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With wit and verve Robin Waterfield brings the bizarre story of hypnotism to life. A lively mixture of popular history science and psychology, Hidden Depths is the definitive work on hypnosisFrom its origins as animal magnetism, as practised by Franz Anton Mesmer, to its modern day use as a health cure and a form of entertainment, hypnosis encompasses many different facets of humanity. Always controversial, the outlandish claims that its zealous believers make are only matched in intensity by the howls of derision that they provoke from sceptics. Hypnotism exists on the periphery of the scientific community, much as it has since its inception. Robin Waterfield approaches the issues with an open mind, carefully stripping the fact from the fancy and the truth from the myth. And as he builds the comprehensive picture of this unusual art other issues are raised. The relationship, for example, between the predilections of society and the popularity of hypnosis.
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Robin Waterfield is the author of over twenty-five books, ranging from children's fiction to biography and translations of ancient Greek texts. Hidden Depths is the product of a lifelong interest in human potential and psychology. At present he is Writer in Residence at the University of Sussex.Review:
One of the most fascinating books published this year, Robin Waterfield's in-depth study of hypnotism examines its history, what it can teach us about the powers of the human mind and the way its techniques have become absorbed into our culture. Hypnotism burst into life with Franz Mesmer, born in 1734, who found he could magnetize glass and water. Believing himself a channel for the magnetic fluid, he effected astonishing cures with his cumbersome paraphernalia and hand passes. Fellow doctors regarded him as a charlatan even though they were unable to replicate his success. Mesmer's brainchild broke free from its limitations with the Marquis de Puyseguer. He junked the paraphernalia and relied on hand passes. But hypnotism aroused little interest among the more phlegmatic British until the spectacular case of Harriet Martineau, cured of chronic pain by hypnotism in 1844. Even then, quacks, impostors and the spectre of sexual malpractice continued to muddy the waters. Hypnotism sank back into the doldrums and had to wait until the late 19th century before Bernheim and Charcot made it a respectable subject for academic study. After the First World War, Freud, a poor hypnotherapist himself, again contributed towards its marginalization. It took until the 1950s for the BMA to admit the usefulness of hypnosis as a form of therapy. Waterfield shows how hypnotism shades over into the paranormal and pervades a vast range of associated phenomena - among those he discusses are clairvoyance, telepathy, past life regression, false memories in sexual abuse cases, hyperamnesia, forensic hypnosis and alien abduction. Similarly, he looks at charismatic leadership, cults and the CIA's involvement in brainwashing, and dissects criminal cases involving claims of hypnosis - fascinating reading in themselves. He gives an idea of the many disorders for which hypnosis may be effective, describing what a hypnotic trance feels like and providing instructions on self-hypnosis. Throughout, Waterfield retains a healthy scepticism for many of the claims tagged onto hypnotism and accepts that the evidence for paranormal phenomena is slight. But he firmly nails his colours to the mast in believing that a genuine altered state of consciousness does exist - the true hypnotic trance. (Kirkus UK) --na
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Book Description Macmillan Pub Ltd, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0333779495