Contemporary Hypnosis

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1557-0711
Publications
Article
This article both summarizes the previous reviews of randomized, controlled trials of hypnotic analgesia for the treatment of chronic and acute pain in adults, and reviews similar trials which have recently been published in the scientific literature. The results indicate that for both chronic and acute pain conditions: (1) hypnotic analgesia consistently results in greater decreases in a variety of pain outcomes compared to no treatment/standard care; (2) hypnosis frequently out-performs non-hypnotic interventions (e.g. education, supportive therapy) in terms of reductions in pain-related outcomes; and (3) hypnosis performs similarly to treatments that contain hypnotic elements (such as progressive muscle relaxation), but is not surpassed in efficacy by these alternative treatments. Factors that may influence the efficacy of hypnotic analgesia interventions are discussed, including, but not limited to, the patient's level of suggestibility, treatment outcome expectancy, and provider expertise. Based upon this body of literature, suggestions are offered for practitioners who are using, or would like to use, hypnosis for the amelioration of pain problems in their patients or clients.
 
Article
This is a report of the successful use of hypnotic suggestions aimed at encouraging self-assertion and self-acceptance in 51 children aged from 6–15 seen in a general medical practice with psychogenic enuresis or abdominal pain, school phobias, behavioural problems or chronic anxiety. All children treated were passive, timid and unassertive. The psychodynamics of passivity and of assertive therapy are discussed. Thirty-nine children were rated at a two-year follow-up as completely recovered; twelve made no permanent improvement. The average total time spent on treatment was only one and a half hours so this approach to hypnotherapy may be of interest to general medical practitioners as well as child psychiatrists and therapists. Copyright © 1997 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
This meta-analysis evaluates the effect of hypnosis in reducing emotional distress associated with medical procedures. PsycINFO and PubMed were searched from their inception through February 2008. Randomized controlled trials of hypnosis interventions, administered in the context of clinical medical procedures, with a distress outcome, were included in the meta-analysis (26 of 61 papers initially reviewed). Information on sample size, study methodology, participant age and outcomes were abstracted independently by 2 authors using a standardized form. Disagreements were resolved by consensus. Effects from the 26 trials were based on 2342 participants. Results indicated an overall large effect size (ES) of 0.88 (95% CI = 0.57-1.19) in favour of hypnosis. Effect sizes differed significantly (p < 0.01) according to age (children benefitted to a greater extent than adults) and method of hypnosis delivery, but did not differ based on the control condition used (standard care vs. attention control).
 
Article
Scientific evidence for the viability of hypnosis as a treatment for pain has flourished over the past two decades (Rainville, Duncan, Price, Carrier and Bushnell, 1997; Montgomery, DuHamel and Redd, 2000; Lang and Rosen, 2002; Patterson and Jensen, 2003). However its widespread use has been limited by factors such as the advanced expertise, time and effort required by clinicians to provide hypnosis, and the cognitive effort required by patients to engage in hypnosis. The theory in developing virtual reality hypnosis was to apply three-dimensional, immersive, virtual reality technology to guide the patient through the same steps used when hypnosis is induced through an interpersonal process. Virtual reality replaces many of the stimuli that the patients have to struggle to imagine via verbal cueing from the therapist. The purpose of this paper is to explore how virtual reality may be useful in delivering hypnosis, and to summarize the scientific literature to date. We will also explore various theoretical and methodological issues that can guide future research. In spite of the encouraging scientific and clinical findings, hypnosis for analgesia is not universally used in medical centres. One reason for the slow acceptance is the extensive provider training required in order for hypnosis to be an effective pain management modality. Training in hypnosis is not commonly offered in medical schools or even psychology graduate curricula. Another reason is that hypnosis requires far more time and effort to administer than an analgesic pill or injection. Hypnosis requires training, skill and patience to deliver in medical centres that are often fast-paced and highly demanding of clinician time. Finally, the attention and cognitive effort required for hypnosis may be more than patients in an acute care setting, who may be under the influence of opiates and benzodiazepines, are able to impart. It is a challenge to make hypnosis a standard part of care in this environment. Over the past 25 years, researchers have been investigating ways to make hypnosis more standardized and accessible. There have been a handful of studies