Étienne Félix d'Henin de Cuvillers

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Étienne Félix d'Henin de Cuvillers

Étienne Félix d'Henin de Cuvillers (1755–1841) was a French magnetizer and an early practitioner of mesmerism as a scientific discipline.[1] He's best known for coining the term hypnotism.

Hénin de Cuvillers was a follower of Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815). However, unlike Mesmer he did not believe in the existence of a "magnetic fluid" in animal magnetism, and instead emphasized the role of mental processes in mesmerism. In his book Le magnétisme éclairé (The Enlightened Magnetism), he describes accounts of mesmeric effects in terms of belief and suggestibility.[2]

He is credited for popularizing a system of scientific nomenclature by using the prefix "hypn" in words such as hypnotique (hypnotic), hypnotisme (hypnotism) and hypnotiste (hypnotist). He used these terms as early as 1820, and is believed by many to have coined these names. In 1820 he became editor of the Archives du Magnetisme Animal (Archives of Animal Magnetism).[3][4]


  1. Burns, William E. (2003). "Mesmerism and Animal Magnetism". Science in the Enlightenment: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 195. ISBN 9781576078860. and the historian Étienne Felix Henin de Cuvillers (1755–1841) were denying both Mesmer's magnetic fluid and Puységur's emphasis on the spiritual rapport of magnetizer and patient, and treating the magnetic sleep ...<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Wozniak, Robert H. (1992). "Trance and Trauma: Functional Nervous Disorders and the Subconscious Mind (part of Mind and Body: Rene Déscartes to William James)". Serendip. National Library of Medicine and the American Psychological Association. Retrieved 14 July 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Waterfield, Robin (2003). Hidden Depths: The Story of Hypnosis. Psychology Press. p. 120. ISBN 9780415947916.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Gravitz, Melvin A. (July 1993). "Etienne Félix d'Hénin de Cuvillers: A Founder of Hypnosis". American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 36 (1): 7–11. doi:10.1080/00029157.1993.10403033. PMID 8368197.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>