01 – Chapter 1 – What You Should Know About Self-Hypnosis
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Published in 1961, A Practical Guide to Self-Hypnosis by Melvin Powers is a self help book that aims to bring the basic techniques of hypnosis to the ordinary reader and harness its legendary powers to one's own advantage.
In fact, all forms of hypnosis are essentially self-hypnosis since the process does not work without the overt or covert cooperation of the person who is being hypnotized. The main difference is that all other forms of hypnosis require the guidance of a therapist or hypnotist while the one suggested here is a self-guided procedure.
Melvin Powers is a publisher, owner and founder of the Wilshire Book Company with its headquarters in Chatsworth, California. He started the business in 1947 when he found few takers for his first books and realized that he could start a company that would not just publish his own books but would also leave him free to write them too. He began publishing works of other authors as well and the company is today one of the leading purveyors of motivational, inspirational and self-help books on a variety of subjects.
The company sells most of its products through mail order, something which Powers himself was something of an expert in. He had started a small mail order business when he was just 16. He first tasted big success with the launch of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill in the early 1960s. It had been available in hardback, but never became very popular till Powers purchased the rights and released it in a paperback edition.
A Practical Guide to Self-Hypnosis may seem slightly dated to modern day readers. But it gives them a simple and easy to follow technique that allows them to hypnotize themselves. The aim of this exercise is to rid the mind of anything that affects it like fears and phobias, harmful habits like smoking and drinking etc. One can also train the mind to develop beneficial thinking habits like positive thinking and hypnosis which also helps in eliminating negative thoughts about oneself to become more self confident. Another area that many people could use self-hypnosis in is in losing weight. One can train the mind to follow more healthy eating habits and practice a regular exercise regime.
True to its title, there are some practical steps on how to go about the process, but most of the book's focus is on the benefits of hypnosis. As a technique of self-healing, it advocates spending quiet time with oneself, relaxation and a stress free environment, all of which are crucial to our psychological wellbeing.