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Stewart, H. (1966). On Consciousness, Negative Hallucinations, and the Hypnotic State. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:50-53.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:50-53

On Consciousness, Negative Hallucinations, and the Hypnotic State

Harold Stewart

The phenomena that can be produced in a subject who has been induced into a hypnotic trance state are part of those psychical activities, such as dreaming, which can occur in apparently normal individuals, yet are more akin to psychotic than to normal psychic processes. In this paper I intend to examine the phenomena of consciousness and negative hallucinations from the psycho-analytical viewpoint and will start with a quotation from Freud (1895). This comes from the case-history of Miss Lucy R. in Studies in Hysteria where he is recapitulating his observations of Bernheim at work with hypnotized patients.

I was saved from this new embarrassment by remembering that I had myself seen Bernheim producing evidence that the memories of events during somnambulism are only apparently forgotten (author's italics) in the waking state and can be revived by a mild word of command and a pressure with the hand intended to indicate a different state of consciousness. He had, for instance, given a woman in a state of somnambulism a negative hallucination to the effect that he was no longer present, and had then endeavoured to draw her attention to himself in a great variety of ways, including some of a decidedly aggressive kind. He did not succeed. After she had woken up he asked her to tell him what he had done to her while she thought he was not there. She replied in surprise that she knew nothing of it. But he did not accept this. He insisted that she could remember everything and laid his hand on her forehead to help her to recall it.

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