Reorienting Hypnosis Education

Am J Clin Hypn. 2017 Jan;59(3):235-259. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2016.1231657.


The legacy model of professional clinical hypnosis training presents a restrictive frame increasingly incompatible with our evolving understanding of psychobiology, health, and care. Emerging science recognizes human experience not as disease and diagnosis, but as manifestations of individual, uniquely-endowed, adaptively self-regulating systems. Hypnosis is a particularly well-suited discipline for effecting beneficial change in this paradigm. Training in clinical hypnosis must progress from the current linearly-structured, diagnosis-based, reductionist model toward a more responsive, naturalistic, and client-centered curriculum in order to remain relevant and accessible to clinicians beginning to integrate it into their practices. To that end, this article extends Hope and Sugarman's (2015) thesis of hypnosis as a skill set for systemic perturbation and reorientation to consider what those skills may be, the principles on which they are based, and how they may be taught. Parsing a clinical vignette reveals how incorporation of novelty and uncertainty results in less restrictive and more naturalistic hypnotic encounters that, in response to client-generated cues, elicit psychophysiological plasticity. This disruptive hypnosis education and training framework extends the utility and benefit of applied clinical hypnosis.

Keywords: educational; hypnosis; neuroplasticity; professional education; psychobiology; standards; trance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypnosis / methods*
  • Psychotherapy / education*