that have looked at the efficacy of using audiotapes to provide the hypnotic intervention (Johnson and Wiese, 1979; Hart, 1980; Block, Ghoneim, Sum Ping and Ali, 1991; Enqvist, Bjorklund, Engman and Jakobsson, 1997; Eberhart, Doring, Holzrichter, Roscher and Seeling, 1998; Perugini, Kirsch, Allen, et al., 1998; Forbes, MacAuley, Chiotakakou-Faliakou, 2000; Ghoneim, Block, Sarasin, Davis and Marchman, 2000). These studies have yielded mixed results. Generally, we can conclude that audio-taped hypnosis is more effective than no treatment at all, but less effective than the presence of a live hypnotherapist. Grant and Nash (1995) were the first to use computer-assisted hypnosis as a behavioural measure to assess hypnotizability. They used a digitized voice that guided subjects through a procedure and tailored software according to the subject's unique responses and reactions. However, it utilized conventional two-dimensional screen technology that required patients to focus their attention on a computer screen, making them vulnerable to any type of distraction that might enter the environment. Further, the two-dimensional technology did not present compelling visual stimuli for capturing the user's attention. Copyright © 2009 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Delboeuf is chiefly remembered today for his lively and perceptive accounts of his visits in the 1880s to the hypnotic schools of the Salpêtrière and of Nancy. But he was himself an active and thoughtful practitioner and theorist in the field of hypnosis. His early position was close to that of the Nancy School, and during this period he carried out interesting experiments on post-hypnotic amnesia, on the so-called veille somnambulique, and on the healing effect of hypnotic analgesia on burns. Later, in part because of his increasing involvement in suggestive therapy, he moved away from the Nancy views, coming to hold, for instance, that ‘hypnotic’ phenomena do not depend on the induction of a supposed sleep-like hypnotic state. His changed views influenced the later Bernheim and his school, and to an extent foreshadowed certain modern writers, for instance Sarbin, Coe, Wagstaff and Spanos. Copyright © 1997 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Presenting problem: Female, 31, attended emergency appointment at dental surgery with pain, dental phobia prevented extraction. Aim: Manage dental phobia using hypnosis integrated into anxiety management treatment plan to facilitate extraction. Methods: Pre-treatment questionnaire assessed dental anxiety, reasons for anxiety, and ascertained management options. Post-treatment questionnaire assessed changes in dental anxiety and attitudes. Anxiety management techniques: needle desensitization and hypnosis. Results: Pre-treatment questionnaire revealed high level anxiety (16/20 Corah score, and 25/30 modified Corah score) and anticipation of pain during future dental treatment (5/10 on a Visual Analogue Scale). Following the successful extraction of the tooth, a post-treatment questionnaire revealed low level anxiety (7/20 Corah and 11/30 modified Corah) and low anticipation of future pain (1/10). Conclusion: Patient attended second emergency appointment and hypnotic intervention facilitated the removal of the troublesome tooth. Successful outcome of this treatment and new learned self-hypnosis techniques allowed patient to feel more confident about accepting future dental treatment without need for pharmacological intervention. Copyright © 2006 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Presenting problem: Jo is a 55-year-old female who has a phobia of dental treatment. She has been completely blind since birth and requires periodontal treatment and subsequent extraction. Aim: Treat Jo's periodontal condition and decrease her phobia and fear of treatment by using hypnosis as an adjunct to basic anxiety management techniques. Methods: In surgery, medical, dental and phobia history explored. Pre-treatment questionnaires assessed dental anxiety, reasons for anxiety, and ascertained management options. Post-treatment questionnaires assessed changes in dental anxiety and attitudes. Anxiety management techniques included Tell/Show/Do and hypnosis. Results: Pre-treatment questionnaire revealed high level anxiety and anticipation of pain during future dental treatment. Following hypnotic intervention facilitating periodontal intervention and subsequent extraction, repeated questionnaires revealed significant reduction in anxiety and anticipation of pain. Conclusion: Hypnosis seems to have been successful as an adjunct in achieving the initial aim. Copyright © 2006 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
