Archive report of meeting
Thursday 18th February 2021
Past notice

It has frequently been pointed out that across the centuries and among a wide range of countries and cultures, what we know as hypnosis has presented itself by many different names.

Probably the best known alternative comes from the eponymous Franz Anton Mesmer who gave the world the term mesmerism.

For a variety of reasons many modern hypnotherapists tend to fight shy of the term Mesmerism – but not California-based Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas with her talk to the society February 2021

"Dr Shelley" as she often called – delivered an online a masterclass on mesmerism which deftly blended both history and practical therapy into an informative and entertaining event.

Mesmer himself would have appreciated her adept blend of helpful modalities that we now call suggestion, hypnosis, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, psychology and energy work.

Mesmer created the first support groups and pain free childbirth programmes with a report at the time stating: "The elegant and mysterious Dr. Mesmer can make the same glass of water taste like strawberries or vinegar just by telling someone how it tastes…"

Dr Stockwell-Nicholas, who is President of the International Hypnosis Federation and trains hypnosis practitioners, described how Mesmer built expectation and transferring thought and the energy of hands and (sometimes magnets) and also how he used verbal and non-verbal suggestion.

Shelley6 Stockwell-Nicholas
Dr Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas PhD
s a hypnotherapist, mindfulness and NLP trainer as we;; as being an artist and the author of 25 books.

She is the President of the International Hypnosis Federation and also trains and certifies practitioners through the federation

In one graphic example of his technique Dr Shelley explained how Mesmer used eye-to-eye contact. He followed these now rather familar steps before evoking trance.

1. Rapport.

2. Expectaion for the desired benefit.

3. Agreement.

  Mesmeric Trance Induction  

To evoke trance Mesmer would support a client's right hand in their left, and the client's left hand in the therapist's right, allowing the balls of thumbs to meet and would lean forward until knees or feet touched..

At this point the therapist's and client's faces may be about twelve inches apart.

Mesmer would then look directly at the client and say, "Gaze steadily into my eyes … As you do, you will experience an electric-like sensation between your hands and a tingling as I send my curing energy to you to make you well and healthy, exactly as you wish to be.

"This tingling will gradually extend up your arms to the shoulders, and a sort of numbness may creep over your body. Make yourself receptive to the magnetism projected into your mind and body. Be passive and calm as you enjoy any sensations that occur and receive the healing energy I send.

"You'll find that your eyes will close and you will enter into a profound trance-like state… into the abyss in the realm of sleep. Your body will feel warm as a gentle current moves through you as a surge of body electricity. You may notice your pulse."

He would then continue: "THINK of these things as occurring … When your eyes are closed, I will make passes over you, which will fill you with a pleasurable warm bio-energy or animal magnetism as you drop down into Mesmeric Sleep, and healing forces heal exactly as you want them to."

After that Mesmer would silently send sweeping hand energy along with telepathic messages for the desired result. He then finished the session by offering verbal suggestions. When complete, he would bring the client back to room awareness with upward sweeps of the hand."

This was then followed by measures to "Bring in Energy".

Mesmer would instruct his pupils: "Now stand in front of your client. Breathe deeply and centre your mind on being an open channel for the flow of energy.

"Think of the force flowing out of your hands into them. You will experience the flow yourself … It's like an electrical tingling in your fingers. Now give long, slow sweeping hand passes around the body.

"Make the passes with your hands held about six inches from surface of body (Mesmer actually touched the person) all the while concentrating on the flow of energy coming from your fingertips into them.

"Allow the Force to flow through your hands and into them. Your palms are turned in towards them, starting at top of head and moving slowly downward, terminating at the knees.

At the end of each pass, throw your hands outward and shake them. Turn your palms inward again and continue the downward passes over and around the body.

"You will experience the flow of energy yourself as you continue. The very air about them will seem to be alive with an increasing flow of energy."

The fifth stage takes us to Mentally Envision Results. Dr Stockwell-Nicholas explained how that is based on the understanding Mesmeric trance is induced nonverbally.

"It is the mind-to-mind thinking process between the hypnotherapist and client that creates "the power of energetic expression," she says.

She added suggestions given verbally during standard hypnosis are given mentally without a sound. In other words, you think, "body relaxing, eyes getting heavy and closing, breaths deepen and you are dropping off into the realm of sleep. You are well."

The therapist then needs to hold a mental-picture of the conclusion of the session with your client in well-being perfection.

Centre your mind entirely on this result. No comment is needed. Just hold the visualisation firmly and it will pass into the client with the vital energy.

"When you have completed enough passes (you can sense a subtle resistance to more energy being given)…STOP and allow the client to rest in silence, as energy soaks in. A few minutes for this is sufficient.

With this we have reached the sixth and final stage when the client is aroused from mesmeric trance by upward passes.

Dr Shelley says: "To arouse the client from the trance reverse the downward passes. Make brisk upward passes and throw off the energy. THINK: "AWAKEN!" as you blow on their forehead and Mesmer's Method of Mesmerising is complete."