Is Primary Process Cognition a Feature of Hypnosis?

The division of cognition into primary and secondary processes is an important part of contemporary psychoanalytic metapsychology. Whereas primary processes are most characteristic of unconscious thought and loose associations, secondary processes generally govern conscious thought and logical reasoning. It has been theorized that an induction into hypnosis is accompanied by a predomination of primary process cognition over secondary process cognition. The authors hypothesized that highly hypnotizable individuals would demonstrate more primary process cognition as measured by a recently developed cognitive-perceptual task. This hypothesis was not supported. In fact, low hypnotizable participants demonstrated higher levels of primary process cognition. Exploratory analyses suggested a more specific effect: felt connectedness to the hypnotist seemed to promote secondary process cognition among low hypnotizable participants.

Group Hypnotizability of Inpatient Adolescents

This study investigated group hypnotizability in 167 adolescents (ages 13-17) in an inpatient behavioral healthcare setting through use of the Waterloo-Stanford Group Scale, Form C. It also investigated the influence of hypnotic inductions on group hypnotizability. Adolescents were randomly assigned to either a group session of hypnosis (n = 84) with a hypnotic induction or a comparison “no-induction” group (n = 83) that received identical suggestions without a hypnotic induction. Adolescents’ imaginative absorption and dissociation were measured to examine their influence on hypnotizability. A between-group comparison showed the induction condition had a significantly higher score than the no-induction group on both behavioral and subjective measures of hypnotizability.

Effects of Hypnosis on Regression to Primary Process Thinking

The authors tested the hypothesis that hypnotic age regression produces a shift from secondary to primary thought processing in hypnotizable participants. Thirty participants were tested for hypnotizability using the Elkins Scale of Hypnotizability (EHS). Participants were exposed to a tailored hypnotic arm-levitation induction and a hypnotic suggestion to age regress to 5 years of age and to have a dream. Primary-process thinking was assessed using the Primary-Process Thinking Scale. An independent t test with 2 levels of hypnotizability (middle and high) showed high hypnotizables demonstrated higher ratings of primary thought processing than those in the middle group.

Forward Affect Bridge

This paper presents a modification of the affect bridge technique. The Forward Affect Bridge enables practitioners to create and maintain hope when it is missing. Hope is relevant for diminishing avoidance and being involved with necessary activities. The main idea is to build up a positive atmosphere in the here and now (relying on rapport), amplify it, and project it forward. By using clinical vignettes, the authors illustrate these techniques.

Hypnosis in Treatment of Major Depression: An Analysis of Heart Rate Variability

Hypnosis is an adjuvant treatment of major depression (MD). Heart rate variability (HRV) can assess the autonomic nervous system, which is associated with MD, and HRV is decreased in MD patients. There is a lack of research on HRV changes before, during, and after the use of hypnosis in MD patients. A total of 21 MD patients participated in this study, and 5-minute electrocardiograms were recorded before, during, and after hypnosis. Compared with the prehypnotic condition, HRV parameters significantly (p < .01) increased in the hypnotic and posthypnotic conditions. The results suggest that hypnosis treatment should bring some functional improvement to the autonomic nervous system. HRV is potentially a useful tool that quantifies the physiological impact of hypnosis treatment in MD patients.

Impact of a Hypnotically-based Intervention on Pain and Fear in Women Undergoing Labor

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a hypnotically based intervention for pain and fear in women undergoing labor who are about to receive an epidural catheter. A group of 155 women received interventions that included either (1) patient rocking, gentle touching, and hypnotic communication or (2) patient rocking, gentle touching, and standard communication. The authors found that the hypnotic communication intervention was more effective than the standard communication intervention for reducing both pain intensity and fear. The results support the use of hypnotic communication just before and during epidural placement for women who are in labor and also indicate that additional research to evaluate the benefits and mechanism of this treatment is warranted.

Efficacy of Self-hypnosis in Pain Management of Female Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Pain is common in patients with multiple sclerosis. This study evaluated self-hypnosis for pain control in that population. A randomized clinical trial was conducted on 60 patients, who were assigned to either a control group or to a self-hypnosis group, in which patients performed self-hypnosis at least 10 times a day. All patients were trained to score the perceived pain twice daily on a numerical rating scale and also reported the quality of pain with the McGill Pain questionnaire. Repeated measures analysis showed a significant difference between the groups; pain was lower in the self-hypnosis group but was not maintained after 4 weeks. Self-hypnosis could effectively decrease the intensity and modify quality of pain in female patients with multiple sclerosis.

Psychological Features of Hypnotizability: a First Step Toward Its Empirical Definition

This study examined the relationship between the Hypnotic Induction Profile (HIP) and several psychological tests: Tellegen Absorption Scale (TAS), Spontaneity Assessment Inventory-Revised (SAI-R), Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), Short-Form Boundary Questionnaire (SFBQ), Mini Locus of Control (MLOC), Testoni Death Representation Scale (TDRS), and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI). Two hundred and forty volunteers were administered the above tests; 78 of them were also administered the HIP, and its scores were compared to those on the other tests. A significant correlation was found among the TAS, DES, SFBQ and IRI. The HIP was significantly correlated to the DES (r = .19 p1tail = .045), and the IRI-c subscale (r = .19 p1tail = .044); 14 test items from DES, IRI, TAS, SAIR, and SFBQ were also significantly related to the HIP. The findings suggest that hypnotizability may relate to stronger perception of the inner world, decreased aptitude for managing memory processing, and increased sensitivity and empathy.

Sensory Experience Memory in Resource Therapy

A sensory experience memory (SEM) is an emotional memory that may be either connected to an intellectual memory or it may have become dissociated from its corresponding intellectual memory. Sensory experience memories are the cause of a number of pathologies, including PTSD, panic disorder, and anxiety. When a personality state that holds a negative SEM assumes the conscious, the client may display negative emotional reactions that appear unwarranted. SEMs can also play a central role in therapy to resolve pathology. Resource therapy (RT) incorporates the understanding of SEMs in both diagnosis and treatment. RT will be used in this article to illustrate the importance of working with SEMs, but therapists can translate the use of SEMs to other therapeutic modalities.