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October 2007 - English PDF Print E-mail


The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Volume 55, Number 4 - October 2007 - English


The Neural Trance: A New Look at Hypnosis
Herbert Spiegel

Abstract: Hypnosis has had a gradual conceptual emergence from an alleged mystical experience, to sleep, to a psychological shift in concentration that activates a preexisting neuro-physiological circuitry. Data is presented to support the thesis that hypnotizability exists on a spectrum that has biological as well as psycho-social components.  When there is synchrony between the bio-psycho-social components of hypnotizability as measured by the Hypnotic Induction Profile (an intact flow), psychotherapy is the primary treatment strategy, with medication secondary or not at all. When measurement reveals a lack of synchrony between biological factors as measured by the eye-roll sign and psycho-social responsivity (a nonintact flow), medication will be primary, with different degrees of psycho-social support.


A Review of the Effects of Hypnosis on the Immune System in Breast Cancer Patients: A Brief Communication
Kristin D. Hudacek

Abstract: In order to make a recommendation about the use of hypnosis as adjuvant therapy in the treatment of breast cancer, 2 studies assessing the immunological effects of hypnosis in patients with early-stage breast cancer were evaluated: (a) an experiment that taught hypnotic guided-imagery therapy to patients and one that provided participants with home visits and autogenic training.  Both investigations demonstrated improvement in depression and increased natural killer (NK) cell counts after 2 months of hypnosis treatment.  However, neither study determined the clinical significance of hypnosis in the setting of cancer, and therefore future experiments are needed to relate the immune-mediated effects of hypnosis on hard clinical outcomes like survival rates.


Taking the Feeling Out of Emotional Memories: A Study of Hypnotic Emotional Numbing: A Brief Communication
Richard A. Bryant and Samantha Fearns

Abstract: This study investigated the influence of hypnotic emotional inhibition on emotional response to and recall of emotional features of autobiographical memories. Twenty-nine high hypnotizable participants were administered a hypnotic induction and either emotional suppression or control instructions, and then asked to recall a personal distressing or neutral autobiographical memory. Dependent variables included self-reported emotion, EMG corrugator muscle activity, and use of affective descriptors in autobiographical memories. Participants in the suppression condition displayed less emotional responsivity on self-report and EMG corrugator muscle activity than other participants during recall of the distressing memory. In contrast, emotional suppression did not influence the use of affective descriptors in the content of personal memories. These findings point to the capacity for hypnotic emotional inhibition to differentially influence affective and semantic components of the emotional response.


Hypnotic abreaction releases chaotic patterns of electrodermal activity during dissociation
Petr Bob

Abstract: Chaotic transitions emerge in a wide variety of cognitive phenomena and may possibly be linked to specific changes during development of mental disorders. There are several hypotheses that link the dissociation to critical chaotic shifts with the resulting self-organization of behavioral patterns during critical periods. In 2 patients, hypnotic revivification of dissociated trauma along with measurement of bilateral electrodermal activity (EDA) for therapeutic and research purposes was performed. Nonlinear data analysis of EDA records shows a difference between degree of chaos in hypnotic relaxed state before revivification of the trauma and dissociated state after reliving the traumatic memory. Results suggest that the dissociated state after revivification of the trauma is significantly more chaotic than the state during the hypnotic relaxation before the event. Findings of this study suggest a possible role of neural chaos in the processing of the dissociated traumatic memory during hypnotic revivification.


Feasibility and Acceptability of Gut-Directed Hypnosis on Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A brief communication
Laurie Keefer and Ali Keshavarzian

Abstract: Hypnotically assisted treatments have been used to reduce stress, improve gastrointestinal motility, strengthen immune function, and potentially reduce inflammation. Such treatments may also help reduce disease flares and improve quality of life in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The authors report the results of a case series of 8 white female patients with inactive IBD. All participants initiated and completed treatment, supporting the general acceptability of hypnotically assisted treatment among IBD patients. There was a significant improvement in IBD-quality of life scores for the group posttreatment, t(7) = -3.38, p = .01, with a mean improvement in quality of life of 29 points with significant changes in all 4 subscales. No negative effects of treatment were found.


Hypnotic Enhancement of Creative Drawing
James R. Council, Kimble A. Bromley, Darya L. Zabelina, and Cathy G. Waters

Abstract: A hypnotically based intervention to enhance creativity in drawing was evaluated in a controlled study. Participants were randomly assigned to either a hypnotic treatment or a nonhypnotic (task-motivational) control treatment. Subjects drew a standard still-life tableau twice. The first drawing involved no special instructions and provided a baseline measure of creativity in drawing. The second drawing was completed after the creativity enhancement procedure. The drawings were rated blindly on several dimensions of artistic creativity. Hypnotizability, absorption, and debriefing measures were also administered. Results indicated that the hypnotic procedure had significantly greater effects on creativity in drawing. However, there were no significant main effects or interactions involving hypnotizability or absorption. Hypnotic and task-motivational groups did not differ on debriefing measures regarding their experience.


Restoring Literary Wholeness to the Fragmented Account of Antoine Despine’s Magnetic Cure of Estelle L’Hardy’s Dissociative Disorder
Joanne M. McKeown

Abstract: Dr. Charles-Humbert Antoine Despine’s (1777–1852) De L’Emploi du magnétisme animal et des eaux minerales dans le traitement des maladies nerveuses, suivi d’une observation très curieuse de guérison de névropathie [A Study of the use of animal magnetism in the treatment of disorders of the nervous system followed by a case of a highly unusual cure of neuropathy] (Paris: Germer, Baillière, 1840) is one of the earliest published, complete accounts of a successful cure with animal magnetism of a dissociative disorder. Despine’s methodical and gentle treatment of more than 20 patients with multiple personalities repeatedly brought fusion to separation. His writing style displays a lack of order and unity that resembles the dissociative symptoms of his patients, but the monograph’s sloppiness belies Despine’s  methodical approach to his work and his thoughtful handling of his patients. This paper explores these inconsistencies and how translators of the monograph act as literary therapists for his confused and fragmented account.


Hypnotizability as core construct and the clinical utility of hypnosis
Barabasz, A. & Perez, N.

Six papers of special interest to the hypnosis community have recently appeared in the general scientific literatures.  Three of these papers were published as part of the 2006 Cochrane Collaboration on the utility of medical interventions.  These reviews analyze the research literature  on the efficacy of hypnosis for treatment of needle-related pain in children, pain  management during childbirth, and conversion disorder. Hypnosis is the most promising  psychological intervention studied for needle-related procedural pain and distress in children and adolescents; it is effective as an adjunctive analgesic during childbirth;   and it is of uncertain usefulness  in treatment  of conversion disorder.  A second  cluster of three studies unambiguously demonstrates the central role of hypnotizability as predictor of  responsiveness in laboratory, analogue treatment, and medical practice settings.  One of these articles may well be the most important hypnosis paper in many years.

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