Research on Hypnosis

Research on the subject of hypnosis and its effectiveness began a little more than 30 years ago, when psychologist Ernest Hilgard, Ph.D., a former president of the American Psychological Association, set up the Laboratory of Hypnosis Research at Stanford University. At about the same time, psychiatrist Martin Orne, M.D., of Harvard and psychologist T. X. Barber, Ph.D., of the Medfield Foundation, pioneered hypnosis research at their respective organizations. Since then, dozens of research programs on hypnosis have sprung to life in universities and medical schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. (1)

The burgeoning hypnosis field also supports two independent professional organizations and two major journals devoted exclusively to the topic. The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, which publishes the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, currently enrolls over 1,000 members. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, publisher of the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, boasts almost 4,000 members. Several smaller organizations flourishing in a number of foreign countries publish their own journals on the subject.

In clinical practice here and elsewhere, hypnosis has simply taken off. Inspired by the late psychotherapist Milton Erickson, M.D. (considered by many to be the father of modem medical hypnosis).

Here’s some Scientific Hypnosis Research:


-Alladin, A. (2014). The Wounded Self: New Approach to Understanding and Treating Anxiety Disorders. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 56(4), P. 368-388.

-Daitch, C. (2014). Hypnotherapeutic Treatment for Anxiety-Related Relational Discord: A Short-Term Hypnotherapeutic Protocol. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 56(4), P.325-342.

-Iglesias, A. (2014). Hypnosis Aided Fixed Role Therapy for Social Phobia: A Case Report. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 56(4), P.405-412.

-Rui-zhe, H. et al. (2015). Influence of Hypnosis Therapy on Family Function in Patients with Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Kunming Medical University / Kunming Yike Daxue Xuebao . 36 (1), P.105-107.

-Spiegel, D. & Riba, M.B. (2014). Managing Anxiety and Depression During Treatment. The Breast Journal. 21(1), P.97-103


-Alladin, A. (2009). Evidence-based cognitive hypnotherapy for depression. Contemporary Hypnosis, 26(4). 245-262.

-Yapko, M. D. (2010). Hypnosis in the treatment of depression: An overdue approach for encouraging skillful mood management. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 58(2), 137-146.


-Houghton L. A., Heyman D.J., Whorwell P.J. (1996). Symptomatology, quality of life and economic features of irritable bowel syndrome–the effect of hypnotherapy. Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 10:1, 91-5.

-Wilson, S., et al.(2006). Systematic review: the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrom. Alimentary Pharmacology and Theerapeutics, 24, 769-780.


-Borkovec, T. D., Fowles, D. C. (1973). Controlled investigation of the effects of progressive and hypnotic relaxation on insomnia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 82(1), 153-158.

-Schaefert, R., et al. (2014). Efficacy, Tolerability, and Safety of Hypnosis in Adult Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 76, 389-398.


-Tan, G., Rintala, D. H., Jensen, M. P., Fukui, T., Smith, D., & Williams, W. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of hypnosis compared with biofeedback for adults with chronic low back pain. European Journal of Pain.

-Crawford, H. J., Gur, R. C., Skolnick, B., Gur, R. E., Benson, D. M. (1993). Effects of hypnosis on regional cerebral blood flow during ischemic pain with and without suggested hypnotic analgesia. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 15, 181-195.

-Derbyshire, S. W. G., Whalley, M. G., Stenger, V. A., Oakley, D. A. (2004). Cerebral activation during hypnotically induced and imagined pain. NeuroImage, 27: 969-78.

-Derbyshire, S. W. G., Whalley, M. G., Oakley, D. A. (2008). Fibromyalgia pain and its modulation by hypnotic and non-hypnotic suggestion: An fMRI analysis. European Journal of Pain.

-Hilgard, E. R. (1973). A neurodissociation interpretation of pain reduction in hypnosis. Psychological Review, 80,396-411.

-Jensen, M. P., Patterson, D. R. (2014). Hypnotic approaches for chronic pain management: clinical implications of recent research findings. American Psychologist, 69(2), 167-177

-Patterson, D. R., Jensen, M. P. (2003). Hypnosis and clinical pain. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 129, pp. 495-521.

-Vanhaudenhuyse, A., et al. (2009). Pain and non-pain processing during hypnosis: A thalium-YAG event-related fMRI study. NeuroImage, 47, 1047-1054.

Sleep Disorders:

-Hurwitz, T. D., et al.(1991). A retrospective outcome study and review of hypnosis as treatment of adults with sleepwalking and sleep terror. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 179(4), 228-233.

Smoking Cessation:

-Abbot, N. C., Stead, L.F., White, A. R., Barnes, J. (1998) Hypnotherapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001008. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001008

-Covino, N. A., Bottari, M. (2001). Hypnosis, behavioural theory, and smoking cessation. Journal of Dental Education, 65(4), 340-347.

-Green, J. P., Lynn, S. J. (2000). Hypnosis and suggestion-based approaches to smoking cessation. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 48(2), 195-223.

Weight Loss:

-Allison, D. B., Faith, M. S. (1996). Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy for obesity: A meta-analytic reappraisal. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 513-516.

-Barabasz, M., Spiegel, D. (1989). Hypnotizability and weight loss in obese subjects. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 8, 335-341

-Bolocofsky, D. N., Spinler, D., Coulthard-Morris, L. (1985). Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioural weight management. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 41, 35-41.

-Bornstein, P. H., Devine, D. A. (1980). Covert modeling-hypnosis in the treatment of obesity. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 17, 272-276.