized that though the idea of altering the state of mind to find answers to questions has remained the same the human ability to control it has changed. As highlighted in early years much of medicine was based on folklore; however, as science became advanced solid solutions were achieved particularly in curing disease consequently changing hypnosis. According to Waterfield (2003), the perspective of hypnosis changed as science gave more solutions to problems that were once viewed as unsolvable. This consequently changed how people viewed hypnosis. From the above information, it can be argued that hypnosis traces its origin from this period. Early psychologists such as Franz Anton Mesmerstated that hypnosis though used in a setting which science was better placed to serve does not suggest that the perception of hypnosis is wrong but it should be revised (Rosenfeld, 2008). From this notion, what many call hypnosis other call hypnotherapy, which though different in wording means the same thing in reference to modern science.


The true history of hypnosis is divided into two forms the first the use of altering the state of mind to find solutions in early social studies can be used to pinpoint medical as well as non-medical issues. In the early years,priests and witch doctors used ritual techniques to alter the state of mind in order to attain medical success. As times changed and science gave more solid results on mattersthat seemed unsolvable the perspective of hypnosis changed taking a more therapeutic role. From this manuscript it is evident that the true mature of hypnosis is divided in to two notions the first being the early use of mind alteration and the other through the change of human perspective.



Hilgard, E. R., &Hilgard, J. R. (2013). Hypnosis in the relief of pain. Routledge.

Lynn, S. J., &Rhue, J. W. (1991). Theories of hypnosis: Current models and perspectives. New York: Guilford Press.

Pintar, J., & Lynn, S. J. (2009). Hypnosis: A Brief History. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Rosenfeld, S. M. (2008). A critical history of hypnotism: The unauthorized story. Xlibris Corporation.

Waterfield, R. (2003). Hidden depths: The story of hypnosis. Psychology Press.