It was World War II. Thousand and tens of thousands of battlefield casualties with PTSD were streaming back to the States. How to treat them? The gold standard of therapy, psychoanalysis, required hundreds of sessions, far more than could possibly be provided by the small numbers of psychiatrists and psychologists who knew how to do it.
In the Welch Convalescent Hospital in Florida, a young psychologist named John G. Watkins looked to hypnosis as a more rapid way of giving his patients relief. And it worked!
His book, Hypnotherapy of War Neuroses, chronicles his experience, giving the background, theory, practice, and a series of case studies. Even today, this book is a valuable source of insight and techniques. I’m not saying that the state of the art hasn’t advanced since the Forties, because it has. Watkins himself saw to that, with many additional contributions over the course of his long, 98-year life. But I’ve never seen anything like Hypnotherapy of War Neuroses, with its careful descriptions, its detailed case studies, and its explanation of military vs. civilian therapy. Though it has out of print for decades, it has always been an essential part of the serious hypnotherapist’s bookshelf.