Studying psychology, week 9-12, and the origins of “mesmerising”

Whoa. Hello again! I can hardly believe it but yes, 2.5 more weeks of lectures and that’s it for the first semester. (The official semester lasts through end of March because of exam season and internships, but that’s “just details”.) I’ve been really really busy (I’m technically sitting in a statistics seminar as I’m typing this, but I’ve already done some pre-work over the weekend so I’m zoning out. Don’t tell on me). Here’s what happened in the meantime:

  • 4.5 weeks of lectures and seminars. I learned so much. I’ve previously shared how much we learn in one week, multiply that and add the increasing complexity. Holy cannoli.
  • Two weeks break over holiday season. I spent the time on walks with friends, watching ski jumping on tv, working on three paintings, writing summaries of lectures and seminars, practicing statistics, and studying clinical psychology (never enough, of course).


Fun fact: The word mesmerize stems from the last name of 18th century German physician Franz Mesmer, who believed that all living things, including humans, animals, and objects, possess a strong, invisible force: animal magnetism, later referred to as mesmerism. He used his own animal magnetism force to treat patients, in particular the rich and famous, and high-society ladies in Paris fawned over him for a while. And his treatment was… well, let’s just say, something:

"[Mesmer] would sit in front of his patient with his knees touching the patient's knees, pressing the patient's thumbs in his hands, looking fixedly into the patient's eyes. Mesmer made "passes", moving his hands from patients' shoulders down along their arms. He then pressed his fingers on the patient's hypochondrium region (the area below the diaphragm), sometimes holding his hands there for hours. ... Mesmer would often conclude his treatments by playing some music on a glass armonica." (Source)

Edit: A friend told me that this video exists of a glass harmonica being played. What a phenomenal instrument!

We learned about Mesmer in our history of psychotherapy lecture, and while the existence of animal magnetism was disproved later, his work is interesting: It relied on the relationship between Mesmer and his patients, and their belief in the treatment — which are still important to (legit) psychotherapy today.


I can’t believe how quickly this semester has gone by. The intensity of the learning and studying experience has been phenomenal.

And it’s getting more intense, because exam season is near! Tension in class and at uni overall has been rising tremendously. I’ll have my first exam (statistics) in three weeks already, the second one (clinical psychology) a week later. We get to pick between two dates for each exam, I decided to go with the earlier date for each in hopes of benefiting from the material still being fresh on my mind. [Insert :scream: emoji here.]

Ask me again in four weeks how good an idea I think this is.

By Lena

Engineering executive turned leadership coach & consultant, public speaker, and psychology student. Fast walker, avid reader, poetry fan, violinist, pianist in the making, and intersectional feminist. Writes about all the above (and, occasionally, trees).

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