This article describes cognitive hypnotherapy (CH), an integrative treatment that provides an evidence-based framework for synthesizing clinical practice and research. CH combines hypnotherapy with cognitive-behavior therapy in the management of emotional disorders. This blended version of clinical practice meets criteria for an assimilative model of integrative psychotherapy, which incorporates both theory and empirical findings. Issues related to (a) additive effect of hypnosis in treatment, (b) transdiagnostic consideration, and (c) unified treatment protocols in the treatment of emotional disorders are considered in light of cognitive hypnotherapy.
The hypothesis that beliefs about hypnosis determine the amount of psychological reactance aroused was tested. Participants were administered a measure of trait reactance to therapist directives (Therapeutic Reactance Scale; TRS), the Beliefs about Hypnotic State Questionnaire (BHSQ–R), and behavioral and subjective scales concerning hypnotic response. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed significant interactions between BHSQ–R subscales and TRS. The findings suggest that the arousal of psychological reactance to hypnosis is determined by individuals’ trait reactance levels acting together with their interpretations of the hypnotic situation. The role of beliefs about hypnotic states as a moderator of the relationship between personality and hypnotizability was discussed.
This randomized, controlled clinical trial evaluates the effectiveness of self-hypnosis on pain perception. Pain thresholds were measured, and a targeted, standardized pain stimulus was created by electrical stimulation of the dental pulp of an upper anterior tooth. Pain stimulus was rated by a visual analogue scale (VAS). The pain threshold under self-hypnosis was higher (57.1 ± 17.1) than without hypnotic intervention (39.5 ± 11.8) (p < .001). Pain was rated lower on the VAS with self-hypnosis (4.0 ± 3.8) than in the basal condition without self-hypnosis (7.1 ± 2.7) (p < .001). Self-hypnosis can be used in clinical practice as an adjunct to the gold standard of local anesthesia for pain management, as well as an alternative in individual cases.
Prospective memory is the ability to formulate and carry out actions at the appropriate time or in the appropriate context. This study aimed to identify the effect of hypnosis on prospective memory performance and to analyze the involvement of executive control processes in intention realization in a hypnotically altered state of consciousness. In 1 experiment, manipulating hypnotic instruction in a within-subject fashion, the authors explored the event-based prospective memory performance of 23 volunteers in 3 conditions: baseline, expectation, and execution. The primary result was that executing prospective memory responses, at the same accuracy rate, produced a significantly lower cost of ongoing responses in terms of response latency in the hypnotic state than in wake condition.
Sexual dysfunction is a common problem for postmenopausal women. This study, as part of a larger randomized controlled trial, examined the effect of hypnotic relaxation therapy on sexual dysfunction, a secondary study outcome, in postmenopausal women. Sexual function was assessed using the Sexual Activity Questionnaire (SAQ). Significant improvement in sexual pleasure and discomfort were reported following 5 weekly sessions of hypnotic relaxation therapy, compared with those receiving an attention control. Total SAQ scores showed significant improvement in the hypnotic relaxation therapy treatment group while holding baseline SAQ scores constant. Improvements showed a slight increase at the Week 12 follow-up. The results of this analysis provide initial support for the use of hypnotic relaxation therapy to improve sexual function in postmenopausal women.
There has been no research examining why people with disordered eating tend to be highly hypnotizable. The authors examine the hypothesis that concern for appropriateness mediates the association between hypnotizability and disordered eating. Fifty participants aged 15 to 30 completed the Eating Attitudes Test–26 (EAT–26) and the Concern for Appropriateness Scale (CAS) and were administered the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form C (SHSS:C). EAT–26 scores predicted CAS scores (β = 0.24, p < .001), CAS scores predicted SHSS:C scores (β = 0.38, p < .001), and the mediation model was significant (Sobel Test; R2 = .24, z = 2.54, p < .01). Individuals with problematic eating attitudes may tend to be more hypnotizable than those with normal eating attitudes at least in part because they are highly influenced by interpersonal messages.
Highly hypnotizable participants in the experimental condition were given a waking state suggestion that a reading not intended to be interesting would be fascinating and remarkable. Controls were given task motivational instructions, in which they were told to try to make it interesting. The suggestion had a major influence on participants’ enjoyment of the reading, though no effect was found for reading comprehension. Qualitative interviews indicated that the suggestion had a profound impact on some, especially those most responsive to hypnosis. The lack of an effect in reading comprehension may be due to large within-group variances. Findings suggest that hypnotic suggestion, when properly employed, may have a potential use in enhancing the learning capabilities of highly hypnotizable people.