This article examines research on hypnosis and suggestion, starting with the nineteenth-century model proposed by Enrico Morselli (1852–1929), an illustrious Italian psychiatrist and psychologist. The authors conducted an original psychophysiological analysis of hypnosis, distancing the work from the neuropathological concept of the time and proposing a model based on a naturalistic approach to investigating mental processes. The issues investigated by Morselli, including the definition of hypnosis and analysis of specific mental processes such as attention and memory, are reviewed in light of modern research. From the view of modern neuroscientific concepts, some problems that originated in the nineteenth century still appear to be present and pose still-open questions.
Despite the continued debate and lack of a clear consensus about the true nature of the hypnotic phenomenon, hypnosis is increasingly being utilized successfully in many medical, health, and psychological spheres as a research method, motivational tool, and therapeutic modality. Significantly, however, although hypnotherapy is widely advertised, advocated, and employed in the private medical arena for the management and treatment of many physical and emotional disorders, too little appears to be being done to integrate hypnosis into primary care and national health medical services. This article discusses some of the reasons for the apparent reluctance of medical and scientific health professionals to consider incorporating hypnosis into their medical practice, including the practical problems inherent in using hypnosis in a medical context and some possible solutions.
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 Whereas today schizophrenia is mostly considered a biological disorder, this very early, unpublished paper still gives much food for thought and a further glimpse into Haley and Erickson’s thinking and intellect at a fervent time in schizophrenia research.
Assessment of hypnotizability can provide important information for hypnosis research and practice. The Elkins Hypnotizability Scale (EHS) consists of 12 items and was developed to provide a time-efficient measure for use in both clinical and laboratory settings. The EHS has been shown to be a reliable measure with support for convergent validity with the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C (r = .821, p < .001). The current study examined the factor structure of the EHS, which was administered to 252 adults (51.3% male; 48.7% female). Average time of administration was 25.8 minutes. Four factors selected on the basis of the best theoretical fit accounted for 63.37% of the variance. The results of this study provide an initial factor structure for the EHS.
This article describes the history, rationale, and guidelines for developing a new definition of hypnosis by the Society of Psychological Hypnosis, Division 30 of the American Psychological Association. The definition was developed with the aim of being concise, heuristic, and allowing for alternative theories of the mechanisms (to be determined in empirical scientific study). The definition of hypnosis is presented as well as definitions of the following related terms: hypnotic induction, hypnotizability, and hypnotherapy. The implications for advancing research and practice are discussed. The definitions are presented within the article.