Hypnosis in ancient civilizations

Hypnosis has been around for thousands of years, just not in the form we know it today. In ancient times, it played a key role in religious ceremonies and healing processes where shaman or a priest would use many different techniques to put a person in a trance like state, so it would seem that the priest has some supernatural powers. The techniques used to induce this specific state included rhythmic chanting, monotonous drum beats, together with strained fixations of the eyes.

The first known person to use this kind of therapy was Imhotep, an Egyptian priest who lived 4000 years ago. Imhotep built a pyramid, or a sleep temple, which he used as a psychotherapeutic tool for people who were looking for psychological help. According to Reeves, a Hypnoanalyst and Stress Management consultant “Under the influence of incantation and the performance of religious rituals, sick people were prepared psychologically for suggestion therapy; they were put in to a “hypnotic state”. Before falling asleep they were influenced by suggestions, in the hope of provoking dreams sent by the gods… Sleep Temples were and are used for the mentally ill, as a place where priests interpret the sick person’s dreams. Thus, by the use of suggestion, (and the help of the god) the priests appear to cast out bad spirits from the mind and body of the sick“.

The same thing was present in ancient Greece, where sleep temples were regarded as places of great mental and physical healing, places of spirits and mysterious powers. Temples were dedicated to the healing god Æsclepius who could perform miraculous cures in the dreams. In Greece, the trance like state was called the incubation and the person could be in that state for three days. During that time, the priests would use suggestion to help the person to make contact with the god in their dreams and in that way enable them to obtain the cure for their illness.

People who were searching for this kind of help were called the Seekers. “The Seeker did not just go in to the temple; they had to wait for the right time to come” (Reeves D., 2017). In order to gain permission to enter the temple, the Seeker had to learn and perform rituals of purification. His body, mind and soul had to be clean. “They would meditate, fast, take hot baths, and make a sacrifice to the god. They looked for signs in their dreams. When the signs and omens looked right and they had cleansed the body, mind and soul, only then were they allowed to enter the main part of the temple“ (Reeves D., 2017). In the main part of the temple was a large open floor area where the seekers could unroll their sacred skin, sleep and dream of god Æsclepius healing them. It was a good dream if the seeker dreamt of the god touching his wound and healing it. After that, person would wake up and the attendant would discuss and explore the dream with the seeker to secure the insights appropriate to that seeker at their stage of development. “The dreams of the seeker contained the seeds of their own healing. Through incubation, the seeker was to awaken to his real self and in so doing regenerate himself physically, mentally and spiritually“ (Reeves D., 2017).

The power of one’s mind and the ability of other to manipulate it is both dangerous and exciting to think about. Because of the mystery that surrounds it, this phenomenon will never stop to amaze us.



Accessed on April 23, 2017


Melvin S. Marsh is a practicing hypnotherapist in Augusta, Georgia.  He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide via Skype.  He can be reached at or afterhourshypnotherapy @ or call our receptionist at (678) 658-8483 to make an appointment.  Melvin loves history so please send him any fun history trivia about hypnosis!


Starting off, this was one of the biggest problems.  I try to be nice to everyone but one of my first clients developed an issue of transference.  I had to terminate the relationship because of how it was escalating.  Since it is a situation that occurred to me very recently, I asked a friend, Guest blogger Courtney Card, to take us through transference.
By Courtney Card

Depending on who you ask, “transference” could mean one of three things:

1. Therapists in consultation with one another may refer to transference as a general statement about the strength of the therapeutic relationship. In this view, a “good” or “positive” transference means the therapist and client get along reasonably well. “Negative” transference means some conflict or blockage prevents a good working relationship.

2. The classic use of the term transference comes from psychoanalysis and includes: “the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object.”  Transference happens everywhere, including within any therapeutic modality. Psychoanalysis just intensifies it (through all that blank screen stuff) and places it under the microscope.
3. Yet another way transference is used refers only to the loving feelings. Shorthand for what therapists call “erotic transference,” this is where the client develops romantic feelings for the therapist.

​What’s the problem with transference? Rather than connecting with the person, we’re relating to a template, which may be quite different from the flesh and blood in front of us. You’re treating Jane Doe like she’s your mother, or your grade school rival, or an idealized object of desire, when she’s actually none of the above – she’s Jane Doe. It prevents you from really connecting with Jane in a meaningful way. But it’s not always bad. Transference in therapy can be incredibly helpful, pointing us in the direction of unhealed wounds. It can transport therapy from lecture to laboratory.

