The Evolution of Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®
The Greatest Hypnotists
Bennett / Stellar University would like to honor the following individuals for their successes in the field of hypnotherapy and their contributions to the development of Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®
Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer – Developer of Mesmerism and Discoverer of Animal Magnetism
The man credited with the discovery of the mental state now called hypnosis was Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). The modern era of hypnosis and hypnotherapy really begins with him, a man so famous for his healing ability that the terms mesmerizing and mesmerized were coined based on his work.
Mesmer had ideas well ahead of his time, perhaps even ahead of this enlightened age. He believed good health was a result of the harmonious ebb and flow of a magnetic fluid, or energy, within the body, and that disease was the result of a blockage of this fluid. Mesmer also believed that since the heavenly bodies of the universe affected areas of the earth in the same way the moon affected the ocean’s tidal movements, this universal influence must also affect the animals upon the earth. He called this fluid Gravitas, or Animal Magnetism.
Mesmer’s belief system – including the use of his hands as an energetic healing method – was studied by the world’s leading scientists of his day, Benjamin Franklin among them. While scientists viewed and confirmed the success of Mesmer’s methods in healing his patients, they could not confirm that the seemingly mystical energy he spoke of was the true source of his success. Instead, they determined it was the patient’s imagination, or mind, that was actually healing them. As such, hypnosis, which was referred to then as Induced Somnambulism, was born. Somnambulism literally means sleepwalking, and is currently considered to be the deepest of hypnotic states. When exposed to Mesmer’s healing energy, or Animal Magnetism, his patients would often fall into a trance or this sleepwalking-type state.
Even today, hypnosis has a rather magical and dubious reputation that continues to persist in some quarters. This is mainly due to Mesmer’s peers, who resisted and questioned his energetic methods to induce this odd state in his patients. Of course, as we now know, the experience of hypnosis and trance states are fundamental and natural human traits.
Mesmer’s Contribution To Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®
Today, a hypnotist may wave his/her hands over a client in a movement referred to as the Mesmeric Pass, named of course, after the legendary Franz Mesmer and his methods. Most of these modern hypnotists view this as a simple hand movement, and do not use it to send trance-inducing energy as did Mesmer.
Michael’s experience of the healing power and trance-inducing effectiveness of the popular Asian hands-on healing practice of Reiki, combined with his studies of Mesmer’s energetic hypnosis methods, caused him to conclude that Reiki should be added to the Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy® curriculum.
Michael realizes that Hypnosis and Reiki have similar roots. Around the time Dr. Mikao Usui re-discovered Reiki from 2500- year-old Tibetan and Sanskrit texts, The Father of Hypnosis, Dr. Franz Mesmer, was successfully using similar energetic healing methods. Mesmer referred to his methods as Mesmerism or Magnetism. Even though most Mesmerists enjoyed greater successes than hypnotists, according to comparative studies performed in the 1800’s, psychologists denied the energetic aspects, and the terms Mesmerism and Hypnotism became almost synonymous. We feel Reiki is an excellent means of reviving Mesmer’s healing art of Mesmerism.
Milton H. Erickson – Developer of Ericksonian Hypnosis
MILTON H. ERICKSON, M.D. is generally acknowledged to be the world’s leading practitioner of medical hypnosis. His writings on hypnosis are the authoritative word on trance-inducing techniques. This includes his experimental work exploring the possibilities and limits of the hypnotic experience and investigations into the nature of the relationship between hypnotist and subject.
Perhaps a less well-known fact is that Dr. Erickson had a unique approach to psychotherapy, which represents a major innovation in therapeutic techniques. For approximately 60 years, he developed effective and practical treatment methods which may or may not involve the formal induction of trance. Those who think of him largely as a hypnotherapist might be surprised that he listed himself in the telephone directory as a psychiatrist and family counselor.
Erickson’s relationship with hypnosis was a very personal one. He first encountered it as a way of overcoming his physical limitations. Later, he conducted many experiments on hypnotic phenomena, such as hypnotically-induced deafness and color blindness. Above all, his interest was in the therapeutic value of hypnosis, and to this end, he adopted a unique approach.
The first approach was flexibility, and Erickson was incredibly so when adapting his approach to each individual client. Sometimes, he would be direct, authoritarian, even aggressive. At other times, he would be permissive, indirect, and soothing. There were also times when he would choose not to use hypnosis in any recognizable sense. An oft-repeated tale is his treatment of a man who had a severe stroke and was left paralyzed and unable to speak. Erickson verbally abused this client to such a shocking degree that the man got up and walked out of the room, telling Erickson exactly what he thought of him as he did so – an almost miraculous, instant cure.
