The use of hypnosis in the treatment of neuroses flourished in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. Hypnosis techniques were merged with psychiatry and were especially useful in the treatment of ‘shell shock’, which is known today as Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
After World War I, there were too many cases of war neuroses and other traumas for doctors and psychotherapists (both in short supply) to handle, so the medical profession turned in desperation to hypnosis, which was there to provide the answers as it has done since the dawn of time.
World War II saw hypnosis being used for similar purposes, and also for providing suggestive anaesthesia when drugs were in short supply. Again with success.
Self-hypnosis, also called auto-hypnosis, is a dual process: it both hypnotizes and gives suggestions to the person using it. Rather than working with a hypnotherapist, hypnotist or recorded session, this is a form of entirely self-guided hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis is an ancient practice, and was brought into the mainstream by the French pharmacist Emil Coue (1857-1926). Coue established the ‘neo-Nancy’ approach, and used self-hypnosis and auto-suggestion to treat a variety of ills in his patients. Coue’s most famous auto-suggestion was ‘Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.’
Self-hypnosis can be a valuable technique for many purposes, including creating positive habits, increasing confidence, finding motivation, awakening creativity, and the relief of stress and anxiety. Self-hypnosis was used by World War II prisoners to withstand long periods of cold, and is used by terminal cancer patients to bring peace and comfort to their final days.
For all these many advantages, while self-hypnosis is relatively easy to learn, it is more difficult to achieve a suitable and effective level of trance. With practice, most people can learn to enter and deepen trance and, eventually, to give effective suggestions to themselves.