David Spiegel, MD, Associate Chair of Psychiatry and Medical Director, Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine, addressed the SCEH conference in October, 2013, from Paris where he was spending a three month sabbatical. Hypnosis has a venerable tradition in France and in Paris, specifically. Once Anton Mesmer gained some recognition, for his work in animal magnetism, he moved from Vienna to Paris.
Spiegel emphasized that hypnosis is the oldest Western model for psychotherapy. Over 100 years before Freud, Mesmer established the principle that an interpersonal interaction with a patient can be therapeutic. Freud himself began his professional work by studying hypnosis with Charcot in Paris. Only after he was frightened by a female patient expressing affection for him, did he abandon hypnosis as his therapeutic approach. Ironically, at the end of his career, after his move to London, Freud placed a photograph of Charcot on the wall above his analytic couch.