During hypnosis, highly susceptible individuals report a loss of awareness of their surroundings and a narrowing of their awareness to the events suggested by the hypnotist. These individuals also report more frequent occurrences of deeply involving experiences in daily life. It has been widely theorized that the ability to strongly maintain the focus of attention underlies hypnotic susceptibility (Crawford, 1994). Studies making use of a range of behavioural measures are widely cited as supporting this view. However, lack of replication and uncertainty about the nature of the measures makes interpretation difficult. The present study uses a factor analytic design (n = 182) to explore the structure of the relationship between hypnotic susceptibility, imagery, absorption and a range of behavioural measures said in the hypnosis literature to correlate with susceptibility and to index sustained attentional abilities. If the general claims are correct, similar relationships should be found here. Further, an identifiable sustained attention factor should emerge from the covariance structure, including a substantial loading from susceptibility. These predictions were not supported. Results showed that only absorption correlated significantly with susceptibility. A sustained attention factor did emerge but was independent of the hypnosis absorption factor. Linkages between susceptibility and sustained attention remain undemonstrated. Copyright © 2002 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
The present case study of a 23-year-old woman begins by exploring post-abortion distress in context with hypnosis and identifies particular themes across symptoms that indicate that hypnosis may be an appropriate adjunct to therapy for this problem. For treatment a three-phase framework was used, as proposed by Brown (1995) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptom changes were monitored throughout the course of therapy in a multiple-baseline study design. The client, S, also completed preand post-therapy questionnaires. The therapeutic outcome is described with reference to data collected from weekly monitoring and from written feedback regarding her own feelings about the therapy. The results indicate that the therapeutic interventions improved specific symptoms as well as general mental health and it is concluded that hypnosis may be a particularly appropriate adjunct to therapy for post-abortion distress. Copyright © 2002 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Measures of hypnotic suggestibility and absorption were administered to 150 participants in the context of a single experiment and to 146 participants in the guise of different experiments. Half of the participants received the absorption scale before being tested for suggestibility and half after. In both orders of administration, associations between suggestibility and absorption were significantly stronger when assessed in the same experimental context than when assessed in different contexts, and both variables were significantly affected by testing context. Overall, the findings indicate that relations between absorption and suggestibility are moderated by context and that this effect is not an artefact of non-random sampling or of differences in time intervals between testing sessions. The results suggest that the association between absorption and suggestibility is modest at best and challenge the contention that absorption is a reliable personality trait marker of suggestibility. Copyright © 2000 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
We examined the relationship between absorption and hypnotizability when absorption was assessed in two non-hypnotic conditions: In an ‘imagination’ condition in which we administered the Tellegen Absorption Scale (TAS) with a number of other questionnaires that assessed imagery and imagination, and in a ‘classroom’ condition in which we administered the TAS alone at the beginning of a normal tutorial class. We found a significant correlation between absorption and hypnotizability in the imagination condition (r = 0.24), but not in the classroom condition (r = 0.09). In other words, the assessment of absorption in a condition that elicited imaginative responses led to a higher correlation than the assessment of absorption in a condition that did not encourage imagination. This finding is discussed in terms of how different settings influence the expression of the personality characteristic of absorption. Copyright © 1999 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Council, Kirsch, and Hafner (1986) have argued that the relationship between absorption and hypnotic ability might depend on the context in which the measures are administered. We employed a sample of 88 university students and replicated the context effect, finding both a significant difference in the correlation between a measure of absorption and hypnotic ability across contexts and a change in the regression slope across contexts when absorption is used as a predictor of hypnotic ability. No context effects were found for a measure of dissociative experiences which was included as a control. These results are somewhat difficult to reconcile with the expectancy theory described by Council, Kirsch and Hafner (1986). An alternative explanation in terms of S's interpretations of absorption items is discussed. Copyright © 1996 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
