A Neutral Control Condition for Hypnosis Experiments: “Wiki” Text

A new control condition called Wiki is introduced. Key themes of each test suggestion of the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C, were matched by a corresponding extract from Wikipedia.org. The authors compared phenomenological reports of participants across 4 conditions: hypnosis split into high and low hypnotizable subgroups, music, and Wiki condition, using the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory. High hypnotizables undergoing hypnosis reported higher altered experience and altered states of awareness than individuals in the Wiki condition, supporting the authors’ hypothesis that the Wiki condition does not evoke an altered state of consciousness (internal dialogue, volitional control, and self-awareness did not differ). Wiki might be a viable control condition in hypnosis research given further examination.

Funding

This work was supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Funds (OTKA 109187 and K100845).

Feasibility of Music and Hypnotic Suggestion to Manage Chronic Pain

The authors investigated the feasibility and possible effects of hypnotic suggestion and music for chronic pain. Ten people completed the 2-week intervention that consisted of daily listening to hypnotic suggestions combined with music. Averaged subjective pain intensity, pain bothersomeness, overall distress, anxiety, and depression decreased from baseline to endpoint. Participants rated pre- and postlistening pain intensity and pain bothersomeness decreased for each session. Information provided during end-of-study interviews indicated all participants were satisfied with treatment and felt they benefited from being in the study. Means and standard deviations are reported for outcome measures and a case study is provided. This preliminary study supports the use of a combined hypnotic suggestion and music intervention for chronic pain.

The Elkins Hypnotizability Scale: Assessment of Reliability and Validity

Measuring hypnotizability is an integral part of hypnosis research and also relevant for predicting the effectiveness of hypnosis-based therapies. The Elkins Hypnotizability Scale (EHS) was designed to meet the needs of modern hypnosis research and clinical practice. Reliability, validity, and normative data were explored by subjecting 230 participants to the EHS and Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form C (SHSS:C). The EHS demonstrated adequate internal consistency (α = .78), its items showed good discriminating ability, and scores of the two scales were highly correlated (rho = .86). Results indicate that the EHS is a reliable and valid tool to assess hypnotizability. Further research is needed to establish its role as a surrogate for the SHSS:C.

Hypnosis for Acute Procedural Pain: A Critical Review

Clinical evidence for the effectiveness of hypnosis in the treatment of acute procedural pain was critically evaluated based on reports from randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs). Results from the 29 RCTs meeting inclusion criteria suggest that hypnosis decreases pain compared to standard care and attention control groups and that it is at least as effective as comparable adjunct psychological or behavioral therapies. In addition, applying hypnosis in multiple sessions prior to the day of the procedure produced the highest percentage of significant results. Hypnosis was most effective in minor surgical procedures. However, interpretations are limited by considerable risk of bias. Further studies using minimally effective control conditions and systematic control of intervention dose and timing are required to strengthen conclusions.

Feature-Based Coding System: A New Way of Characterizing Hypnosis Styles

In this pilot study, the authors introduce a new system to assess hypnosis style. The Feature-Based Coding System (FBCS) comprises 24 standard individual hypnosis sessions, which were videotaped and coded according to both a previous and the new coding system. In addition, both subjects and hypnotists filled the Archaic Involvement Measure (AIM), the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI), and the Dyadic Interactional Harmony Questionnaire (DIH). The interrater agreement of FBCS was good and the construct Maternal-Paternal Axis had a good internal consistency (α = .95). Construct validity was also supported by the findings. Based on these results, a larger scale study is warranted to further establish the reliability and usefulness of this tool.