Fictional Reader says the “intense attachment” is uncomfortable and difficult to discuss, and wants some coping strategies. A few come to mind:

Normalize – Some people feel ashamed for having loving, sexual, or seemingly off-the-wall feelings toward their therapist. But really, this does happen all the time. Therapists interested in relational issues and deep work expect transference of some sort to arise, and most are comfortable talking about it.

Talk about it – Fictional Reader is talking about it, and his therapist encourages it. Most of the time, this is all it takes to make these uncomfortable feelings more manageable and even help them diminish. Having difficulty getting started? How about: “I’ve been feeling a little uncomfortable here recently, and I think it has to do with our relationship.” The therapist should know where to go next.

Find the root – Transference reactions usually point to some deeper issue or unfinished business from the past.

Look for differences – If you really feel the need to end the transference pattern, you can try to actively separate the person from the template.

How do you want to relate? – Like so many situations, when we’re focusing on what not to do, we do just that. Don’t think of an elephant. Spend some time thinking about and discussing how you want to relate to your therapist, how you’d like it to feel, what you imagine it would look like. Then practice.

One of the biggest issues of transference developing in hypnotherapy is that a client may become dependent upon the therapy and/or therapist, so again, the client developing responsibility and being shown to take responsibility for them self as much as possible throughout the hypnotherapy is incredibly important. Again, if explained from the beginning and holding the client accountable to this notion, the focus can go elsewhere.

No place for an ego in hypnotherapy

My fellow hypnotists and hypnotherapists, can we talk?

I mean really talk.

There has been this strange phenomena that I have seen from time to time among live hypnotism groups as well as on chat forums. This feeling that there is only space for one “real” hypnotist or professional hypnotherapist in these groups designed to teach newbies hypnosis.  Some might remove from the teaching groups and classes anyone who fails to go into and maintain a trance. Why? Because it makes the group leader look bad.  This is even worse if this person being removed is another hypnosis professional who is trying to expand their hypnosis knowledge.  Now I can see if we are up on stage and we are performing a show, of course what you do is send the person back into the audience, you don’t kick them out of the venue.

For example, I am a hypnotherapist, but would like to see how street and stage hypnosis performers work as that is very different from what I do on a daily basis.  I admire the stage hypnotists and their ability to have a lot of fun with hypnosis all while I work on breaking bad habits like smoking, weight loss, habit control, and psychological trauma.  I tend to be very willing to allow other hypnotists to practice on me so that I might learn different inductions or understand at a deeper level what the experience is supposed to be like.  I refuse to do to anything to any client something that I have not personally experienced.  I tend to be curious as to how I, as a conditioned somnambulist, do not enter trance with stage, while a standard hypnotherapy appointment will cause me to enter trance as soon as I enter the door and am tagged as being one of the easiest people for students to work on. If I do not go into trance for you, that is no reason to think someone did something wrong. You cannot force a subject into trance.

The fact is this profession is definitely an unusual one and one that tends to have many popular references to us being ego-centric or simply evil.  What benefit is it to us to have that ego?  What benefit is it to act like children?  Ego stands in the way of being a successful hypnotist.

In clinical hypnotherapy, we often remind the client that they are the ones in control.  We just help and facilitate the trance state.  Hypnosis is not something that one does to a person, it’s something that a hypnotist does with a person.  I do not make my clients go into trance while I play them like a puppet.  No!  A person can only do what they wish to do when in trance and both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.  I tend to go into trance with my clients to show that this is not scary and I tend to lead them and coax them in.  I also consider the relationship between a client and their hypnotherapist to be almost sacred.

There is no place for an ego if a client does not want to go into trance.  It does not mean that someone failed as a hypnotist.  It may just mean that the client has something going on and that they might have an issue on that particular day maintaining trance even if they are a conditioned subject who loves to enter into trance… a hypnojunkie as it were, just like me.

I ask my fellow hypnotists for the love of the profession to please not be so cocky.  It just serves no one especially not the profession.  One should try to help our fellow hypnotists better serve the clients that they are supposed to help.  Like there is no place for an ego in psychology, there is none in hypnotherapy.  It’s all about helping the client.


Melvin S. Marsh is a practicing hypnotherapist in Augusta, Georgia.  He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide via Skype.  He can be reached at or afterhourshypnotherapy @ or call our receptionist at (678) 658-8483 to make an appointment.

Chronic Pain testimonial

I received this message out of the blue today, so I wanted to show it.  I appreciate Nickka taking the time to write it!

