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Hypnosis 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 community • Freud studied with Charcot and translated his writings
The Nancy School • Liebeault (1823-1904) • Provided free medical hypnosis to thousands of people suffering from physical and mental conditions • 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 Psychotherapy
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 psychology • He did careful neurological measurements • Defined hypnosis as scattered sleep: excitation and inhibition
First International Statistics of Susceptbility • Largest hypnosis study performed in 1892 • 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 non-hypnotized • Tested hypnotic phenomena • Used normal subjects • Adapted the technology of his day inventively for experiments • 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
Milton H. Erickson (1904-1980) • Dedicated to hypnosis his whole life • Known for his clinical work but also a skilled researcher • 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
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 subjects • 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 utilization
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 Relationship • Although takes place in the mind of the subject, it is best activated through a trusting relationship • Don’t usually follow advice from someone you mistrust • In self-hypnosis, learn to trust one’s own inner self • When people have problems, sometimes mistrust self • sometimes for good reason • Learn through self-hypnosis to know when to trust and how to develop inner capacities
Learning to Experience Hypnosis • 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!