Use of hypnosis in the field of dementia: A scoping review

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Sep-Oct 2021;96:104453. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2021.104453. Epub 2021 Jun 6.


Background: Dementia has negative implications for the quality of life of person and lead to situations of distress. Hypnosis is effective in several health domains but its use in people with dementia is debated.

Objective: The aim was to scope the research activity on the use of hypnosis with persons with dementia to manage their distress, symptoms or daily life.

Method: We used five international databases: PubMed/Medline, the Cochrane Library, ScienceDirect, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar.

Results: Only seven articles were listed and three articles described the same longitudinal pilot study. Hypnosis was used either in one or several sessions, alone or as an adjunct and reinforced with daily self-hypnosis with or without audio tapes in people with dementia. The results show that they experienced moderate-to-high hypnotizability, but some adaptations were needed given their attention disabilities. They showed benefit on symptoms. Nevertheless, some methodological weaknesses such as small heterogeneous samples, the use of non-validated tools for hypnotizability or outcomes, or the insufficient definition of the content of sessions limit the scope of the results.

Conclusion: Hypnosis seems feasible and acceptable for people with dementia and could provide interesting clinical benefits, but a randomized controlled trial with a large homogeneous sample would be highly informative.

Keywords: Dementia; Hypnosis; Scoping review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dementia* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life