In this paper, the author offers what he sees as a new approach to understanding or defining hypnosis. Drawing from his work with Gregory Bateson, John Weakland, Don Jackson, and Bill Fry, Haley emphasizes the relational communicative aspect of trance. Noting the inherent difficulty of studying subjective experience, Haley highlights again the importance of communication and the therapist-patient relationship.
Despite the apparently definitive findings of the Christensen (2005) survey of published members of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH), disagreement about which term best describes the capacity to experience hypnosis and theoretical preference has continued. SCEH, although international, represents primarily North Americans. Preferences of international clinicians and researchers were inadequately represented, so the authors surveyed preferences from attendees of the International Congress of the International Society of Hypnosis in 2012 in Bremen, Germany. The term trance, translated as trance capacity or trance ability for this study, was overwhelmingly preferred over the other options. Hypnosis was recognized as an identifiable state by 88.46% of respondents, whereas only 11.54% viewed it as a sociocognitive phenomenon (role-play, expectancy, etc.).