By Nickka Hutton

For several years, my life has been defined by pain. I’ve been through every medical test you could name: enough X-rays and Ct scans to make me glow in the dark, more MRIs than I could count, numerous surgeries. Doctors couldn’t offer any relief … all they could offer was a lifetime of powerful narcotics to mask the pain I was feeling.

I couldn’t believe that this was the only option. I was determined to get to the bottom of my problems. I was sure that I could find the answer in scientific literature, but I wanted real scientific evidence, not some goofy opinion based on the latest internet craze.

I was surprised to find articles pointing to hypnotherapy as an excellent treatment for chronic pain. Not just one or two articles, either: there were literally dozens of them! This was real research done by some heavyweights in the medical field, places like Yale, Harvard, Stanford and more. All the studies came to the same conclusions. Hypnosis provides significant long-term relief without years of therapy. It works for all age groups, from children to adults, with no negative side effects.

I just had to try it. I had nothing to lose but my pain, after all. After much searching, I was lucky enough to find Melvin, and trusted him immediately. I live in Canada, so we work together through Skype. He’s provided me with the welcome relief I so desperately wanted. Now I feel great!

It’s been an amazing journey through my subconscious mind. I feel better than I have in years … he has quite literally given me my life back! Today I went for a walk along the beach for a whole hour, enjoying the feel of the sun and the sand. That would have been unthinkable just a few short weeks ago, and I have him to thank for it. I just keep feeling better and better!

Don’t take my word for it … contact him and set up your appointment today. He helped me, and he can help you, too!

Hypnotherapy newbie experience

By : April Hartmeister (Guest Blogger)

I like to consider myself an open minded person, and was very happy to obtaining hypnotherapy for the first time! I was very excited to see what my experience with Melvin would be. WOW! What an experience! I would like to do this again. Melvin was very helpful with me being new to having hypnotherapy done. After having an initial conversation and me telling him what I’d like to work on (self esteem/self confidence), I got in a comfortable position and we started the hypnotherapy. He spent a good amount of time making sure I was relaxed, and I could actually feel myself relaxing more and more, not just hearing his words.

After the relaxation practice and by the time Melvin was working with me regarding my personal goal of raising self esteem and confidence for my new business, I could hear him, however it was distant, because I was so relaxed. His words were soothing as he spoke to me regarding my confidence, providing more of a subconscious focus on my esteem and confidence. My personal take is that this was a way to deepen the instillation of confidence and the feeling of it, to have it absorb at a subconscious level.

It was about a full hour session and I loved it, I was so relaxed after the session, and a little more confident too. I am excited to see what happens after the next session.

What did I expect out of this session? I looked at Melvin’s website to see what he had to say and how he presented his practice, so I knew I should expect to be relaxed. What I didn’t expect was the level of relaxation. Being someone who is in the healing arts, I have experienced many levels and practices of relaxation, and this particular experience I see where it could have a deep effect, as this is one of the deepest most relaxed points for me, and this is sitting up! I never really went to sleep but it felt almost as if I was in a waking dream, because I could hear Melvin’s voice in the background as I was just experience one of the most relaxed states of mind for me.

I have never been afraid of hypnosis, but I also felt I could never reach a state of hypnosis were I’d not be in any control. That was never an issue with Melvin. He knows how powerful the relaxation can be and it was easy to trust him, but it was also because he pre-informed me of what hypnotherapy was and he was so easy to speak to in our conversation.

In all, I would love to do it again, and think that Melvin has a real talent! And I am excited to see what turns out with my self esteem and confidence in my business!



Melvin S. Marsh is a practicing hypnotherapist in Augusta, Georgia.  He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide via Skype.  He can be reached at or afterhourshypnotherapy @ or call our receptionist at (678) 658-8483 to make an appointment.

Want Change? Try Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis. The very word conjures visions of pocket watches, hypnoscopes, and people doing outrageous things such as barking like a dog or clucking like a chicken only to find themselves standing, often quite embarrassed, once the show is over.

However, most don’t realize a form of hypnosis, called hypnotherapy, has been successfully used to help people stop smoking, lose weight, improve their confidence and motivation, help people increase their sales, and even improve their sports game. As part of a health care team consisting of other licensed providers, hypnotherapy may be used as an adjunct therapy to help patients who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, or a multitude of other medical issues. Some conservative providers may not be open to working with a hypnotherapist saying it does not work or that not everyone can be put into a trance. However, the world renowned Mayo Clinic recognizes the benefits of hypnotherapy and provides this service. For the critics saying not everyone can be hypnotized, while it is true some people are easier to hypnotize than others, everyone can be put into a trance of some form. It works the best for people of normal to above average intelligence. If you have ever experienced drifting off into a good book or gotten lost in a movie, that was a state of trance.

