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04-Nov-2015 01:30

From a Western point of view, the decisive moment in the history of hypnosis occurred in the 18th Century (coinciding with the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason).

The work of Franz Mesmer, amongst others, can be seen as both the last flourish of “occult” hypnosis and the first flourish of the “scientific” viewpoint.

These practices tend to be for magical or religious purposes, such as divination or communicating with gods and spirits.

Hypnosis itself hasn’t changed for millennia, but our understanding of it and our ability to control it has changed quite profoundly.

At the same time, the style of hypnosis changed, from a direct instruction issued by an authoritarian figure (a legacy of the charismatic mesmerist) to a more indirect and permissive style of trance induction, based on subtly persuasive language patterns.