When hypnosis causes trouble

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 1998 Apr;46(2):157-70. doi: 10.1080/00207149808409997.


Like any other effective intervention, hypnotic treatment can occasionally cause harmful effects as well as beneficial ones. The first step in avoiding clinical complications is recognizing that they can occur. A review of the literature, however, suggests a long-standing inattention to the potential harmfulness of hypnotic interventions, including patients' unexpected reactions, leading to clinical complications, including amnesia, catharsis, paralysis, disorientation, literalness of response, accelerated transference, and memory contamination. In addition to these unexpected reactions by patients, complications can also arise from a practitioner's need for power and by the inappropriately narrow focus on the hypnotic process itself, leading to distraction from the more fundamental clinical process.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Middle Aged