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Curative hypnotherapy is a method of working purely with the subconscious mind to understand and correct specific details which have played a part in the initial creation of a symptom. Its application relies heavily on Specific Questioning of the subconscious and the use of Ideomotor phenomenon (IMR) to identify the precise and unique life experiences which then led on to a triggering of a symptom at some later date.

William Benjamin Carpenter (1813 – 1885), was an English physician and physiologist who first used the term ‘ideo-motor response’ in the 1840s having realised that these movements occurred outside of a person’s conscious awareness.

Pierre Janet (1859-1947) work was generally eclipsed by the international acceptance of the vast theoretical framework of the workings of the unconscious mind by Sigmund Freud. However he was a meticulous researcher who made a number of serious contributions to hypnotherapy.

Janet found that if a hysterical patient was sufficiently distracted by another person engaging the patient in conversation then he could whisper questions, which were answered by the part of the mind responsible for the hysteria via automatic writing. Thus his understanding of the need for Conscious Distraction in order to gain Subconscious information via Ideo-Motor Response is clear.

Janet coined the term ‘subconscious’ to describe this part of the mind. He demonstrated that hysterical or psychosomatic symptoms could be cured by gaining a different understanding of subconscious information. Janet was one of the first people to make a connection between a person’s past experiences and their present-day difficulties and was the first to explore the idea that “trifling” events (rather than traumatic ones) can cause serious problems.

David Cheek (1912-1996) is seen by many as an important character in providing the tools which eventually led to the formation of more analytical applications of hypnosis, as opposed to the more common suggestion-based treatment.

David Lesser[15] (1928 – 2001) was the originator of what we today understand by the term Curative Hypnotherapy.[16] It was he who first saw the possibility of finding the causes of people’s symptoms by using a combination of hypnosis, IMR and a method of specific questioning that he began to explore. Rather than try to override the subconscious information as Janet had done, he realised the necessity- and developed the process- to correct the wrong information. Lesser’s understanding of the logicality and simplicity of the subconscious led to the creation of the methodical treatment used today and it is his innovative work and understanding that underpins the therapy and is why the term ‘Lesserian[17]’ was coined and trademarked. As the understanding of the workings of the subconscious continues to evolve, the application of the therapy continues to change. The three most influential changes have been in Specific Questioning (1992) to gain more accurate subconscious information; a subconscious cause/effect mapping system (SRBC)(1996) to streamline the process of curative hypnotherapy treatment; and the ‘LBR Criteria’ (2003) to be able to differentiate easier between causal and trigger events and helping to target more accurately the erroneous data which requires reinterpretation.