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Stewart, H. (1981). A Handbook of Medical Hypnosis.: By G. Ambrose and G. Newbold. London: Bailliere Tindall, 1980 (4th edn.). Pp. 213.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 8:357-358.

(1981). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 8:357-358

A Handbook of Medical Hypnosis.: By G. Ambrose and G. Newbold. London: Bailliere Tindall, 1980 (4th edn.). Pp. 213.

Review by:
Harold Stewart

Hypnosis was the first purely psychological technique used by Freud in the treatment of mental disorders. The patient was induced into a hypnotic trance and given suggestions to effect direct symptom removal, produce relaxation, or more dynamically, to abreact emotionally, repressed traumatic experiences which were manifesting themselves as symptoms (Breuer & Freud, Studies on Hysteria, 1895). As many patients could not be hypnotized, or if they could, no such abreactions occurred, Freud abandoned hypnosis for the techniques of free-association, dream interpretation and transference elucidation. Psychoanalysts and most psychoanalytically-oriented psychologists have followed Freud in discarding hypnotherapy in their clinical practice, but this does not mean that there is no place in either organic or psychological medicine for the use of hypnosis. This book gives a birds-eye view over medical practice to indicate and assess where that place is.

It opens with a brief history of medical hypnotism, followed by a chapter on the medical hypnotist and the law, which includes an interesting account of the use of hypnosis in criminal investigation and interrogation, a procedure now used by the police forces of several countries. An extremely brief account is then given of theories about the nature of hypnosis. Although there are more references to Freud in the index than to any other person, no mention is made either of his theories or those of any other psychoanalyst. It is worth mentioning here that, on page 111, the following sentence occurs—'Indeed it was while "practising" on a patient bequeathed to him by his friend Professor Breuer that Freud was able to help Anna O, a gross hysteric, by the new method of "free association".

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