Braid was the first to put hypnotherapy on a scientific, rational footing, so today's hypnotherapists have a lot to thank him for.
A Manchester surgeon, Braid discovered hypnotism reasonably late and like most doctors of his time considered stage hypnotists charlatans. It was only his physical examination of a hypnotised subject that convinced him an actual bodily change had taken place with non-mystical causes.
The Discovery of Hypnosis puts together Braid's key writings and provides succinct commentary and historical context. This is an exhaustive survey and the editor has obviously mastered the material, revealing an underrated figure in the history of psychology and psychotherapy.
One of Robertson's fascinating ideas is that Braid should not be considered simply the father of hypnotherapy, but the father of psychotherapy, given his early work into what is now called cognitive behavioural therapy.
Robertson's clear writing style and to-the-point comments enliven the historical material, and the book itself is large and well laid out. Any hypnotherapist serious about their subject should have this book in their library. It is also a intriguing read for the layman.
Tom Butler-Bowdon, author of 50 Psychology Classics: Who We Are, How We Think, What We Do