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Meaning “sleep” in Greek, hypnosis has more similarities to the waking state than to the state of sleep, and hypnotherapy has been the term applied to psychotherapy done in the context of a hypnotic trance. This entry explores the history of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, common terms used in the hypnotherapy process, the types of interventions employed, and the process for varying types of treatments.

Historical Context

Medical and psychological treatments using trance states have been traced to antiquity, including Asclepian “dream temples” throughout the Mediterranean, surgical operations in Calcutta (now Kolkata), catalepsy and pain control by Indian fakirs, and in other cultures such as those of China, Africa, pre-Columbian America, and Mongolia, to name just a few. By 1775, the charismatic physician Franz Mesmer (1734–1815) had promoted ...

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