Erickson’s Contribution To Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®
Milton Erickson’s flexibility with inducing hypnosis, and his ability to tailor his communications to each client, made him a legend in the field of hypnosis. When Erickson was asked, “Is there anyone you cannot hypnotize?” his response was, “I don’t know. I am still working on them.” Knowing this, it is surprising to us that the majority of hypnotherapy schools still teach their students to induce hypnosis and give suggestions by reading from written scripts.
Michael, given his focus on training students to hypnotize anyone, anywhere, for any problem, further enhanced the Neuro- Linguistic Hypnotherapy® curriculum with Erickson’s methodology. The use of rapport, therapeutic metaphor, and a masterful use of language is adapted to direct each client’s thinking process. Furthermore, Erickson’s unique ability to read and use body language are skills taught to, and used by, the Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapist®.
Dave Elman – Hypnosis, Medicine, and The Developer of The Elman Hypnotic Induction
Dave Elman was born May 6, 1900, in Park River, North Dakota, and died on December 5, 1967. His interest in hypnosis was stimulated at an early age by his father who was an accomplished hypnotist. When Elman was eight years old, he began to realize the vast possibilities of hypnosis for pain relief. This occurred when his father was dying of cancer, and a family friend relieved the intractable pain quite rapidly with hypnosis. This friend was a well-known hypnotist with an enviable fame for performing outstanding feats. Young Dave never forgot how his father was afforded relief that was unavailable from traditional medical procedures.
During 1923-1928, in the evenings, on holidays, and weekends, Elman worked for free on various radio networks. In 1928, he began his first paying job with radio station WHN. Soon after, he was hired by Columbia Broadcasting System, and worked on every major radio station in the metropolitan New York area, where he became known as an idea man. He wrote, produced, directed, and performed in his own shows as well as others.
Many show people do charitable work, and Elman was no exception. He would often get a group of his friends together to put on a show for some worthy cause. In 1948, he arranged such a benefit, and a few days before the show, was informed that the group would not be back in town in time for the performance. Elman was in a tight spot; it would be impossible to get another group together on such short notice. What could he do? How could he entertain an audience for a couple of hours? He hit on the idea of a hypnosis show, something he hadn’t done in years. The performance was a success, and afterward, he was approached by a group of doctors who asked him to teach them what he knew about hypnosis. Apparently, though they had taken courses, they had all tried to use hypnosis in their practices, but failed. Elman agreed to teach them, and gave a course to a group of twenty physicians. When that course was over, the doctors had another group of twenty waiting, and so it grew.
Elman was then faced with a difficult decision. He loved his work in radio, but he wanted to teach hypnosis; it had to be one or the other. The rest is history. Elman gave up his radio career for hypnosis, and decided to only teach physicians and dentists in the New York-New Jersey area. Before long, he was receiving calls from doctors all over the country asking him to come to their town. In many instances, they agreed to create groups, which opened the door to his career in teaching hypnosis throughout the country. It soon became an everyday occurrence for Elman to receive telephone calls from doctors everywhere seeking advice on hypnosis. Many of his students had taken courses from their colleagues, but they had not learned enough. As with today, there were doctors in those days who felt that hypnosis should be their own exclusive domain, insisting that no layman could, or should, teach doctors anything. Elman felt the sting of those ill-advised people. Nevertheless, he continued to teach and continued to gain respect and admiration.
Elman’s Contribution To Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®
Dave Elman is best known for his hypnotic induction of the same name. In order for medical and dental professionals to use hypnosis, they needed to be able to induce the hypnotic state quickly, as they only had a short period of time to spend with each patient.
The Elman Induction takes approximately 3-4 minutes to complete. His use of fractionation, his quick client-deepening methods, and his technique to suggest hypnotic phenomena instead of waiting for it to occur naturally, all contributed to his methodologies being added to the Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy® curriculum. In fact, The Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapist’s full understanding of the nuts and bolts of what made Elman’s induction so fast and effective gives them the ability to place clients into deep trance in about a minute.