The suggestibility-enhancing effects of hypnosis are widely accepted, although poorly understood. In the present study, an attempt was made to address the effect of absorption and reduced critical thought on suggestibility change occurring in the hypnotic context. Study participants were presented with a waking suggestibility assessment followed by an induction consisting of instructions for progressive relaxation and a manipulation designed to establish an hypnotic context and an expectation for increased suggestibility. They were then presented with either further relaxation instructions, instructions to become absorbed or instructions to reduce critical thought, followed by a second suggestibility assessment. Groups were compared on objective and subjective suggestibility score change, controlling for suggestibility on the first test. Results indicate that the addition of instructions for absorption or reduced critical thought to relaxation procedures created a significantly larger suggestibility increase than instructions for relaxation alone. Moreover, instructions for relaxation alone were insufficient to produce an increase in suggestibility, despite the presence of an hypnotic context and positive expectations. These findings cast doubt on the notion that only non-state factors are responsible for suggestibility increases observed in the hypnotic context, and raise the possibility that absorption and reduced critical thought are important components of hypnosis. Copyright © 2001 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
This report describes the successful treatment of a 33-year-old Chinese woman who had affect dysregulation and chronic trauma symptoms resulting from an intra-familial childhood sexual abuse. A strategically phased multimodal treatment tailored to the needs of the client was used. The treatment framework consisted of three phases: training on affect management, strengthening the ego and re-processing the trauma. Hypnosis was utilized as a means for grounding and stabilizing the overwhelming emotions; for addressing the negative self-schema; and also for re-processing the traumatic memories in a safe and controlled way. Data from self-reports, observation and objective measures indicates a significant reduction in the trauma symptoms. Copyright © 2007 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
A correlational study examined the relationship between hypnotic suggestibility and academic achievement. Fifty-eight undergraduate students were administered the HGSHS:A (Shor and Orne, 1962) and their assessment grades from a range of taught modules were collected. Significant negative correlations were found, showing that the higher the academic achievement, the lower the hypnotic suggestibility. Multiple regression found that academic grades were significant predictors of hypnotic suggestibility. The implications are discussed. Copyright © 2003 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
According to the response expectancy theory of hypnosis, hypnotic phenomena are fundamentally genuine and occur simply because subjects expect them to occur. In the present study, under both hypnotic and non-hypnotic conditions, subjects were presented with a clear visual stimulus after being led to expect that they would see nothing, that is, they would experience a negative hallucination. Results showed that although about half the subjects were 100% confident that they would see nothing, all reported seeing something. Moreover, whereas expectancy did not correlate significantly with the clarity of the image, hypnotic depth did. Although the results are not supportive of expectancy theory, they are deemed to be compatible with both classic state theory and sociocognitive approaches to hypnosis that stress the operation of strategic enactment and compliance. Copyright © 2002 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Research suggests that although confidence–accuracy (C–A) relationships are typically low, investigative interviewing with hypnosis may have a particularly adverse influence on C–A relationships. However, it is possible that researchers may have paid insufficient attention to the issue of item difficulty. To address this issue an experiment was conducted which measured recall of information seen in a video film. Questions were constructed to range in difficulty and no misleading post-event information and/or leading questions were presented. Subjects' were assigned to either a hypnosis condition or one of two control conditions. Higher C–A correlations than have been usually reported were found, regardless of interview condition. Also, when subjects were ‘absolutely certain’ that a piece of information was correct they almost invariably were accurate, and again interview condition did not influence this. Some practical implications of these findings are discussed. Copyright © 1997 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Autogenic therapy was taught to a group of teachers attending a stress management course as a means to their achieving physiological change in the form of reduced pulse rates. Autogenic exercises enabled all the teachers to reduce their pulse rates with significant consistency during a 14-week period (P < 0.0001). There were no differences between females and males in the magnitude of changed pulse rates. The teachers' successes in using autogenic therapy were not influenced by behaviour characteristics such as A-type behaviours, speed and impatience, job involvement or hard driving as revealed by the Jenkins Activity Survey or by behaviours identified by a schedule that measured self-perceptions