The Amazing History OF Hypnotism & How to Find The Best Hypnotist to Help You Heal

Suzanne Kellner-Zinck
5 min readJul 23, 2022

A person on Quora wanted to know when hypnotism was first used for healing work. I wrote an answer that goes through the history of hypnotism AND teaches one how to find the best hypnotist for their particular health care and mental health issues. Here is the post:

Thank you for this very interesting question because it is going to enlighten people who have no idea that hypnotism actually goes back to Ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Zosers )2980–2900 BC). They would do what was called “sleep therapy” by visiting the Temple of Imhotep. There are still temples around Africa and the Mideast even today. Here is an abbreviated history for you to better understand how hypnotism has evolved over the ages.

The ancient Greeks and the Roman Empire used autosuggestion, otherwise known as self-hypnosis techniques or they would visit healers who would chant or perform breath work exercises, placing them into a trance-like state that could health mental, physical and spiritual problems.

Frans Anton Mesmer, a Swiss doctor is thought to be the first more modern hypnotist (1735–1815). He wrongly believed that there was something called ‘animal magnetism’ using magnets to put his patients into a trance. This was called ‘mesmerism.

However, it was James Braid, in the 19th century, a Scottish surgeon who got rid of the idea of magnetism and used focused attention and suggestions to heal his patients.

In the 1880s Sigmund Freud studied with Jean-Martin Charcot who was a neurologist and used hypnotism in the use of free association techniques.

Carl Jung also studied hypnotism and tended to use it more with his patients in healing mental health issues.

Dr. James Elsdaile was a surgeon for the British military during the 1800s while they were in India and he used hypnotism to successfully amputate limbs before we ever knew of viruses and bacteria.

David Elman was a stagecraft hypnotist in the 40s and 50s whose father was dying of cancer when he was 8 years old. His father had a clinical hypnotist show him how to deal with his pain using hypnotism before morphine existed. As Dave was doing his stage shows doctors and dentists asked him to help them to help heal their patients when they were unable to. During the 40s and 50s Elman did a ton of workshops all around the US and did many demonstrations showing in a matter of minutes how one could use his rapid inductions to heal patients of all types of mental health issues including stopping kids from urinating in their beds, to getting rid of anxiety, mothers being able to completely anesthetize themselves so they would feel contractions while giving birth later, and all sorts of medical conditions.

Bandler and Grindler came and codified the great work of the best therapists they could mind including Dr. Milton Erickson who was a psychiatrist and helped his patients with metaphors one where he told an alcoholic patient to go and meditate next to a huge sequoia cactus to find out why it didn’t need to drink so much. He was also a master at having his patients drop into trance telling them that they could watch one hand go up while another hand went down, etc demonstrating the power of their minds right there which aided in their taking his metaphors and suggestions. And Virginia Satir, a family therapist has also studied along with Fritz Prearlz and others to come up with the techniques we now know as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) which are really quick interventions that can be used to change harmful thoughts and behaviors in a matter of seconds to minutes.

Tad James created Time Line Therapy (R) during the 1980s which I use to help my clients get rid of their limiting beliefs and negative emotions in seconds to minutes and is considered a form of NLP.

So, you can see that many types of health care professionals have used some form of hypnotism through the ages to help people heal. So for anyone to say that isn’t proven is demonstrating their ignorance of one of the oldest modalities of healing instead of showing how smart they are.

The reason hypnotism is such a great healing modality is that it is non-invasive and fast given that the hypnotist/NLP practitioner knows what they are doing which cannot be learned in a weekend course as many therapists try to do. I have had many clients come to see me as their therapists failed to help them not even knowing how to get them into a trance state to do the work. This is indeed an art and a science which takes the same amount of time and practice to get excellent at providing care as any professionally trained individual.

So if you are looking for a great practitioner go on their website and notice what they specialize in. If they don’t specialize find someone who does and specializes in exactly what you need to heal. In my case, it is emotional trauma — anxiety, depression, sex addiction, anorexia, and bulimia because these are the clients who felt moved to employ me over the last 20 years and helped me hone my protocols with each of them.

If you have medical issues you best go somewhere else unless you have pain and the docs have ruled out every physiological reason for it because that is the correct manner of dealing with pain control — you HAVE to know what is causing it before any hypnotist should be seeing you — PERIOD!

Thanks for your question so I could help people best understand why hypnotism is one of the best healing modalities ever as proven through the ages — and how to best find the best hypnotist for them.

P.S. Kids are the best hypnosis clients up to age 26 because they are already in a natural trance state without their prefrontal cortex fully developed till then. They also are fascinated by hypnotism and are much more willing to do the healing work. Hypnotists love to have fun so it is a much easier process than conventional therapy. Lastly, most of my kid clients actually found me on their own or asked their parents to find them a hypnotist because they were smart enough to know that it was their unconscious mind that was the problem. See, they are really smart clients and that is why I LOVE working with them!

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Suzanne Kellner-Zinck

Hypnotism is Suzanne’s profession, specializing in working with kids and those with eating disorders and sex addiction.