In 1859 Dr. A. Liebault, living near the town of Nancy in France, received a letter from a colleague which described how a certain Dr. Broca had been able to perform an operation on a patient under hypnosis. Dr. Liebault, who had expressed a previous interest in hypnotism, decided to pick up where Dr. Braid had left off. His method, which gradually evolved into the type of verbal suggestion used today, produced immediate results. He would tell patients to concentrate on an object, and at the same time describe symptoms of somnolence - heavy eyelids, relaxed limbs, dulling of the senses, etc. On one occasion he cured the patient of a colleague, who happened to be a highly respected member of the medical community. The evidence was plain for all to see - hypnosis did, indeed, exist, and could be used to cure people. Liebault became a celebrity in the medical world.
Although Liebault used suggestion to cure patients, he still maintained an interest in Mesmer's theory of magnetic fluids. Another colleague, Dr. Bernheim, refuted the fluid theory altogether. Under his influence, Liebault developed his method of hypnotic suggestion and its application as a way to cure disease, notably by introducing mental images of healing. Bernheim, who felt that results were due solely to the power of these suggestions, did not consider it important to put patients into a deep hypnotic trance - they could be induced to enter a state of mild reverie, or even remain fully awake. Liebault tried to be objective. "There is some truth in both approaches," he wrote. "It is time we stopped accusing each other and let go of our imaginary convictions. Only then can we work together in complete understanding."
The other approach Liebault was referring to was that of the Salpetriere School.
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HYPNOTISM is by no means a new art. True, it has been developed into a science in comparatively recent years. But the principles of thought control have been used for thousands of years in India, ancient Egypt, among the Persians, Chinese and in many other ancient lands. Learn more within this guide.