Foreword to the Special Issue: Rediscovering Jay Haley’s Contributions to Hypnosis

In my opinion, the previously unpublished papers of Jay Haley presented in this special issue of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis are nothing less than a treasure. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work on this project, not only because of the content of these wonderful historical gems but also because it has given me the chance to collaborate with a long-time friend, Peter B. Bloom, MD, and to meet for the first time Jay’s wife, Madeleine Richeport-Haley, PhD. The three of us were able to meet and begin discussion of this project while attending the European Hypnosis Society’s International Congress in Sorrento, Italy, an excellent location to begin any endeavor!

Comment on the Special Issue: Jay Douglas Haley

In this special issue of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Jay Douglas Haley is being celebrated worldwide by his friends and family. He shared his ideas and experiences over many years in his writings, his teaching, and most importantly in his relationships with all of us. Jay was a unique, vibrant, and benevolent iconoclast. He challenged us to see things differently and to enjoy a creative freedom in our caring of patients and clients. Recently, Jay’s wife, Madeleine Richeport-Haley, PhD, found a treasure from his past—seven unpublished papers about applying and teaching hypnosis from his early and later years. They form the basis of this special issue.

Explorer in Hypnosis

Written in 1957, this paper was Jay Haley’s first attempt to organize his impressions of Milton Erickson. The article captures the essence of Erickson: the man, his early concepts of the trance state, his flexibility in trance induction, and his delight in working with those considered “resistant subjects.” In this early paper, Jay Haley clearly recognizes Erickson’s potential impact on therapy and clinicians around the world. This paper reminds readers of the importance of therapeutic relationship and the power of effective communication.

Discussions on Hypnosis and Schizophrenia

A classic paper in intellect and argument, this article contains a transcript of a conversation between Jay Haley, John Weakland, and Milton Erickson as they discuss the role of communication in hypnosis and schizophrenia. In 1955, schizophrenia was considered primarily a psychological disorder. Whereas today schizophrenia is mostly considered a biological disorder, this very early, unpublished paper still gives much food for thought and a further glimpse into Haley and Erickson’s thinking and intellect at a fervent time in schizophrenia research.

An Interactional Explanation of Hypnosis

In this paper, the author offers what he sees as a new approach to understanding or defining hypnosis. Drawing from his work with Gregory Bateson, John Weakland, Don Jackson, and Bill Fry, Haley emphasizes the relational communicative aspect of trance. Noting the inherent difficulty of studying subjective experience, Haley highlights again the importance of communication and the therapist-patient relationship.

Jay Haley’s Supervision of a Case of Dissociative

This is a transcript of a supervision session with a young therapist caught in the complex world of a woman with multiple personality. Occurring very early in the written literature about treating multiple personalities, the highlight of this paper is the supervision style and technique of Jay Haley. His approach to supervision will make the reader wish that he or she could be in the room during this session.

Autohypnosis and Trance Dance in Bali

A masterpiece of historical importance, this paper recounts Jay and Madeleine Haley’s trip to Bali nearly 50 years after Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead first went there. The Haleys met several of the same individuals who greeted Bateson and Mead and made a film they entitled “Dance and Trance of Balinese Children.” This is a fascinating document of a culture and society so different from our own and the technique of dance and trance used to regulate emotion and violence.

Hypnotic Seminar

In this transcription of a lecture given in 2000, Jay Haley begins by answering the question, “What is hypnosis?” Haley reviews the circumstances of Gregory Bateson encouraging him to meet with Milton Erickson to discuss the history of hypnosis and the paradoxical nature of trance induction. Haley expresses many original thoughts about multiple personalities, regression to past lives, and how to handle memories that historically may be false. Sophisticated and subtle, this is Haley at his best.