of life-management skills. Copyright © 1996 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Light and sound effects have frequently been used for the induction of altered states of consciousness. Turning on and off light or sound leads to short-term excitation of the central nervous system, while longer lasting stimulation has led to drowsiness and mixed alpha-theta activity and to bodily relaxation with increased skin resistance, decreased EMG activity and a decreased salivary cortisol level; though an increased salivary IgA level and output of the salivary chaperone Hsp70 have also been reported. At the same time a strong trance inducing ability of photic stimulation (10 min) has been demonstrated. In open clinical studies orofacial psychosomatic patients have been treated: Atypical facial pain (n = 20) recovered in 34.9 %, improvement occurred in 40.4 %, with no effect in 24.7 %. Initial psychogenic denture intolerance (n = 9) symptoms recovered in 44.4 %, improvement occurred in 33.3 %, with no effect in 22.2 %. Chronic denture intolerance (n = 14) symptoms recovered in 21.4 %, improvement occurred in 50.0 %, with no effect in 28.6 %. In hyposalivation cases (n = 4), a significant increase of salivary flow rate and protein concentration occurred in 2/4. However, randomized controlled trials that might support the application of photo-acoustic stimulation are still lacking. Copyright © 2009 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Comments on H. B. Gibson's (see record 1992-18680-001) article and argues that, under hypnosis, different parts of consciousness are separated by amnesia barriers and may not be simultaneously accessible. Thus, unrealistic suggestions may be accepted and acted on without internal conflict and/or without the person necessarily being aware of the unreality or illogicality of the suggestions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This paper outlines the case of a 7-year-old boy with severe dyslexia and severe behavioural difficulties. Removed by his parents from two primary schools to avoid permanent exclusion, he was educated in a specialist facility that focused on his literacy and behavioural difficulties. The paper considers the use of story telling using simile rather than metaphor as a therapeutic medium and argues that, in many cases and in this case, the technique is as effective as using metaphor in therapy. Copyright © 2003 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
This paper reviews our studies on the hypnotizability/hypnosis-related modulation of the mind-body connection during relaxation and mental stress, considered as the extremes of the wakefulness cognitive-autonomic arousal. The concept of relaxation is discussed according to the observation that similar self-reports of relaxation and autonomic states may correspond to different EEG patterns in low (Lows) and highly hypnotizable subjects (Highs). Results obtained during mental stress are discussed in the light of a possible adaptive role of hypnotic susceptibility as a natural protection against cardiovascular hazard; in fact, only Highs can actively suppress the cardiovascular responses evoked by a moderate mental stress. All together, findings show that the body can differentially act to similarly experienced relaxation and mental stress and suggest for hypnotizable individuals an evolutionary advantage. Copyright © 2004 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Cocaine addiction is a significant problem in the United States and treatment is hampered by high relapse rates. This is particularly the case with crack cocaine because it is smoked and consequently has a rapid but relatively short-lived effect on the brain. This readily creates a cycle of craving and dependence. Moreover, the multiple environmental cues associated with the craving set up powerful conditions for relapse. This paper describes an Ericksonian approach alongside more traditional hypnotic techniques. In particular, the methods of utilization and orientation to the future are described and a one-year follow-up is discussed. Copyright © 1999 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a debilitating condition affecting between 14 and 25% of the general population. Medication has been reported to be of limited efficacy. However, there is increasing evidence suggesting that hypnotic imagery can be an effective adjunct to therapy for this problem. The present experimental single case study aims to illustrate the process of psychological treatment of IBS with the adjunct of hypnosis and to explore the effectiveness of particular interventions. Over 10 sessions of treatment an overall reduction of 64% was seen in primary IBS symptoms. At 9-months follow-up this had improved further to a 72% reduction in primary symptoms and lower anxiety levels. The marked improvement seen with this client is consistent with the view that hypnosis is an effective adjunct to IBS treatments. Copyright © 2006 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
