Volume 6, double-issue 1+2, October 2011, 240 Pages

of the journal Hypnose - Zeitschrift für Hypnose und Hypnotherapie (Hypnose-ZHH)

Table of Contents

  • Petra Netter und Burkhard Peter
    In Memoriam Vladimir Gheorghiu
  • Irving Kirsch, Etzel Cardeña, Stuart Derbyshire, Zoltan Dienes, Michael Heap, Sakari Kallio, Giuliana Mazzoni, Peter Naish, David Oakley, Catherine Potter, Val Walters und Matthew Whalley
    Definitions of Hypnosis and Hypnotizability and their Relation to Suggestion and Suggesitibility: A Consensus Statement
  • Petra Netter
    Placebo, a special case of suggestion
  • Günter Molz
    Suggestion and suggestibility in applied cognition research: cognitive illusions, market psychology, and terrorism
  • Jochen Haisch
    The suggestive creation and reduction of cognitive dissonance
  • Ernil Hansen
    Negative suggestions in medicine
  • Gunnar Neubert und Karin Meissner
    Specific effects of hetero-suggestions in trance on skin temperature
  • Vilfredo de Pascalis
    Suggestion and suggestibility as regulators of human functioning: cognitive and personality aspects
  • Dirk Revenstorf
    Damage by hypnosis
  • Andrea Beetz und Alexander von Delhaes
    Forensic hypnosis. The use of hypnosis in support of witness’ memory during police investigation
  • Angelika Schlarb und Marco D. Gulewitsch
    When the sandman comes. Does hypnotherapy work with children suffering from sleep disoders?
  • Eberhard Brunier
    “I pi i be“ and/or „When is enough ehough?“ A case report
  • Hesselbacher Colloquium 2009: Paul Janouch
    „Weisst du wie das wird?“ Die Musik als Medium des Unbewussten im „Ring des Nibelungen“ von Richard Wagner
  • Hansjörg Ebell
    The Heidelberg Hypnosis Trial 1936. A woman under hypnotic influence for seven years. A case of ruthless exploitation being discovered? Part 3

Abstracts & Download (German Originals)

Irving Kirsch, University of Hull, Etzel Cardeña, Lund University, Stuart Derbyshire, University of Birmingham, Zoltan Dienes, University of Sussex, Michael Heap, University of Sheffield, Sakari Kallio, University of Skövde, Giuliana Mazzoni, University of Hull, Peter Naish, Open University, David Oakley, University College London, Catherine Potter, University of Leeds, Val Walters, University College London, Matthew Whalley, University College London

Definitions of Hypnosis and Hypnotizability and their Relation to Suggestion and Suggesitibility: A Consensus Statement
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 11-21

This paper reports a consensus that was reached at an Advanced Workshop in Experi­men­tal Hypnosis held as part of the joint annual conference of the British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis (BSMDH) and the British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis (BSECH). The unanimous consensus was that conventional definitions of hypnosis and hypnotizability are logically inconsistent and that at least one of them needed to be changed.  Participants were divided between the alternatives of 1) broadening the operational definition of hypnosis so as to include responding to so-called waking suggestion and 2) limiting the term ‘hypnotizability’ to the effects of administering a hypnotic induction.

Keywords: hypnosis, hypnotizability, suggestion, suggestability, consensus

Petra Netter, University of Giessen

Placebo, a special case of suggestion
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 23-37

Aim: The aim of this contribution is to demonstrate the specific suggestive elements in­vol­ved in placebo effects.

Development: After a short introduction listing applications of placebos, experimental examples will be given for the components involved in placebo effects all of which are also relevant in non-placebo induced processes of suggestion. These concern the information given along with a placebo, the setting, the personality of the person treated, the type of response investigated, the methodology of assessment und course of action. It is emphasized that no general predictors of placebo responses can be identified, but that interactions between information, setting, type of response measured, and personality of the respondent will be responsible for the specific placebo effect investigated. Moreover, the mechanisms of action are discussed all of which are also involved in non-placebo suggestions. The major ones of these are.: Release of endorphins, conditioning, induced expectations, and neuronal pro­ces­ses involved in motivation and emotion processing. An experiment is presented suitable to solve the controversy between conditioning and expectation theories by demonstrating the specificity of conditioning processes for unconscious physiological responses and of mainly expectations responsible for conscious physiological processes. Furthermore, the representation of conditioning and expectations in neuronal activities are briefly presented and a neuroimaging study is presented demonstrating that placebo responses are mediated by the same biochemical and neurophysiological mechanisms and brain areas observed in incentive motivation and emotion processing conditions.

