Hypnosis & performance research


Baker et al (2009) found that hypnosis had a beneficial effect on exam anxiety in randomised control trials. Whilst it was suggested that more research was needed results indicated that there was a “statistically significant” reduction in exam related anxiety. Research by Ainsworth et al (2010) proposed a full-scale randomised trial and preliminary reports suggested that almost all those in the trial group who received hypnotherapy reported that they found it helpful.

Meanwhile Wark (2011) reported that 

“In laboratory research, hypnotic suggestions have increased simple learning performance”

In addition he reported that certain hypnotic techniques could:

“significantly increase reading comprehension and academic performance”

Research showing the resolution of a driving phobia was reported by Iglesias & Iglesias (2013), whilst a number of case-studies have shown an increase in performance following self-hypnosis in test situations.

With respect to enhancing public speaking performance Schoenberger et al (1997) reported that using hypnosis was even more effect than cognitive behavioural treatment. Whilst individuals receiving both treatments improved, better results were reported with hypnosis because it:

“generated expectancies for greater change among participants”

Further research on the value of hypnosis in enhancing confidence & self esteem can be found it our self-esteem research pages.



Ainsworth, H.R., Torgerson, D.J., Torgerson, C.J., Bene, J., Grant, C., Ford, S. and Watt, I.  (2010) The effect of hypnotherapy on exam anxiety and exam performance: a pilot randomised controlled trial. Effective Education Vol. 2 , Iss. 2

Baker, J., Ainsworth, H., Torgerson, C. and Torgerson, D. (2009) A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomised controlled trials evaluating the effect of hypnosis on exam anxiety. Effective Education Vol. 1 , Iss. 1

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

Schoenberger, N.E., Kirsch, I., Gearan, P., Montgomery, G. & Pastyrnak, S.L. (1997) Behavior Therapy: Volume 28, Issue 1 pp127–140


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