Hypnosis may be a useful tool for clinicians in addressing anxiety and self-efficacy in selected chronic paranoid schizophrenics. The authors illustrate the application of indirect, permissive hypnosis in two case examples. Hypnosis is offered as a safe, nonpharmacological and relatively time-effective modality for an often under-served psychiatric population. Copyright © 1998 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Persons above age 65 are a rapidly growing segment of the world's population, especially in the US. Psychotherapy with older persons has been discussed in the literature for many years, although few papers have addressed hypnosis and older adults. This paper discusses negative bias regarding the elderly, special challenges of late life, and related issues of concern to the psychotherapist. Clinical vignettes of three diverse clients demonstrate age-appropriate techniques for induction, deepening and other aspects of interactive trancework, along with relevant Ericksonian utilization techniques and strategic therapeutic techniques, that may be useful in treating anxiety, depression, and related problems. Copyright © 1997 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Advertising is mentioned sometimes as a hypnotizing experience. The present study investigated this claim by developing and implementing a questionnaire for measuring the level of hypnotic-suggestive communication in advertisements. The results demonstrated that this level is a crucial variable for advertising effectiveness and for the evaluations of the advertised brand. Copyright © 2007 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
All people advertising under the category of ‘hypnotherapy’ in the British Yellow Pages® telephone directories were surveyed by post. Beliefs about hypnosis were measured and information was sought concerning their professions. Of the 1155 questionnaires distributed, 52% were returned. Seventy-four per cent of respondents reported using hypnosis as their main form of therapy; the remainder practised a diverse range of therapies. In contrast to findings of other surveys, results suggest the current sample had beliefs similar to present scientific views. The need for more research involving this group of hypnosis users is recommended. Copyright © 1996 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
This study examined how behaviour performed in response to requests (for example, ‘Raise your arm’) influenced responsiveness to suggestions (for example, ‘Your arm is rising’). Participants were requested to raise an outstretched arm or to hold an outstretched arm still but imagine it rising. Everyone complied with the particular request given. Later, all participants were administered suggestions announcing that arm rising movements would occur. The suggested movements occurred in eight of the 10 participants who were earlier requested to move but failed to occur in all 10 participants who were earlier requested to hold still. Theoretical implications and potential applications of these findings are discussed. Copyright © 2002 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
To assess whether recommendations that have been made over several years to avoid hypnotic sequelae are being implemented, a short seven-item survey was mailed to 1050 names drawn from the latest directory of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (1998). Of the 881 surveys that were deliverable, 60.3% were completed and returned. Results indicate that some recommendations are being employed by almost all of those currently using hypnosis, while other recommendations are being employed by a lesser, but still large, percentage of hypnosis practitioners. In many of these cases, valid rationales were cited to exclude their use. Copyright © 2002 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Pope (1994) and his colleagues have carried research on the sexual attraction/relationship between therapists and their clients, and supervisors and their trainees in clinical psychology. Their findings have caused some concern, particularly with reference to the relative lack of training in this area. Both professionally qualified therapists and unqualified lay therapists are at risk. When hypnosis is involved, there may be concern that a sexual relationship could develop between therapist and client. The present paper includes a case study involving a lay therapist who was alleged to have committed various sexual offences with three of his clients. The results of this study are discussed and the implications for training underlined. Copyright © 1996 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Replies to comments (e.g., S. J. Lynn and P. T. Malinoski, D. Spiegel, and J. F. Chaves [see PA, Vol 82:22604; 22606; and 22598, respectively]) on the definition and description of hypnosis issued by Division 30 (Psychological Hypnosis) of the American Psychological Association (e.g., I. Kirsch; see record 1995-22602-001). Definitional vs empirical issues, safety and control, and future work are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Alexithymia scores on TAS 20 before treatment, after 4 weeks and 8 weeks, as a function of group and measurement time
Article
