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Niederland, W.G. (1966). Hypnosis and Suggestion in Psychotherapy. A Treatise on the Nature and Uses of Hypnotism: By H. Bernheim, M. D. New Hyde Park, N. Y.: University Books, Inc., 1964. 428 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 35:138-141.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 35:138-141

Hypnosis and Suggestion in Psychotherapy. A Treatise on the Nature and Uses of Hypnotism: By H. Bernheim, M. D. New Hyde Park, N. Y.: University Books, Inc., 1964. 428 pp.

Review by:
William G. Niederland

A greatly increased interest in hypnosis and related phenomena seems to have followed, in part, the study of a number of important observations pertaining to sleep, dreaming, alterations in the state of consciousness, etc. during recent years.

It is noteworthy, however, that the history of scientific interest in hypnosis is an old and 'peculiarly cyclical one', as pointed out by Ernest R. Hilgard in his excellent introduction to this volume. From the highly personalized application of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique by Mesmer (1734-1815)—whose special leanings and erroneous theories ('animal magnetism') contributed to the mystic aura which has surrounded hypnosis for centuries—runs a long if frequently broken line of scientific endeavors by Braid, Charcot, Forel, Freud, Hull, Janet, and others to the current reports in our literature.

This historical development reached its nineteenth-century zenith with the work of Bernheim whose book, first published in France during the years 1884 and 1886, was translated into German by Freud in 1888. The first English translation, out of print for more than half a century, appeared in the same year. The present translation repairs this situation.

Freud's introduction to Bernheim's book describes its significance and scope in terms which are as clear and pertinent today as they were when it was published: '… the work of Dr. Bernheim provides an admirable introduction to the study of hypnotism, that is in many respects stimulating and indeed enlightening… The achievement of Bernheim (and of his colleagues at Nancy who are working along the same lines) consists precisely in having stripped the manifestations of hypnotism of their strangeness by linking them up with familiar phenomena of normal psychological life and of sleep … bringing to light the psychological laws that apply to both classes of events.

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