Hypnosis & fears/phobias research
Phobias are widely considered to be the most treatable of the anxiety disorders. Results with hypnosis are good and Spiegel (2014) details recommendations for improving results further with innovative hypnotic techniques. Rapid results have been found with the hypnotic application of exposure-based treatments.
In a review of the literature by McGuinness (1984) it was concluded that hypnosis is:
“An effective and efficient adjunct in the treatment of phobias”
Research in 2013 by Iglesias & Iglesias demonstrated the effectiveness of systematic desensitisation and hypnosis in the treatment of a driving phobia. The patient was able to resume travel at the end of treatment and remained symptom free 6 months later.
Fear of flying is frequently treated using hypnotherapy with good results. A large study by Spiegel, et. al. (2014) involving 178 flying phobia patients found that hypnotizable patients were over two and one half times more likely to report some positive treatment impact than those who were found to be nonhypnotizable. Furthermore, a case report by Deyoub & Epstein (1977) found that hypnotic techniques produced good results in less sessions that behaviour therapy techniques. The authors argued that hypnotherapy was the treatment of choice of flight phobias.
Hypnotic treatment of dental anxiety and phobias has received significant clinical and empirical support (Rudolfa, et.al. (1990)). Anxiety in a dental setting appears to be related to patients anticipating pain and feeling vulnerable. Results suggest that hypnosis can contribute to reducing anxiety in the dental environment. Owens (1970) for example, reported in five case studies that:
“through the appropriate use of hypnosis, observable benefits can accrue to at least some dental patients in their ability to approach the dental situation and receive proper care.”
Whilst more research is needed, empirical and clinical evidence continues to support the value of hypnosis as a mechanism for reducing anxiety and alleviating symptoms in phobic patients.
Rodolfa, E.R., Kraft, W. & Reilley, R.R. (1990) Etiology and Treatment of Dental Anxiety and Phobia. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 33 , Iss. 1
Owens, H.E. (1970) Hypnosis and psychotherapy in dentistry five case histories. International Journal Of Clinical And Experimental Hypnosis Vol. 18 , Iss. 3
Iglesias, A. & and Iglesias, A. (2013) I-95 Phobia Treated With Hypnotic Systematic Desensitization: A Case Report. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 56 , Iss. 2
Gustavson, J.L. & Weight, D..G. (1981) Hypnotherapy for a Phobia of Slugs: A Case Report. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 23 , Iss. 4
Deyoub, P.L. & Epstein, S.J. (1977) Short-term Hypnotherapy for the Treatment of Flight Phobia: A Case Report. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 19 , Iss. 4
Rodolfa, E.R., Kraft, W. Reilley, R.R. (1990) Etiology and Treatment of Dental Anxiety and Phobia. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 33 , Iss. 1
Spiegel, D., Maruffi, B., Frischholz, E.J.& Spiegel, H. (2014) Hypnotic Responsivity and the Treatment of Flying Phobia. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 57 , Iss. 2