So what is hypnotherapy like? It starts off with a trained provider helping the client to experience deep relaxation, almost a sleep like state where the provider has access to the subconscious part of the brain and help allow the mind to visualize new possibilities. A weight loss client may visualize himself or herself at her intended weight extensively while a smoking cessation may focus on being able to see his or her grandchildren grow up. A golfer may visualize themselves improving their golf game and reducing their golf game by 18 strokes. A cancer patient, with the approval of their doctor, may require stress reduction and then may use visualizations to watch a tumour become smaller. These visualizations may be repeated over a few hours or days or weeks until the change is more permanent.

With so many training courses claiming to train someone in hypnosis in a weekend, attempting to locate a suitable provider can be a challenge. There are many certifying agencies with National Guild of Hypnotists, the Hypnotherapist’s Union Local 472 (AFL-CIO), and National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists tending to require higher standards although these standards vary between them. The provider should have at least 300 clock hours of hypnotherapy or psychology specific training from an accredited college or organization and another one to two hundred hours of clinical hypnosis experience before they enter into private practice as a certified hypnotherapist. Ideally, they should also have a license as a health care worker or mental health provider and be covered by malpractice insurance. Psychology today offers a list of several reputable and vetted hypnotherapy practitioners in the area.

As always, you may wish to consult your doctor before beginning hypnotherapy.

– Melvin S Marsh, Harlem Weekly, Harlem GA, to be published May 2017


Melvin S. Marsh is a practicing hypnotherapist serving the CSRA Augusta, Georgia area.  He can be reached at or afterhourshypnotherapy @ or call our receptionist at (678) 658-8483 to make an appointment.

An introduction

Hello, I’m Melvin Marsh and I’m a Certified Hypnotherapist (C.Ht.) and Certified Advanced Handwriting Analyst (C.A.H.A.) at After Hours Hypnotherapy in Augusta Georgia.

I debated on how to start this blog, but then it might be best if I simply started it with an introduction about who I am and my journey into hypnosis.

Like most people, my first experience was through the movies. However, I never picked up hypnosis as something to be feared. In fact, most of my favourite movies often had a hypnosis connection. Jungle Book had Kaa the snake, after whom my own ball python was named. Meeting at Midnight (also known as Black Magic), had Charlie Chan trying to investigate a hypnotist. Dracula… well… Dracula has his own abilities. Instead of being scared of hypnosis, I just thought it didn’t really exist.

I knew biofeedback existed. At a young age, I learned about it and found it entertaining to change temperature in my hands, alter my heart rate, and my blood pressure. Nurses, for the record, were not nearly as amused as I was.

In middle school, I read a UFO book by Ed Walters and he mentions finding a way to combat his insomnia. He would fall asleep after visualizing a cloud coming up his body. I performed the same practice nightly for several years not knowing I was performing the most commonly used induction, a progressive relaxation, on myself.

In high school, I became fascinated by past life regressions. I had a few performed on me, I later even married the lay hypnotist. After a frightening experience on his end which involved me experiencing true somnambulism and extraordinary time distortion, he stopped playing with hypnosis.

For the next few years, I forgot about hypnosis yet relied on my previous experiences with biofeedback to remember how to shut down nerves. This allowed me to undergo a home birth without any pain and then a root canal without anesthetic.

It was not until I started medical school where I learned hypnosis could be used for things besides entertainment. My therapist Bill on intake offered hypnotherapy but mentally I did not know what to expect and given the other information I was provided that day, I was a little off put by the idea. As the medical school semester got worse (involved an assault, a few robberies, as well as a bear attack and both my cousin and my grandmother dying), I asked for it but by that point it was not a good time.

I decided when I was on groupon that I wanted to see if there was any hypnotherapy available just to learn more. I found a course from UK based David Key and I fell in love with the way he weaved stories and stacked stories on top of each other. I found a psychologist on psychology today with hypnotherapy training (specifically Ericksonian training which is what I was hoping for), then while I was waiting to get an opening (it was worth the wait, Paul Leslie is very good), I looked to see if there was any other hypnotherapy training that I could find. Hypnosis Motivation Institute offered an introductory course. Between HMI, Paul, David, and yet another therapist, Adrian who informed my husband that he was going to pay for HMI’s advanced training course for me, I finished HMI’s course, did my hours and became an certified hypnotherapist.

One of the better decisions I’ve ever made in my life.