In Memoriam: Edward J. Frischholz, PhD, January 14, 1956–May 10, 2014

We sadly lost our friend and colleague Edward J. (“Fast Eddie”) Frischholz, PhD, at the young age of 58. He died of heart failure, a complication of septic shock. He was a passionate advocate for the field of hypnosis, a tough monitor of its quality, a fine clinician, and an excellent researcher/statistician.

Ed received his BA summa cum laude in Psychology and English at age 19, and one year later his MS in Human Resources (Family Therapy, Biscayne College, renamed St. Thomas University, Florida, 1975 and 1976). He earned his MA in Psychology (Psychometrics) from Fordham University, New York, in 1980, and his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Illinois, Chicago Campus, in 1990. He did his clinical internship at Bellevue Hospital (New York University, New York, 1988). As a research associate with Dr. Herbert Spiegel, he studied the diagnostic and therapeutic implications of the Hypnotic Induction Profile. He published his first paper at age 23 as the last author with Martin Orne, Ernest Hilgard, Herbert Spiegel, David Spiegel, Helen Crawford, Fred Evans, and Emily Orne on “The Relation Between the Hypnotic Induction Profile and the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scales, Forms A and C” in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. He went on to author 48 papers and chapters and gave many lucid and dynamic presentations. He received at least 12 awards including the Milton Erickson Award for Scientific Writing on Hypnosis twice (1981, 2006). Over the years, he taught at the University of Illinois, Loyola, Columbia, and at The Adler School of Professional Psychology. As a clinical psychologist, he was on staff at Rush North Shore Medical Center and in private practice. He was Editor of the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis from 1994–2000. He was President of Division 30 (Psychological Hypnosis) of the American Psychological Association (APA) and of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH). He was a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH), SCEH, and APA.

Hypnosis Before Diagnostic or Therapeutic Medical Procedures: A Systematic Review

The aim of this systematic review was to estimate the efficiency of hypnosis prior to medical procedures. Different databases were analyzed to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing hypnosis to control interventions. All RCTs had to report pain or anxiety. Eighteen RCTs with a total of 968 patients were included; study size was from 20 to 200 patients (14 RCTs ≤ 60 patients). Fourteen RCTs included 830 adults and 4 RCTs included 138 children. Twelve of 18 RCTs had major quality limitations related to unclear allocation concealments, provider’s experience in hypnosis, patient’s adherence to hypnotic procedures, and intention-to-treat design. This systematic review observed major methodological limitations in RCTs on hypnosis prior to medical procedures.

Factors That Contribute to the Willingness to Try “Street Hypnosis”

This study takes a context-specific approach to examine people’s willingness to try hypnosis under various conditions and the factors that contribute to their willingness. It examined 378 participants, who completed a web-based hypnosis survey. The results showed that people’s willingness to try hypnosis varies by context. Specifically, people are more willing to try hypnosis when it is framed as “peak focus” rather than “hypnosis” and when they perceive the environment as being safer. Moreover, factors including participants’ demographics, hypnotists’ demographics (relative to the subjects’), participants’ control bias, and knowledge of hypnosis affect people’s degrees of willingness to try hypnosis, depending on the specific context. The results suggest further analysis of hypnosis occurring in public contexts and the effects it may have on attitudes and therapeutic outcomes.

Carriers of the COMT Met/Met Allele Have Higher Degrees of Hypnotizability, Provided That They Have Good Attentional Control: A Case of Gene–Trait Interaction

Genetic factors may explain part of the interindividual variability in hypnotizability. A new avenue that may provide more comprehensive understanding of the phenotypic effects of genetic variations is the study of gene–trait interaction. In this study, the authors investigate the relationship of the dopamine-related COMT and the serotonin-related 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms to hypnotizability by taking individual differences in executive attention into account. Homozygosity for the COMT Met allele, putatively linked to the capability or proneness to dissociate from reality, was associated with high hypnotizability only if paired with high-attention ability. The finding can be integrated into hypnosis theory and represents a case of gene–trait interaction suggesting that investigating the effects of a gene in the context of relevant psychological traits may further elucidate gene-brain-behavior relationships.

The Association of Hypno-Anesthesia and Conventional Anesthesia in a Patient With Multiple Allergies at Risk of Anaphylactic Shock

A male patient needed surgery for the ablation of 4 impacted maxillary molars that prevented chewing and had contributed to progressively worsening trigeminal neuralgia. Two previous anesthetic procedures led to episodes of severe anaphylactic shock with the need for a prolonged stay in the ICU. Hypnotic anesthesia was therefore selected as a safer option for this patient. After 4 preparative sessions, on the day of surgery, the hypnotist provided an induction followed by suggestions for mouth and face anesthesia. Intubation occurred following the introduction of remifentanil and sevoflurane. The surgery lasted about 90 minutes and proceeded uneventfully. This case report describes how conventional and hypnotic anesthesia may work synergistically and may be particularly advantageous in case of drug allergy.