Dave Elman (May 6, 1900 – 5 December 1967) was a noted American radio host, comedian, and songwriter, and important figure in the field of hypnosis. He is most known today as the author of Findings in Hypnosis (1964).
On page one of his famous book he states, "There is really no such thing as a hypnotist."
But what did he mean?
It strikes me that this notion was an important one to Elman, given that it is stated so early on. Yet, when I have discussed it's meaning with other hypnotists, there is little consensus about what it means.
Some suggest it means 'all hypnosis is self-hypnosis', that the subject essentially hypnotises themselves, even if a hypnotist is present. Other's have suggested that it means 'everyone is a hypnotist', that the skill is already in our hands.
While both points have some merit, if we consider the quote in the context of other comments on the page, it becomes clear that Elman sees the hypnotist as more of a guide, or what he calls a 'dreampilot', whose job is to simply show their subject how they can go from a 'normal waking or sleeping state, into the peculiar state of mind called hypnosis.'
This places most of the responsibility for experiencing hypnosis with the subject rather than the operator.
What do you think this legend of hypnosis meant?
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