This article describes the history, rationale, and guidelines for developing a new definition of hypnosis by the Society of Psychological Hypnosis, Division 30 of the American Psychological Association. The definition was developed with the aim of being concise, heuristic, and allowing for alternative theories of the mechanisms (to be determined in empirical scientific study). The definition of hypnosis is presented as well as definitions of the following related terms: hypnotic induction, hypnotizability, and hypnotherapy. The implications for advancing research and practice are discussed. The definitions are presented within the article.
This study sought to replicate an earlier study wherein imagery vividness before and during a phenomenological hypnotic assessment procedure was assessed, while also measuring trance (hypnoidal) state effects and several other variables. Correlational and regression analyses for that study suggested that imagery vividness during hypnotism was predicted by combined imagery vividness before hypnotism and trance (altered) state effects during hypnotism. The present study procured a larger sample employing a similar design and a similar subject pool. With the current study, although trance state effects and imagery vividness before hypnotism still significantly predicted hypnotic imagoic suggestibility (imagery during hypnotism), the variance accounted for was appreciably less. The meaning of these results as a function of the methodology used is discussed.
Evidence supports the efficacy of hypnotic treatments, but there remain many unresolved questions regarding how hypnosis produces its beneficial effects. Most theoretical models focus more or less on biological, psychological, and social factors. This scoping review summarizes the empirical findings regarding the associations between specific factors in each of these domains and response to hypnosis. The findings indicate that (a) no single factor appears primary, (b) different factors may contribute more or less to outcomes in different subsets of individuals or for different conditions, and (c) comprehensive models of hypnosis that incorporate factors from all 3 domains may ultimately prove to be more useful than more restrictive models that focus on just 1 or a very few factors.
Hypnotic relaxation therapy (HRT) has been shown to reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women and breast cancer survivors. While the biological mechanism by which HRT reduces hot flashes is unknown, it has been speculated that reduction of stress mediates the intervention’s effectiveness. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of HRT on a known biomarker of stress (cortisol) and changes in cortisol as a mediator. Sixty-two postmenopausal women received hypnotic relaxation therapy for hot flashes and completed measures of hot flashes in addition to providing cortisol samples at baseline and endpoint. HRT resulted in significantly decreased early evening salivary cortisol concentrations. However, changes in salivary cortisol concentrations did not mediate the effects of HRT.
The Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A (HGSHS:A) has not been explicitly tested on an adolescent population. In this study, the German version of the HGSHS:A was administered to 99 German adolescents aged 15 to 19. In contrast to other studies, the gender distribution was relatively balanced: 57% female and 43% male. Results were comparable to 14 earlier studies with regard to distribution, mean, and standard deviation. Some peculiarities in contrast to the 14 previous studies are pointed out. It is concluded that the HGSHS:A can be used as a valid and reliable instrument to measure hypnotic suggestibility in adolescent samples.
Hypnotizability influences the development of false memories. In Experiment 1, participants heard a positive or negative suggestion regarding hypnosis and then listened to 8 Deese–Roediger–McDermott (DRM) false memory paradigm lists in a hypnotic state. Neither hypnosis nor prehypnotic suggestion affected memory. Highly hypnotizable participants were more accurate in recall and recognition. In Experiment 2, suggestions were delivered in the form of feedback. Participants heard a positive or negative suggestion about their performance prior to either the encoding or retrieval of 8 DRM lists. Neither accurate nor false memories were affected by the suggestion. Highly hypnotizable individuals recognized fewer critical lures if they received a negative suggestion about their performance. These results highlight the unusual role of hypnotizability in the creation of false memories.