Conclusion: Thus the placebo effect may be regarded as a special case of processing positive emotions and reward oriented motivations. This view can be transferred to general non-placebo related research on suggestions and demonstrates that placebo is not only a special case of suggestive processes, but that suggestions may be regarded as examples of general emotion processing and incentive motivation

Keywords: Suggestion placebo, endorphins, conditioning expectation theory, emotion processing

Günter Molz, Bergische University of Wuppertal

Suggestion and suggestibility in applied cognition research: cognitive illusions, market psychology, and terrorism
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 39-50

Theme: The relevance of the concepts of suggestion and suggestibility for research on cognitive illusions is discussed. The central claim is that suggestion and suggestibility are focal concepts for the description and explanation of the cognitive illusions identified in research.

Development of the theme: Starting point is Gheorghiu’s thesis that cognitive illusions result from coping with illusions shaped by suggestions and suggestible processes. This claim is discussed in regard to two issues. Firstly – as for fundamental research - the adaptive influence of suggestions on human judgement, thinking and memory in general is emphasized. Secondly, another section discusses the relevance of suggestive influence within the field of applied research. Exemplary demonstrations are provided for the fields of market psychology and the psychology of terrorism. In regard to these two domains it is shown (1) that human behaviour and experiences are influenced by cognitive illusions and (2) that - in accordance with Gheorghiu’s assumptions - these influences can be regarded as a matter of different mechanisms concerning coping with illusions.

Conclusions: The final conclusion of these discussions is that Gheorghiu’s thesis stating that the concepts of suggestion and suggestibility are universally valid across the psychology of cognitive illusions is well-founded.

Keywords: suggestion, suggestibility, market psychology, terrorism

Jochen Haisch, University of Ulm

The suggestive creation and reduction of cognitive dissonance
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 51-63

Major theme: Gheorghiu stresses decision uncertainty as a basis for suggestion.

Development of the theme: Cognitive dissonance imposes decision uncertainty on the person and, consequently, is a basis for suggestion. In detail, the reduction of cognitive dissonance offers a way for suggestions like distorted evaluation of information, attitude change or behaviour change. On the other hand, suggestions are applicable in the creation of cognitive dissonance, as for example in “dissonance-shaping”.

Authors point of view and implications: Both ways of the application of suggestions, the creation and the reduction of cognitive dissonance, are reported on the basis of the theory of cognitive dissonance. Finally, an explanation of  suggestive measures in “Energetic Psychotherapy” is offered on the basis of cognitive dis­sonance.

Keywords: suggestion, cognitive dissonance, dissonance creation, dissonance reduction

Ernil Hansen, University of Regensburg

Negative suggestions in medicine
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 65-81

Major theme: Negative suggestions are wide spread in the medical setting. They interfere with medical treatment and cause harm to the patient. Good will per se is not enough to avoid them, only a good therapeutic relastionship can avoid them.

Development: A medical treatment poses an extreme situation for many patients driving them into a natural trance state. This is accompanied by a focussed alertness for signals and informations to be refered to himself, and by an increased suggestibility. The high openness for uptake and action of suggestions renders patients prone to negative suggestions ubiquitous in the medical environment, most often inadvertently.

Examples: Negative suggestions, in part due to the altered conciousness, derive from the medical systeme, the inefficacy of negations and reductions, the high effectivity of strong words and images, negative expectations and conditioning (nocebo ef­fect), doubtful expressions, misinformations, lies, discrepant levels of communication, ambi­gu­ous connotations, misunderstandings, medical lingo, direct and indirect negative suggestions, informed consent, nonverbal suggestions in the medical surroundings, fears and self-interests of the provider, decreed passivity, lack of care and company, and self-protection mechanisms of visitors.

Implications: Knowledge and recognition of negative suggestions are the basis for their avoidance, or for their neutralization once apperent, respectively. The elevated suggestibility can also be used to place positive suggestions against anxiety and pain and for encouragement and stimulation of patient`s own resources. The training of these skills should become part of medical education.

Keywords: Suggestions, negative suggestions, communication, nocebo effect, medical treatment

Gunnar Neubert and Karin Meissner, Ludwig-Maximilians and Technical University of Munich and University of Rostock

Specific effects of hetero-suggestions in trance on skin temperature
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 83-108

Purpose: The study examined the effects of warmth and cold suggestions on the skin temperature of hands and forearms and explored the anatomic specificity of the effects.

