Is hypnosis effective? You be the judge. Here are some links, statistics and research results to help you decide:
“Hypnotherapy: A Reappraisal,” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice (1970) — Alfred A. Barrios
• Psychoanalysis can be expected to have a 38% recovery rate after approximately 600 sessions.
• Behavior therapy can be expected to have a 72% recovery rate after an average of 22 sessions.
• Hypnotherapy can be expected to have a 93% recovery rate after an average of 6 sessions.
Check out some of the research and clincial evidence on the effectiveness of hypnosis from the National Guild of Hypnotists:
Studies & Clinical Research (click to expand each section)
Want to know the answer to “Is hypnosis effective?” Of 43 consecutive patients undergoing this treatment protocol, 39 reported remaining abstinent from tobacco use at follow-up (6 months to 3 years post-treatment). This represents a 90.6% success rate using hypnosis.
University of Washington School of Medicine, Depts. of Anesthesiology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2001 Jul;49(3):257-66. Barber J.
Performance by gender in a stop-smoking program combining hypnosis and aversion. Johnson DL, Karkut RT. Adkar Associates, Inc., Bloomington, Indiana. Psychol Rep. 1994 Oct;75(2):851-7. PMID: 7862796 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Texas A&M University, System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, College Station, TX USA. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2004 Jan;52(1):73-81. Clinical hypnosis for smoking cessation: preliminary results of a three-session intervention. Elkins GR, Rajab MH.
Guided health imagery for smoking cessation and long-term abstinence. Wynd, CA. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2005; 37:3, pages 245-250.
Ohio State University, College of Nursing, Columbus, OH 43210, USA Descriptive outcomes of the American Lung Association of Ohio hypnotherapy smoking cessation program. Ahijevych K, Yerardi R, Nedilsky N.
Hypnosis Most Effective Says Largest Study Ever: 3 Times as Effective as Patch and 15 Times as Effective as Willpower
University of Iowa, Journal of Applied Psychology, How One in Five Give Up Smoking. October 1992. (Also New Scientist, October 10, 1992.)
Cochrane, Gordon; Friesen, J. (1986). Hypnotherapy in weight loss treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 489-492.
109 people completed a behavioral treatment for weight management either with or without the addition of hypnosis. At the end of the 9-week program, both interventions resulted in significant weight reduction. At 8-month and 2-year follow-ups, the hypnosis subjects were found to have continued to lose significant weight, while those in the behavioral-treatment-only group showed little further change.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1985)
Researchers analyzed 18 studies comparing a cognitive behavioral therapy such as relaxation training, guided imagery, self monitoring, or goal setting with the same therapy supplemented by hypnosis. Those who received the hypnosis lost more weight than 90 percent of those not receiving hypnosis and maintained the weight loss two years after treatment ended.
University of Connecticut, Storrs Allison DB, Faith MS. Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for obesity: a meta-analytic reappraisal. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996;64(3):513-516.
Kirsch, Irving (1996). Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments–Another meta-reanalysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64 (3), 517-519.
Johnson DL, Psychology Reprints. 1997 Jun;80(3 Pt 1):931-3.
Hypnotherapy Group With Stress Reduction Achieved Significantly More Weight Loss Than The Other Two Treatments
Randomised, controlled, parallel study of two forms of hypnotherapy (directed at stress reduction or energy intake reduction), vs dietary advice alone in 60 obese patients with obstructive sleep apnoea on nasal continuous positive airway pressure treatment.
J Stradling, D Roberts, A Wilson and F Lovelock, Chest Unit, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, OX3 7LJ, UK
An analysis of five weight loss studies reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1996 showed that the “… weight loss reported in the five studies indicates that hypnosis can more than double the effects” of traditional weight loss approaches.
University of Connecticut, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1996 (Vol. 64, No. 3, pgs 517-519).
Is hypnosis effective? Research into cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments established that weight loss is greater where hypnosis is utilized. It was also established that the benefits of hypnosis increase over time.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1996)
Compared the treatment of migraine by hypnosis and autohypnosis with the treatment of migraine by the drug prochlorperazine (Stemetil). Results show that the number of attacks and the number of people who suffered blinding attacks were significantly lower for the group receiving hypnotherapy than for the group receiving prochlorperazine. For the group on hypnotherapy, these two measures were significantly lower when on hypnotherapy than when on the previous treatment. It is concluded that further trials of hypnotherapy are justified against some other treatment not solely associated with the ingestion of tablets.
Anderson JA, Basker MA, Dalton R, Migraine and hypnotherapy, International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis 1975; 23(1): 48-58.
Since 1992, we have used hypnosis routinely in more than 1400 patients undergoing surgery. We found that hypnosis used with patients as an adjunct to conscious sedation and local anesthesia was associated with improved intraoperative patient comfort, and with reduced anxiety, pain, intraoperative requirements for anxiolytic and analgesic drugs, optimal surgical conditions and a faster recovery of the patient. We reported our clinical experience and our fundamental research.
[Hypnosis and its application in surgery] Faymonville ME, Defechereux T, Joris J, Adant JP, Hamoir E, Meurisse M, Service d’Anesthesie-Reanimation, Universite de Liege, Rev Med Liege. 1998 Jul;53(7):414-8.