Richard Bandler – Developer of NLP and Founder of The Society of NLP
In the early 1970’s, Richard Bandler, a student of psychology and mathematics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and John Grinder, a professor of linguistics at Santa Cruz, collaborated in an effort to define the qualities of excellence in several accomplished individuals. They studied the thinking processes, language patterns, and behavioral patterns of Fritz Perls, Father of Gestalt Therapy, Virginia Satir, an exceptional family psychotherapist, Milton Erickson, M.D., an innovative hypnotherapist, and Gregory Bateson, a well-known British anthropologist and writer on communication theories. As a result, they discovered that many of the behavioral and psychological elements that allowed these individuals to achieve excellence were unconscious and intuitive, and the participants could not describe their own exceptional qualities. These studies were integrated into what is considered today as the means to achieve highly effective communication and the most powerful vehicle of behavioral change – Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP.
"I highly recommend Michael Bennett of Bennett/Stellar University. He is continually updating his training with the most up-to-date skills I have developed and is one of the few centers licensed internationally through the Society of Neuro Linguistic Programming. . ." - Richard Bandler, Creator of NLP
Bandler’s Contribution To Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®
Richard Bandler and his collaborator, John Grinder, developed NLP, which has been referred to as the operating manual for the human being – or as Michael describes it, “The left brain approach for understanding the right brain.” Modern Psychology Magazine referred to NLP as, “The most powerful vehicle for change in existence.” Michael’s personal study with Bandler, and his experience of NLP’s almost miraculous effectiveness, has led him to include a complete Master Practitioner Level of Neuro Linguistics in his Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy® Program. With Neuro Linguistics as a foundation, a Neuro- Linguistic Hypnotherapist can pinpoint and focus suggestions directly into the area of the client’s brain where they will be most effective. In addition, the Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapist can enjoy success helping clients overcome their issues at any level of trance – from seemingly normal conversation to the deepest level of trance.
Michael A. Bennett – Developer of Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®
Michael A. Bennett, founder of Bennett / Stellar University, through his ability to conceptually blend the works of the hypnotherapy pioneers before him, has arguably become the fastest and most successful therapeutic hypnotist in the world. Michael is known by his peers to be able to help most of his clients – and in one session – with almost every issue presented to him.
As strange as this sounds, there have been many times when Michael has been having dinner in a restaurant or relaxing in a nightclub with friends and acquaintances that have overheard other patrons complain of aches and pains, sick stomachs, and emotional upsets. They have brought these ailing folks over to Michael to help relieve their suffering, and even in these non-therapeutic and challenging environments, Michael has been able to hypnotize and bring relief to these strangers in a matter of minutes. With results like these, is it any wonder why Michael’s students consider him to be one of the best kept secrets in the personal development industry?
Michael has a seemingly infinite amount of knowledge and boundless energy. Students often comment that the level of information he provides is amazing. Michael is often assisted these days, yet continues to provide instruction 16 days in a row, 9 hours per day, all on his own. At first, Bennett / Stellar University students commented that they were intimidated to join our 16-day retreat programs for fear they would not be able to sit in class for that long, only to be relieved by the fun and inspiring instruction Michael provides. Most students can’t believe how fast time can fly, and are often sad when having to leave.
Bennett’s Contribution To Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®
Michael’s contribution to Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy® is multidimensional.
1. Michael has been involved in personal development in one way or another for most of his life, and has officially practiced and taught behavioral change for over 30 years. His knowledge of the academic field has given Bennett / Stellar University and its flagship program, Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®, its prestigious reputation and credentialing. In addition, unlike most instructors of these arts, Michael demonstrates every technique he teaches. Many instructors relate their knowledge of the subjects they teach; however, it is rare for these same instructors to actually provide demonstrations of success with their students. Michael has always taken it for granted that the student should witness the success of what they are learning. This provides students with that confidence and faith in each process needed for them to go out and achieve the same.
2. When Michael was interviewed about his development of Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy®, the interviewer pointed out Michael’s gift of conceptual blending, which is the process of integrating various concepts and modalities to create an innovative technology. This does not stop with technical knowledge. Michael also blends the students in his courses into a harmonious community. One of the compliments Michael has often heard, and of which he is most proud, is how each class of students becomes an integrated whole.This even happens with those persons whom others find it more difficult to identify, as these students also become part of the family before the program is complete.
3. Neuro Linguistic Hypnotherapy® has a nonreligious, yet inspiring, spiritual dimension. Michael’s students and clients are often inspired by his insights into human nature and spiritual philosophies, and many have remarked that Michael may have a special connection with the Universe. Bennett / Stellar University has had students from every part of the world, many of whom are orthodox in their faiths. Every one of these students has left the program with a greater sense of their beliefs, and in some cases, renewed devotion. Other participants have walked away with an inspired feeling of well-being in their lives, practices, and futures.