The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of self-hypnosis in a therapeutic education program (TEP) for the management of chronic pain in 26 children aged 7 to 17 years. Outcomes of the study were a total or a partial (at least 1) achievement of the therapeutic goals (pain, quality of sleeping, schooling, and functional activity). Sixteen patients decreased their pain intensity, 10 reached all of their therapeutic goals, and 9 reached them partially. Self-hypnosis was the only component of the TEP associated with these improvements. The current study supports the efficacy of self-hypnosis in our TEP program for chronic pain management in children.
On the basis of the transtheoretical model of change, we hypothesized that hypnosis would facilitate significantly greater movement through the stages of change toward smoking cessation in contrast to psychoeducation. Thirty participants were pretested for hypnotizability using the Elkins Hypnotizability Scale (EHS). Participants’ readiness for change was assessed using the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment scale (URICA). The EHS relaxation induction was used to induce hypnosis. Hypnotic suggestions addressed motivation and ambivalence. The URICA was administered following the intervention and at a 10-day follow-up. Two-factor split-plot ANOVAs showed significant changes within groups on the contemplation subscale (p = .002), action subscale (p = .00007), and the number of cigarettes smoked per day (p = .003).
We investigated the association between hypnotizability, COMT polymorphism, P50 suppression ratio, and prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle response (ASR) in 21 high (HH) and 19 low (LH) hypnotizable subjects. The frequency of Met/Met carriers of COMT polymorphysm was higher in HH than in LH group (33.3% versus 10.6%, p = .049). Increased ASR amplitude and latency and decreased prepulse inhibition at 120 ms lead interval were found in the HH compared to the LH group. The effect of COMT genotype on prepulse inhibition was observed in LH group only. No between-group differences in P50 measures were found. The obtained results suppose the participation of dopamine system in mechanisms of hypnotizability and different allocation of attentional resources in HH and LH subjects.
The possible cooperation between hypnotizability-related and placebo mechanisms in pain modulation has not been consistently assessed. Here, we investigate possible genetic bases for such cooperation. The OPRM1 gene, which encodes the μ1 opioid receptor—the primary site of action for endogenous and exogenous opioids—is polymorphic in the general population for the missense mutation Asn40Asp (A118G, rs1799971). The minor allele 118G results in decreased levels of OPRM1 mRNA and protein. As a consequence, G carriers are less responsive to opioids. The aim of the study was to investigate whether hypnotizability is associated with the presence of the OPRM1 polymorphism. Forty-three high and 60 low hypnotizable individuals, as well as 162 controls, were genotyped for the A118G polymorphism of OPRM1. The frequency of the G allele was significantly higher in highs compared to both lows and controls. Findings suggest that an inefficient opioid system may be a distinctive characteristic of highs and that hypnotic assessment may predict lower responsiveness to opioids.
Hypnotizability is related to the Val158Met polymorphism of the COMT gene. The authors’ aim was to find associations between candidate genes and subjective dimensions of hypnosis; 136 subjects participated in hypnosis and noninvasive DNA sampling. The phenomenological dimensions were tapped by the Archaic Involvement Measure (AIM), the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI), and the Dyadic Interactional Harmony Questionnaire (DIH). The main results were that the “Need of dependence” subscale of AIM was associated with the COMT genotypes. The GG subgroup showed higher scores, whereas AA had below average scores on the majority of the subjective measures. An association between the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and the intimacy scores on the DIH was also evident. The effects are discussed in the social–psychobiological model of hypnosis.
The preparation of this article was supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Funds (OTKA 109187 and K100845).
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.
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.
This work was supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Funds (OTKA 109187 and K100845).
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.
High hypnotizability is associated with left-sided cerebral asymmetry, which could influence measurement of the Peripersonal Space (PPS). Right-handed participants with high (highs, n = 20), medium (mediums, n = 9), and low hypnotizability scores (lows, n = 20) performed the line bisection test on a computer screen automatically displaced at distances of 30, 60, and 90 cm from the subjects’ eyes. Highs’ results showed rightward bias of the bisection (Relative Error, RE) for all presentation distances. In contrast, in lows RE was displaced leftward at 30 cm and exhibited a progressive rightward shift at 60 and 90 cm, as occurs in the general population. Mediums’ RE values were intermediate between highs’ and lows’ values. Bisection Times (BT) were significantly longer in highs/mediums than in lows. Findings indicate that the highs’ bisection identifies PPS as if it was extrapersonal, but further studies should assess its functional characteristics. The highs/mediums longer BT suggest less efficient sensorimotor performance.
Research funded by University of Pisa (Fondi di Ateneo, 2013).
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.