Analysis of the simple-simple main effects, holding both group and condition constant, revealed that application of hypnotic analgesia reduced report of pain intensity significantly more than report of pain unpleasantness.
Dahlgren LA, Kurtz RM, Strube MJ, Malone MD, Differential effects of hypnotic suggestion on multiple dimensions of pain. Journal of Pain & Symptom Management. 1995; 10(6): 464-70.
The improvement was confirmed by the subjective evaluation data gathered with the use of a questionnaire and by a significant reduction in anxiety scores.
Melis PM, Rooimans W, Spierings EL, Hoogduin CA, Treatment of chronic tension-type headache with hypnotherapy: a single-blind time controlled study. Headache 1991; 31(10): 686-9.
Patients in the hypnosis group reported less post treatment pain than did patients in the control group. The findings are used to replicate earlier studies of burn pain hypnoanalgesia, explain discrepancies in the literature, and highlight the potential importance of motivation with this population.
Patterson DR, Ptacek JT, Baseline pain as a moderator of hypnotic analgesia for burn injury treatment. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology 1997; 65(1): 60-7.
Hypnotic procedures appear to be a useful adjunct to established strategies for the treatment of phantom limb pain and would repay further, more systematic, investigation. Suggestions are provided as to the factors which should be considered for a more systematic research program.
Treatment of phantom limb pain using hypnotic imagery. Oakley DA, Whitman LG, Halligan PW, Department of Psychology, University College, London, UK.
Is hypnosis effective? Hypnosis has been demonstrated to reduce analogue pain, and studies on the mechanisms of laboratory pain reduction have provided useful applications to clinical populations. Studies showing central nervous system activity during hypnotic procedures offer preliminary information concerning possible physiological mechanisms of hypnotic analgesia. Randomized controlled studies with clinical populations indicate that hypnosis has a reliable and significant impact on acute procedural pain and chronic pain conditions. Methodological issues of this body of research are discussed, as are methods to better integrate hypnosis into comprehensive pain treatment.
Hypnosis and clinical pain. Patterson DR, Jensen MP, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA USA 98104 Psychol Bull. 2003 Jul;129(4):495-521.
Attempting to elucidate cerebral mechanisms behind hypnotic analgesia, we measured regional cerebral blood flow with positron emission tomography in patients with fibromyalgia, during hypnotically-induced analgesia and resting wakefulness. The patients experienced less pain during hypnosis than at rest. The cerebral blood-flow was bilaterally increased in the orbitofrontal and subcallosial cingulate cortices, the right thalamus, and the left inferior parietal cortex, and was decreased bilaterally in the cingulate cortex. The observed blood-flow pattern supports notions of a multifactorial nature of hypnotic analgesia, with an interplay between cortical and subcortical brain dynamics. Copyright 1999 European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain.
Functional anatomy of hypnotic analgesia: a PET study of patients with fibromyalgia. Wik G, Fischer H, Bragee B, Finer B, Fredrikson M, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden Eur J Pain. 1999 Mar;3(1):7-12.
Hypnosis can be a useful adjunct in the emergency department setting. Its efficacy in various clinical applications has been replicated in controlled studies. Application to burns, pain, pediatric procedures, surgery, psychiatric presentations (e.g., coma, somatoform disorder, anxiety, and post traumatic stress), and obstetric situations (e.g., hyperemesis, labor, and delivery) are described.
Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2000 May;18(2):327-38, x. The use of hypnosis in emergency medicine. Peebles-Kleiger MJ, Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences, Menninger Clinic, Topeka, KS, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Is hypnosis effective? Significant differences were found on all measures. The experimental group had significantly less discomfort and illicit drug use, and a significantly greater amount of cessation. At six month follow up, 94% of the subjects in the experimental group who had achieved cessation remained narcotic free.
A comparative study of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy in the treatment of methadone addicts. Manganiello AJ, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1984; 26(4): 273-9.
Treatment has been used with 18 clients over the last 7 years and has shown a 77 percent success rate for at least a 1-year follow-up. 15 were being seen for alcoholism or alcohol abuse, 2 clients were being seen for cocaine addiction, and 1 client had a marijuana addiction
Intensive Therapy: Utilizing Hypnosis in the Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders. Potter, Greg, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Jul 2004.
American Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy (a publication of the American Psychological Association)
Want to know the answer to, “Is hypnosis effective?” Well, hypnosis was successfully used to overcome a $500 (five grams) per day cocaine addiction. The subject was a female in her twenties. After approximately 8 months of addiction, she decided to use hypnosis in an attempt to overcome the addiction itself. Over the next 4 months, she used hypnosis three times a day and at the end of this period, her addiction was broken, and she has been drug free for the past 9 years. Hypnosis was the only intervention, and no support network of any kind was available.
The use of hypnosis in cocaine addiction. Page RA, Handley GW, Ohio State University, Lima, OH USA 45804. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1993 Oct;36(2):120-3.
Study One: Six weeks after an ankle fracture, those in the hypnosis group showed the equivalent of eight and a half weeks of healing.
Study Two: Three groups of people studied after breast reduction surgery. Hypnosis group healed “significantly faster” than supportive attention group and control group.
Harvard Medical School, Carol Ginandes and Union Institute in Cincinnati, Patricia Brooks, Harvard University Gazette Online at http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2003/05.08/01-hypnosis.html.