Hypnosis & habit/addiction research


More scientific research is needed to show how effective hypnosis can be for treating habits and addictions. However, a number of case-studies suggest that hypnosis produces good results in this area.

For example, Grayson (2012) reported that a hypnotic intervention enabled a 7-year old girl to end her dependence on thumb sucking in 1 session. Whilst Zalsman, et. al. (2001) reported in several case-studies that imaginative techniques were likely to be effective in adolescents with trichotillomania.

Metaphorical techniques are frequently used in the hypnotic treatment of habits. A paper by Gindhart (1981) in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis found that the use of metaphor in trance was particularly effective for a woman wishing to overcome childish habits and act more maturely.

In the past hypnosis was considered a viable treatment approach for addictions. Then, because of associations with stage entertainment it became unpopular. However, in recent years it has started to make a comeback in the treatment of substance abuse. Potter (2004), for example, reported a 77% success rate in the treatment of 18 clients with addictions. Further evidence reported by Page and Handley (1993) demonstrated how a woman with a 5g/day cocaine addiction was able to successfully quit using self-hypnosis. A follow up 9 years later found that she was still drug-free.

Pekala et al (2004) also reported that self-hypnosis appeared to offer significant benefits for chronic drug and alcohol users. Not only were users able to abstain from alcohol and drugs but they reported improvements in self-esteem.

A study by Clarke and Reynolds (1991) on the use of hypnosis for bruxism (teeth grinding) reported good results, however, the authors suggested that more research on the subject is needed. 



Clarke, J.H and Reynolds, P.J. (1991) Suggestive Hypnotherapy for Nocturnal Bruxism: A Pilot Study. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 33 , Iss. 4

Gindhart, L.R. (1981) The Use of a Metaphoric Story in Therapy: A Case Report. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 23 , Iss. 3,1981

Grayson, D. N. (2012) Hypnotic Intervention in a 7-Year-Old Thumbsucker: A Case Study. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 54 , Iss. 3

Page, R.A. and Handley, G.W. (1993) The Use of Hypnosis in Cocaine Addiction. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 36 , Iss. 2

Pekala, R.JMaurer, R., Kumar, V. K., Elliott, N.C., Masten, E., Moon, E. and Salinger, M (2004) Self-Hypnosis Relapse Prevention Training with Chronic Drug/Alcohol Users: Effects on Self-Esteem, Affect, and Relapse. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 46 , Iss. 4

Potter, G. (2004) Intensive Therapy: Utilizing Hypnosis in the Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 47 , Iss. 1

Zalsman, G., Hermesh, H. and Sever, J. (2001) Hypnotherapy in Adolescents with Trichotillomania: Three Cases. American Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis Vol. 44 , Iss. 1