Hypnosis C. Alexander Simpkins PhD Annellen M. Simpkins PhD

C. Alexander Simpkins PhD
Annellen M. Simpkins PhD
What is Hypnosis?
 People have been asking this question since
the time of the Greeks
 The only thing everyone agrees on is that one
definition of hypnosis has not been agreed on
 The phenomena of hypnosis are subject to
many variables that influence how they are
responded to and expressed.
 But thanks to more methods of examining
hypnosis, including imaging the brain, we are
learning more all the time!
Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815)
 Viennese physician
 Vital energy like magnetism that could be made to
act on the human body.
 It could be influenced by the practitioner to bring
about cures of disease, both mental and physical
 He came into conflict with the medical
establishment because of his claims.
 Today we are revisiting magnetism without mysticism
through treatment of conditions by magnetism
 This slowed the initial progress of experimentation
James Braid (1795-1860)
 One of earliest researchers who altered the
course that Mesmer had initiated
 Medical doctor who gave hypnosis the name
 He believed Mesmer had made errors in how he conducted
his experiments with patients
 Used careful observation of individual subjects to demystify
hypnosis and categorize its effects
 For example, experiment with sharpening senses
 Hypnotized person, blindfolded, could locate someone in
crowd with sense of smell
 Developed the theory of hypnosis as focused
attention, still an important view
Jean Martin Charcot (1835-1893)
 Some consider him the founder of neurology
as distinct discipline
 Created the Salpetriere School of Hypnosis
 Scientific approach
 Used narrow subject pool: female patients
with hysterical symptoms
 Defined hypnosis as hysteria
 But did reveal a link between mental states
and exhibited symptoms
 Also gained acceptance by scientific
 Freud studied with Charcot and translated his
Charcot Examining a Brain
The Nancy School
 Liebeault (1823-1904)
 Provided free medical hypnosis to thousands of
people suffering from physical and mental
 Bernheim (1840-1919)
 Studied with Liebeault and developed the view
that hypnosis is suggestion
 Suggestion is influence exerted by a suggested idea on
the mind i.e. the ability to respond to an idea
 Freud studied with Liebeault and Bernheim and
translated Bernheim’s book, Hypnosis and Suggestion in
Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)
 Russian physiologist
 Studied hypnosis extensively
 Believed in the power of the word as a signal
to bring about a response
 Hypnosis became foundational in Russian
 He did careful neurological measurements
 Defined hypnosis as scattered sleep: excitation
and inhibition
First International Statistics of
 Largest hypnosis study performed in
 8705 subjects
 15 countries
 Each kept track of success in inductions
 Measuring many aspects of susceptibility
1892 Study Findings
 Susceptibility Findings: 75% susceptible
 25% Deep, 50%Moderate 25% Mildly
No differences among different races or countries
No sex differences
Children more susceptible
More intelligent more susceptible
More imaginative more susceptible
This research dispelled myth that hypnosis is for
the weak-minded
 By 1888 there were more than 1172 books
written on hypnosis and hundreds of studies
Other Important Labs
 Clark Hull (1884-1952)
 Lab at Yale
 Research applied John Stuart Mill’s method of
difference comparing hypnotized and nonhypnotized
 Tested hypnotic phenomena
 Used normal subjects
 Adapted the technology of his day inventively for
 Measuring postural sway from suggestion with a simple
sensor connected to the shoulder that reacted to
movement and record it on paper
Stanford Lab
 Ernest Hilgard (1904-2001) and Josephine Hilgard
 Researched using college students
 Did careful, scientific work
 Extensive work on many hypnotic phenomena
 Found pain responses were there but subjects didn’t feel pain
 Developed Stanford Susceptibility Scale
 Did much to promote respect for hypnosis
 Firmly believed that through the study of hypnosis we could
come to better understand such cognitive processes as
attention, memory, learning, etc
Ernest & Josephine Hilgard
Milton H. Erickson (1904-1980)
 Dedicated to hypnosis his whole life
 Known for his clinical work but also a skilled
 Developed naturalistic methods to study hypnosis
unobtrusively as well as studying it in the lab
 Early fruit study
 Concluded hypnosis takes place in the mind of the
subject and the less the hypnotist interferes, the
stronger the effects
 Developed the indirect method of hypnosis
Milton H. Erickson MD
Theories of Hypnosis
 Many theories
 Each has some merit
 Think of them as models that can be useful
 Only problem when a theory is a “nothing
but” theory
 House analogy
Theories of Hypnosis
 Fixation of Attention
 On one idea with monotony
 Partial Sleep
 Scattered inhibition and excitation
 Suggestibility
 Response to the idea
 Ideodynamic processes
 Neo-Dissociation
 Reduction of executive control by consciousness
 Social-Role Theory
 Role playing
 Expectancies
 Altered State of Consciousness
 Trance or alteration of consciousness
 Unconscious functioning
 Literalness because not thinking about them--just thinking them
Experimental Hypnosis
 To capture it well, must respect the phenomena
being studied
 Research needs to use the same procedures for all
 As a result, may be using crude procedures
 People respond differently
 Fails to take enough time to induce a good trance
 People vary
 May not distinguish between induction and
Clinical Hypnosis
 Distinguishes induction and utilization
 Take time to learn how to go into trance
 Then use it for change
 Direct vs Indirect
 Pain relief
 Vast research on applications for purposes
 Obstetrics, anxiety, pain control, depression, fears,
habit control, moods to name a few
Research Project to Test Indirect
 Compared Hypnosis using Ericksonian
Therapy (ET) & Brief Dynamic Therapy (BDT)
 Simpkins & Simpkins, 2008
 Comparison study of two very different
approaches to brief therapy
 ET: no direct discussion of problem
 BDT: Discussion and analysis of problem
Research Continued
 2 Groups: ET & BDT
 4 Tests: for 4 dimensions
1-CPSAS - Social/interpersonal
2-HSCL- Internal/experiential
3-TC - Target complaint
4-GI - Global improvement
 Results
 Both methods equally effective for changing the
target complaint
Implications of Results
 Not always necessary to address a problem
directly in order to resolve it
 Indirect hypnosis activate inner processes for
specific as well as nonspecific changes
Clinical Hypnosis involves
 Although takes place in the mind of the
subject, it is best activated through a trusting
 Don’t usually follow advice from someone you
 In self-hypnosis, learn to trust one’s own
inner self
 When people have problems, sometimes mistrust
 sometimes for good reason
 Learn through self-hypnosis to know when to trust
and how to develop inner capacities
Learning to Experience
 Open attitude
 Curiosity
 Allowing responsiveness
 May be subtle
 Like flickers between boxcars of a passing train
 Utilizing the natural abilities you have and
building on them
 Relax and enjoy!