Comparative effectiveness of hypnotherapy on different psychological symptoms

Am J Clin Hypn. 1989 Oct;32(2):110-7. doi: 10.1080/00029157.1989.10402809.


In this study we measured a comprehensive set of symptoms before and after hypnotherapy to evaluate which symptom areas respond most and which respond least. The participants were 20 adults who sought hypnotherapy for such problems as stress, anxiety, and depression. There were two pretreatment measurements and one posttreatment measurement. Statistical analyses revealed significantly less symptomatology posttreatment in all measured dimensions. The greatest percentage decrease occurred in the anxiety dimensions; less of a decrease occurred in affective symptoms, and the least decrease appeared in ideational symptoms. The results are discussed in terms of the similarity of hypnosis to states of deep relaxation and its difference from the state of intense arousal which is a component of the "fight-flight" response. It is suggested that the symptoms most related to the "fight-flight" reaction respond most readily to hypnosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Arousal
  • Cognition
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy