Hypnosis and Suggestion
Hypnosis is defined as “a state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion”(Elkins, Barabasz, Council, & Spiegel, 2015). Patients can be helped to engage in hypnosis with a hypnotic induction which is a sequence of instructions and suggestions that help an individual to become hypnotized, and which traditionally involve instructions for relaxation. Once hypnotized suggestions can be given for alterations in experience. With suggestions “one person is guided by another to respond to suggestions for changes in subjective experiences, alterations in perception, sensation, emotion, thought, or behavior”(Green, Barabasz, Barrett, & Montgomery, 2005). Suggestions are what lead to the most interesting effects in hypnosis. For example, if someone experiencing pain is hypnotized they may feel focused and relaxed, but it is not until they are given a suggestion such as ‘the painful area is beginning to feel numb and insensitive’ that they start to experience significant pain relief. One theory is that suggestions work by altering our expectancies of what is going to happen and our experiences follow from these response expectancies: a critical part of the hypnotic experience is that suggested effects are experienced as involuntary and effortless.
Elkins, G. R., Barabasz, A. F., Council, J. R., & Spiegel, D. (2015). Advancing research and practice: The revised APA Division 30 definition of hypnosis. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 63(1), 1–9.
Green, J. P., Barabasz, A. F., Barrett, D., & Montgomery, G. H. (2005). Forging ahead: the 2003 APA Division 30 definition of hypnosis. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 53(3), 259–264.
Oakley, D. A., & Halligan, P. W. (2009). Hypnotic suggestion and cognitive neuroscience. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(6), 264–270.
- Hypnotic suggestibility scales at Hypnosis And Suggestion
- Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Suggestibility (HGSHS) script response booklet
- Creative Imagination Scale (CIS) scale scoring form
- Hypnosis And Suggestion has information about hypnosis research
- Compare hypnosis training and hypnotherapy training in the UK at HypnosisTrainingUK.com