Many of the clucking chicken images are the result of hypnosis’s forefather, Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Mesmer believed that there was an invisible force, a cosmic energy, that could be harnessed by one person to influence another person’s behavior. While his theory was wrong, the techniques he used were effective. These techniques were picked up on and developed over the coming years for therapeutic and medical purposes. Sigmund Freud, for instance, used hypnosis techniques. In the mid-1900s, hypnotherapy as we know it evolved. Milton Erickson (1901-1980) pioneered “indirect hypnosis,” during which therapists work with individual patients to shift their perceptions of themselves and their issues.
There is a substantial market for products which promise to make weight loss easier, quicker, cheaper, more reliable, or less painful. These include books, DVDs, CDs, cremes, lotions, pills, rings and earrings, body wraps, body belts and other materials, fitness centers, clinics, personal coaches, weight loss groups, and food products and supplements.
To best help their executives, companies need to draw on the expertise of both psychotherapists and executive coaches with legitimate skills. At a minimum, every executive slated to receive coaching should first receive a psychological evaluation. By screening out employees not psychologically prepared or predisposed to benefit from the process, companies avoid putting executives in deeply uncomfortable—even damaging—positions. Equally important, companies should hire independent mental health professionals to review coaching outcomes. This helps to ensure that coaches are not ignoring underlying problems or creating new ones, as Nelson did.