Methodology: Thirty healthy volunteers, skilled in autogenic training (AT), participated in a 5-phase experiment: Rest 1, AT, unspecific hetero-suggestions to deepen trance (USugg), specific hetero-suggestions to alter hand temperature (SSugg), and rest 2. Group 1 (n=15) received SSugg to warm up the dominant hand, while Group 2 (n=15) received SSugg to warm up the dominant hand and simultaneously cool down the non-dominant hand. Skin temperature of the middle fingers and forearms was continuously measured.

Results: Comparison of the mean temperature between USugg and SSugg revealed a significant increase of the finger temperature of the dominant and non-dominant hand in Group 1 (p = 0,041 and p = 0,011, respectively), while in Group 2 the temperature difference between the forearms increased significantly in the suggested direction (p = 0,035). In Group 1, the increase in hand temperature correlated positively with perceived efficacy of the AT formula “my right hand is warm” (r = 0,489, p = 0,064) as well as with scores of the Tellegen Absorption Scale (r = 0.463, p = 0,082). In Group 2, the increase in forearm temperature difference correlated positively with the AT-training history of the participants (r = 0,693, p = 0,006).

Conclusion: Temperature patterns developed differently in Group 1 and Group 2, suggesting specific effects of SSugg on peripheral temperature regulation. Furthermore, regular practice of AT appears to enhance the capability of modulating temperature control in a specific direction.

Keywords: hetero-suggestions, skin temperature, autonomic control, specificity, trance

Vilfredo de Pascalis, “La Sapienza” University of Rome

Suggestion and suggestibility as regulators of human functioning: cognitive and personality aspects
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 109-140

Theme: Studies conducted within the framework of the self-organization theory have provided experimental evidence that individual differences in suggestibility and suggestive phenomena play a regulatory function of sensory perception and feeling.

Development of the theme: A selected series of our studies are reviewed demonstrating that: (a) sensory suggestibility is tightly interconnected with perceptual instability, and 40-Hz EEG activity is sensitive to individual differences in suggestibility; (b) individual differences in suggestibility and expectancy for drug efficacy are mediators of placebo analgesia. (c) Findings obtained using an acoustic signal detection task indicate that highly suggestible individuals, as a consequence of a delivered indirect suggestion, “detected” a greater number of undelivered acoustic stimuli than low suggestible individuals. Results from our studies demonstrate that individual differences in suggestibility may account for this aspect of inner systemic instability and the effect of suggestion as dissociation represent an adaptive solution to this instability. In another study (d) correlation analysis among warmth suggestibility, hypnotic susceptibility (SHSS:C and HGSHS:A), expectancy, motivation and personality subdimensions of absorption, dissociation, and schizotypy highlighted the multi componential dimensionality of suggestibility. Findings evidenced a weak relationship between warmth suggestibility and personality variables, although aesthetic involvement in nature, a facet of absorption, accounted for about 14% of the total variance. The best predictor of warmth suggestibility and hypnotizability was response expectancy.

Conclusions: It is argued that individual differences in suggestibility and suggestive phenomena are an aspect of our natural capacity, and that they have a specific adaptive value in many psychological functions as such as regulatory function of sensory perception and feeling. The multidimensionality of suggestibility and the difficulty of defining this dimension in terms of other related personality components is outlinded, and some correlational data showing the multicomponential dimensionality of suggestibility are provided.

Keywords : Suggestion; Suggestibility; multistable perception; expectancy; absorption; dissociation

Dirk Revenstorf, University of Tübingen

Damage by hypnosis
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 141-164

Background: Hypnosis has been discussed controversially as being basically benign or potentially dangerous. The basis of possible damage by hypnosis is assumed to be an inhibition of specific regions of the prefrontal cortex.

Development: Three mechanisms are hypothesized for the bizarre behaviors accompanied by damage to self and others: nonverbal exculpation, pathological collusion and archaic regression.

Author's point of view: It is being discussed which part context and personality take in phenomena like spinelessness, seduction, and criminal incitement and to what extent hypnotic trance is responsible.

Implications: Lay hypnosis is seen to be problematic in principle, since lay operators mostly lack the necessary clinical knowledge about hypnosis. The augmented suggestibility and the special quality of the hypnotic relationship make necessary considerations about the balance between direct influence of the hypnotist and self-organization within the client, that go beyond common therapy.