The therapeutic potential of the use of mental representations, such as mental images, might be an interesting approach in the treatment of people who are severely impaired with respect to the processing of emotion, and in particular the activation of mental images. That is the case of alexithymia, which is a multifaceted construct comprising (a) difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal; (b) difficulty describing feelings to others; (c) a restricted imagination, as evidenced by a paucity of fantasies; and (d) a cognitive style that is literal, utilitarian, and externally oriented (Taylor and Bagby, 2000). Thirty-one alexithymic female students were randomly distributed into two conditions: hypnotic imagery condition and control condition. Participants in the hypnotic imagery condition took part in an 8-session individual training programme. The findings indicate that hypnosis is an effective technique for obtaining a decrease in alexithymic scores. The findings also indicate that changes in mood states are not involved in the change in alexithymia scores. This suggests that hypnosis has exerted a direct effect upon alexithymia (not attributable to anxiety or depression), and consequently demonstrates that it is possible to exert an effect (i) upon alexithymia without targeting a decrease in anxiety or depression scores, (ii) upon alexithymic people with no anxiety or depression problems, as anxiety and depression are not the therapeutic determinant of the therapeutic response. Copyright © 2008 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
This is a case study of an alexithymic female patient with hives who was treated with hypnotic imagery-therapy. The patient initially exhibited a deficit in imagination, but with continued treatment her imagination during hypnosis improved. She also developed the ability to verbally express emotions, not only in the hypnotic state, but also in the waking state. In addition, as a result of internalizing the therapist's suggestions of relaxation, the therapy increased the patient's capacity for self-care. It is suggested that hypnotic imagery-therapy is effective in decreasing alexithymic characteristics. Copyright © 2005 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
In this paper it is argued that much of the failure to come up with a meaningful definition of ‘hypnosis’ has stemmed from disagreements, many of them semantic, about the status of hypnosis as an ‘altered state of consciousness’. However, it suggested that the assumption that there exists a special hypnotic process that is somehow conceptually and empirically distinct from other ‘non-hypnotic’ processes may stem from a category error in the use of the term ‘hypnotic state’. Moreover, contrary to how they are often presented, results from a number of physiological studies are consistent with modern ‘non-state’ sociocognitive theorizing. One way round the problem of defining hypnosis, therefore, might be to abandon the idea of a ‘altered state’ as a defining feature of hypnosis, and resurrect the historical links between hypnosis and suggestion. A definition of hypnosis is proposed in these terms, and implications are discussed. Copyright © 1998 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Kallio and Revonsuo (2003) present an Altered State Theory of hypnosis that they contend provides a multilevel framework to guide research that can lead to the ultimate resolution of the debate about whether or not hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness. In our commentary, we take the opportunity to clarify a number of simplifications and misrepresentations of sociocognitive theories inherent in the Kallio and Revonsuo's presentation, consider some of their criticisms of nonstate theories of hypnosis, and discuss a number of problems and limitations of their theory. Copyright © 2005 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
The non-veridical experiences associated with hypnosis, which are clearly at variance with reality, are a clue that the hypnotized person has ceased to test the validity of experiences. Recent brain-mapping studies implicate the anterior cingulate gyrus as a key region in the establishment of hypnotic misperceptions. Significantly, when that region of brain is damaged patients experience difficulty in distinguishing the imaginary from the real. Taken together, these observations support the claim that hypnosis entails an abandonment of reality testing. It is argued that an altered state of consciousness is an inevitable consequence of ceasing to test reality. Possible ways of researching this altered state are discussed. Copyright © 2005 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
The debate over whether hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness is a distraction from the real business of studying the phenomena that occur in the context of hypnotic suggestion. These phenomena can be profitably studied at several levels of analysis: the psychological, the sociocultural, and the neurobiological. A comprehensive understanding of hypnosis must emphasize that the phenomena of hypnosis reflect both alterations in consciousness and social interactions. Copyright © 2005 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
General scheme of multilevel framework of biological explanation. 
The explanatory domain of hypnosis. 
An illustration where the same input causes two different phenomenal contents of consciousness, depending on the background state of consciousness. 
