Clinical research on the utility of hypnosis in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of medical and psychiatric disorders

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2009 Oct;57(4):443-50. doi: 10.1080/00207140903099153.


The authors summarize 4 articles of special interest to the hypnosis community in the general scientific and medical literatures. All are empirical studies testing the clinical utility of hypnosis, and together address the role of hypnosis in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of medical and psychiatric disorders/conditions. The first is a randomized controlled study of smoking cessation treatments comparing a hypnosis-based protocol to an established behavioral counseling protocol. Hypnosis quit rates are superior to those of the accepted behavioral counseling protocol. A second study with pediatric patients finds hypnosis critically helpful in differentiating nonepileptic seizure-like behaviors (pseudoseizures) from epilepsy. The remaining 2 papers are randomized controlled trials testing whether hypnosis is effective in helping patients manage the emotional distress of medical procedures associated with cancer treatment. Among female survivors of breast cancer, hypnosis reduces perceived hot flashes and associated emotional and sleep disruptions. Among pediatric cancer patients, a brief hypnotic intervention helps control venepuncture-related pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis / methods*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*