Integrating Hypnosis with Other Therapies for Treating Specific Phobias: A Case Series

Am J Clin Hypn. 2018 Apr;60(4):367-377. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2017.1326372.


There is a high prevalence of anxiety disorders including specific phobias and panic disorder in the United States and Europe. A variety of therapeutic modalities including pharmacotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, systematic desensitization, hypnosis, in vivo exposure, and virtual reality exposure therapy have been applied. No one modality has been entirely successful. There has been only a limited attempt to combine psychological therapies in the treatment of specific phobias and panic disorder and what has been done has been primarily with systematic desensitization or cognitive behavioral therapy along with hypnotherapy. I present two cases of multiple specific phobias that were successfully treated with hypnotherapy combined with virtual reality exposure therapy or in vivo exposure therapy. The rationale for this integrative therapy and the neurobiological constructs are considered.

Keywords: acrophobia; hypnosis; integrative psychotherapy; panic disorder; social phobia; specific phobia; vestibular-positional disorder; virtual reality exposure therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis / methods*
  • Implosive Therapy / methods*
  • Panic Disorder / therapy*
  • Phobia, Social / therapy*
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy / methods*

Supplementary concepts

  • Phobia, Specific