Article
There is currently agreement that, in addition to the changes in external behaviour, suggestions presented in a hypnotic context may give rise to changes in subjective experience. Yet, there is no general agreement about the theoretical framework within which these changes in experience should be explained. Though different theories about hypnosis overlap in many respects, there is still disagreement on whether reference to a specific internal state of the individual is necessary in order to explain these changes. We place the explanatory task in the context of a multilevel framework of explanation, which reveals that the disagreement between the ‘state’ and ‘nonstate’ view is about the level of description at which the phenomenon ‘hypnosis’ should be conceptualized. We propose a novel approach using the multilevel explanation which helps to formulate empirically testable hypotheses about the nature of hypnosis. We will outline the basic elements of such an approach and hope that our proposition will help hypnosis research to integrate with the multidisciplinary research on other phenomena of consciousness. Copyright © 2003 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Argues that the question of whether hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness remains meaningful, despite declarations that it is a dead issue. Reports of its demise were based on a redefinition of the term "state" that rendered the state hypothesis untestable. However, most state theorists use the term in its more conventional sense. Although these state hypotheses cannot be falsified, they can potentially be confirmed. They also have important implications for correcting public misconceptions of hypnosis, affecting the focus of research, and affecting public policy regulating who induces hypnosis. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
The contemporary perspective on altered states of conscious is surveyed as an introduction to commentaries on Kallio and Revonsuo's lead article in Contemporary Hypnosis(2003). It is noted that the study of consciousness, unconscious processing, and altered states of consciousness are central issues in neuroscience, heralding fresh approaches to the neuroscientific understanding of hypnosis. These include attempts to bring together new neurophysiological methods with phenomenological report. The alteration in hypnosis of anterior brain processes including the anterior cingulated cortex and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex are particularly productive areas of research. The lack of engagement with neuroscientific evidence from theorists with a purely social and cognitive orientation to hypnosis is noted, with examples provided from research on attention and relaxation. Unifying the field awaits active collaboration between scientists with neurophysiological and social orientations. Copyright © 2005 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
The main point of our article ‘Hypnotic phenomena and altered states of consciousness: A multilevel framework of description and explanation’ was to clarify, explicate and reveal the differences between current theoretical viewpoints in explaining hypnosis. Furthermore, we wanted to present a research programme and propose some experiments that if carried out, might lend decisive support to either the Nonstate View (NSV) or the State View (SV) approaches to hypnosis. The commentaries revealed that the concept of altered state of consciousness (ASC) still lacks a commonly accepted definition and is in need of further clarification. The controversy between NSV and SV of hypnosis seems to boil down to the question concerning the explanatory power of the neural level and especially to what the results at this level tell us. In this reply we further clarify the multilevel framework of explanation, the problems associated with the concept of ASC, and we explain the rationale for our proposal of using virtuosos as a model system in hypnosis research. Copyright © 2005 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
Kallio and Revonsuo (2003) correctly identify the central issue in the altered state debate as being whether trance state is needed to produce hypnotic experiences. Their suggested tests of that hypothesis are insufficient to answer that question. The data required for empirical resolution of the state debate are outlined here. In addition, the problems faced by state and nonstate theories are considered. Copyright © 2005 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
The state/nonstate controversy involving hypnosis is examined through six principles of explanation. The importance of hypnotizability is emphasized as a moderating factor in studying hypnotic phenomena. Framing discussions of social, intrapsychic and neurophysiological influences on hypnosis in terms of relative contributions to the explanation of variance rather than winner-take-all approaches is recommended. Copyright © 2005 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Article
We discuss the role of hypnotizability in the development and treatment of chronic pain, and in the prognosis of its possible cardiovascular consequences. Data indicate that high hypnotic susceptibility is not necessary for the relief of chronic pain obtained through hypnotic treatment. Moreover, and at variance with an earlier hypothesis, being highly susceptible to hypnosis does not represent a higher risk for developing chronic pain; in addition, high hypnotizability may be a favourable protective factor against the possible cardiovascular consequences of chronic pain. However, we cannot exclude that psychological factors such as mindfulness, well-being and pain-catastrophizing differ in ‘Highs’ versus ‘Lows’, and these may represent the real agents of the differences between the two groups in pain experience, the development of chronic pain, and possible vascular consequences of chronic pain. Copyright © 2008 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
Article
As a result of civil war in El Salvador and Guatemala, hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to the USA during the 1980s. Many of these refugees experienced torture and other abuse, and current adaptation is complicated by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The scope of the problem is examined along with cultural factors in mental health treatment and the limitations of conventional exposure therapy. The authors describe two indirect, hypnotic ego-strengthening techniques that are useful in treating PTSD in this refugee population. Copyright © 2001 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
 
Top-cited authors
John Gruzelier
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
David A Oakley
  • University College London
Sakari Kallio
  • University of Skövde
Graham F Wagstaff
  • University of Liverpool
Steven Jay Lynn
  • Binghamton University