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.
This research compared a no-treatment control condition and 3 experimentally induced pain treatment conditions: (a) virtual reality distraction (VRD), (b) hypnotic analgesia (HA), and (c) HA + VRD in relieving finger-pressure pain. After receiving baseline pain stimulus, each participant received hypnosis or no hypnosis, followed by VRD or no VRD during another pain stimulus. The data analysis indicated that, overall, all 3 treatments were more effective compared to the control group, irrespective of whether it involved hypnotic analgesia, virtual reality distraction, or both (hypnosis and virtual reality). Nevertheless, the participants responded differently to the pain treatment, depending on the hypnotizability level. High hypnotizables reported hypnotic analgesia, but low hypnotizables did not show hypnotic analgesia. VR distraction reduced pain regardless of hypnotizability.