I have just been awarded another qualification by the National Council of Hypnotherapy, in recognition of some extensive case studies as well as a bunch of reading, writing and supervision over the past year. I've learned for example how neuroscience can now explain why, when it comes to achieving what we want, imagination is more powerful than than the will. A bit like an amazing cocktail's better than a tequila shot - it's more enigmatic, evocative, interesting, and it's still there five minutes later.
On a more historical note, did you know that hypnotherapy originated in surgery? In the days just before anaesthetics came about, a Scottish doctor named James Esdaile noticed that people manage pain and recover much better and faster (and indeed survive more often) if they are helped to relax beforehand. That was in the 1840s! In the same era another Scottish surgeon, James Braid coined the term ‘hypnosis’ and for the first time placed it’s causes in the brain and psychology, as opposed to the more mysterious or external forces referred to by others before him. To this day we're understanding more and more about pain, how it happens in the brain as much as the body, and how we can manage it using mental techniques. Given the massive prevalence of pain - amongst the well as well as the unwell - and a wide-spread reliance on opioid painkillers, which have been shown to be often much less effective than we give them credit for, there is so much potential here.
It has been a demanding process wading through texts, discussing at length with tutors and colleagues and deepening my understanding of these great minds from the past. Achieving it is a significant step towards helping us move another step closer to being the best we can be.
Reflecting on the past and imagining the future helps get the most from the present.