Keywords: hypnosis, crime, stage, misuse

Andrea M. Beetz and Alexander von Delhaes

Forensic hypnosis. The use of hypnosis in support of witness’ memory during police investigation
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 165-187

Theme: Forensic hypnosis means the use of hypnosis as part of police investigation. The aim is to enhance the memory of a witness regarding perceptions relevant to a criminal investigation. Forensic hypnosis is employed with increasing frequency in Germany, even though its legal aspects and admissibility in court are controversially discussed.

Development of the theme: Hypnotic trance promotes a state of relaxed concentration on a specific memory. It can lead to more details or enable memory after removing mental blockades, in particular when compared to conventional interrogation by the police. However, hypnosis is also more likely to produce more false memory details. This needs to be taken into account and to  be critically discussed.

Author´s point of view: On the basis of case descriptions and research, the authors argue  that forensic hypnosis is a useful instrument for criminal investigation when paying attention to the possible risks of this technique. They describe in what kind of cases forensic hypnosis can be applied and what kind of preconditions regarding the case, the witness, the hypnotherapist, and the setting need to be met. Further, well established proceedings and hypnotic techniques are presented.

Implications: Research on the direct use of forensic hypnosis for criminal investigation is difficult to conduct. However, practical experiences show that forensic hypnosis for supporting a witness’ memory can aid police investigation. Its controversial legal status in Germany requires further interdisciplinary discussion.

Keywords: forensic hypnosis, memory, witness, interrogation, police investigation

Angelika A. Schlarb and Marco D. Gulewitsch, University of Tübingen

When the sandman comes. Does hypnotherapy work with children suffering from sleep disoders?
Hypnose-ZHH, 2010, 5(1+2), 189-198

Background: Sleep disorders in childhood are common. Sleep difficulties of children are often associated with sleep related anxieties. This paper presents an overview of published articles about hypnotherapeutic treatment of sleep disorders, especially of insomnia, in childhood and adolescence.

Methods: A literature research in DIMDI, Medline und PsycINFO, psycnet and Google Scholar based on the keywords „child sleep disorder, hypnotherapy, hypnosis, insomnia in childhood, insomnia in adolescence, Hypnotherapie, kindliche Schlaf­stö­run­gen, Insomnie im Kindesalter, Schlafstörungen im Kindesalter, Schlafstörungen im Ju­gend­al­ter, Hypnose“ was conducted. All publications which represented the topic appropriately were involved.

Results: Nine studies were found which describe hypnosis or hypnotherapy as treatment for sleep disorders in childhood. All of them reported considerably changes or even remission.

Discussion: Despite positive single case studies, structured hypnotherapeutic concepts which should be explored on larger sample sizes of children suffering from sleep disorders are necessary. Controlled studies for comparing hypnotherapeutic treatments with other treatments or standard medical care were not conducted yet. These research projects should be developed and realised.

Keywords: hypnotherapy, childhood sleep disorder, insomnia in childhood, sleep disorders in childhood, sleep disorders in adolescence, hypnosis

Eberhard Brunier, Mainz

“I pi i be“ and/or „When is enough ehough?“ A case report
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 199-202

Patrick (12 years), an enuretic, gets a chance to stop his bedwetting by himself. With the help of a “magic” drum he develops a sufficient depth of trance. In a state of self-hypnosis, and with the help of his uncoscious mind he achieves a solution in order to free himself from the “pi i be” (“piss in bed”). In a closing ritual he can develop himself to his future.

Keywords: enuresis, selfhypnosis, shaman-drum

Paul Janouch, Bad Salzuflen

„Do you know what will befall?“ – Music as medium of the unconscious in Richard Wagner’s „Ring des Nibelungen“
Hypnose-ZHH, 2011, 6(1+2), 203-218

Proposition: Richard Wagner was not just a composer of great importance but also a brilliant psychologist.

Elaboration and author’s point of view: In a novel it is the role of the narrator, to describe the mental state of the protagonists, relationships between characters or dramatic developments and connections. With Wagner the music – the „all knowing orchestra“ - takes on these functions. This medium communicates to the audience essential information about the un­conscious of the characters. Thus it lets the audience hear difficult subtexts, which cannot be communicated by language.

Conclusion: The eternal „truth“ in Wagner’s operas is grounded mainly in their psychology. This is what captivates audiences until today. Despite it’s immense length and demands on stage direction, orchestra and performers at present Wag­ner’s „Ring“ is staged with noticeable frequency.

Keywords: Richard Wagner, music, unconscious