They Call it Hypnosis

Robert A. Baker

The eighteenth century scientist Franz Mesmer believed magnetic forces ruled the universe and that people were imbued with an "animal magnetism" that, when liberated, could produce amazing healing effects. Mesmerism, as it was called, was an early precursor to the concept of hypnosis. The word hypnosis was coined from the Greek word for sleep, because of a popular but erroneous belief that the phenomenon was a form of sleep.

Today many medical authorities are persuaded that there is no such state of altered consciousness and that what we term hypnosis is in fact a fascinatingly complex combination of social compliance, relaxation, and suggestibility that can account for many esoteric behavioral manifestations, including such occult behavior as past4ife regression, UFO "abduction," channeling, and glossolalia ("speaking in tongues").

In this definitive study, Robert Baker traces the history and current status of hypnosis, reviewing the role played by suggestion and examining all the major contemporary theories-and misconceptions-regarding the phenomenon. Baker paints a clear picture of what hypnosis is and is not, what it can and cannot accomplish, and how it can be misused and abused. He describes its use in preventing or arresting pain and outlines future directions for the role of suggestion in the clinic and the laboratory. Based on modern scientific research, They Call It Hypnosis provides factual answers about this unusual aspect of creative human behavior.

Robert A. Baker has taught psychology at Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and, most recently, the University of Kentucky. He is the author or coauthor of six books, including the widely used textbook Psychology for Man Hidden Memories and Mind Games: Are We Obsessed with Therapy?. He has subsequently edited Child Sexual Abuse and False Memory Syndrome.

313 pages ISBN 0-87975-576-8 Cloth

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