Sigmund Freud used hypnosis early in his career to treat sex-related problems in his patients. The father of modern psychotherapy reportedly abandoned hypnosis after a female patient jumped up from her hypnotic trance and kissed him.
This is hardly a problem that hypnotherapists often face. Freud’s failure with hypnosis becomes more understandable when a little-known fact about him is revealed. Freud was a poor hypnotist not because of any incompetence on his part, but rather because he sometimes slurred his words and had other minor difficulties in speaking.
Freud’s real hypnotic problems were his gums, which were frequently infected and caused him to suffer with ill-fitting dentures throughout most of his adult life.
Milton Erickson, MD, the greatest clinical hypnotherapist of the 20th Century, claimed that the success of a hypnotherapist depends upon his level of skill. By this measure Freud never had a chance to excel with hypnosis.
Later in life , Freud overcame his frustration with hypnosis and admitted that it had led him the right direction in opening the door of the unconscious.
Since Freud, hypnosis has been used for a century to treat sexual problems. In the century since Freud experimented with hypnosis, clinical hypnotherapists have radically improved the effectiveness of hypnotic techniques and methodologies, especially in treating sex-related problems. But Erickson’s advice that the success of hypnosis depends upon the skill of the hypnotherapist still holds true.