Volume 14 (1+2) (2019) - Festschrift for Helga Hüsken-Janßen

Volume 14, Issue 1+2, October 2019, 272 pages

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

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Table of Contents and Abstracts


Walter Bongartz und Bärbel Bongartz 

The language of trance – the anthropological perspective 

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),9-43 

The article compares the structure of trance texts from 5 different traditional cultures (aborigenes/Australia, etc.) in order to determine the components of trance texts that are relevant for the utilization of trance. The intercultural comparison yielded a clear result: All selected trance texts had the same formal structure. They are composed of simple repetitions (up to 3 lines) and of multiple repetitions (around 7 lines, sometimes up to 60 lines and more). Lines without repetitions are rare. Both types of repetitions have different functions for the utilization of trance: Simple repetitions are used for constructing an „inner reality“. Within this „trance reality“ emotional-bodily experiences are deepened by multiple repetitions. The probable modes of action of simple and multiple repetitions are described. For modern hypnotherapy, especially multiple repetitions seem to be relevant because of their potential to enable deep trance states. 

Keywords: Trance, hypnosis, archaic patterns of trance language 


Eva-Maria Mende und Matthias Mende 

Utilzing animals in psychotherapy: The dog as co-therapist in the hypnotherapeutic treatment of trauma – A case report 

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),45-55 

This article outlines the present status of animal-assisted therapy research and describes the special communication and contact skills that qualify dogs among all animals to serve as co-therapists. A distinction is drawn between the general benefits dogs may have in therapy and the special psychotherapeutic assignments dogs can assume in a hypnotherapeutic setting. Describing the case of a traumatically bereaved patient, it is shown how the therapy dog is used to create a stable therapeutic alliance. The dog becomes a positive transference object facilitating ego-strengthening and re-accessing lost resources. It is described how the dog assists in hypnotherapeutic interventions to lower chronically raised psycho-physiological arousal, dissolve dissociative symptoms of derealization, and provide enough stability to confront and integrate the traumatic experience. As a consequence, a good balance between the basic emotional needs to feel autonomous, related, competent, and oriented can be reached. 

Keywords: hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, dogs, animal-assisted, therapeutic alliance, trauma, basic emotional needs. 


Joscha Reinhard 

Hypnotherapy in obstetrics. Studies on perinatal prevention and diagnosis 

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),57-91 

This review examines the current status of self-carried out hypnosis studies from 2007-2010 in obstetrics. Preliminary results prove that through hypnosis the stress response and immune reaction of the mother can be positively influenced to reduce the rate of premature labor. With the development of the fetal non-invasive electrocardiogram ECG reliable results of the reaction of the fetus in utero during hypnosis were studied. 

Keywords: Hypnosis, birth, pregnancy, pain, heart rate 


Burkhard Peter, Eva Böbel, Maria Hagl, Mario Richter and Miguel Kazén

Personality styles of German-speaking psychotherapists differ from a norm, and male psychotherapists differ from their female colleagues 

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),93-130

Variables pertaining to the person of the psychotherapist have been neglected in psychotherapy research for some time. Concerning personality in particular, however, research has mostly focused on its relation with the psychotherapist’s choice of method, or differences bet ween the various major therapy approaches. That is, psychotherapists were compared to each other without specifying how exactly psychotherapists are in comparison to “ordinary people.” We wanted to know: Are there specific personality styles that distinguish psychotherapists from the norm? A sample of 1,027 psychotherapists from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland filled out the short version of the Personality Style and Disorder Inventory (PSDI-S) via online survey. The PSDI-S is a self-report questionnaire that assesses 14 personality styles, partly related to the non-pathological equivalents of classifiable personality disorders. The psychotherapists were compared to a normative sample of 3,392 people of different professions. The results could be divided into three groups: (1) Large differences in four personality styles that might contribute to relationship skills and may enable psychotherapists to put their own personal opinion aside, show empathy and appreciation, open themselves to the emotional experience of the patient, and provide a trusting relationship. (2) Moderate differences in seven personality styles that are equally indicative of the professional social skills of the psychotherapists, i.e., they were neither submissive nor passive, not excessively helpful, but also not too self-assertive. (3) Hardly any or no differences regarding a charming (histrionic) style, optimism, and conscientiousness. Gender-specific results revealed that male psychotherapists differed from their female colleagues, but they did so differently than men and women in the normative sample do. The main limitations were that we relied on self-report and did not statistically control for gender, age, and education, when comparing to the norm. As a conclusion, German-speaking psychotherapists show personality styles that we interpret as functional for psychotherapeutic practice but this needs corroboration from studies that use different methods and measures. 

Keywords: Therapist variables, personality styles, PSDI, German-speaking psychotherapists, working alliance, therapist gender 


Martha Engelhardt, Cosma Leiner and Dirk Revenstorf

Effects of virtual reality hypnosis on trance depth in low- and high suggestible subjects: A feasibility study 

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),131-153

Creating images and "alternative realities" is important for the hypnotic trance (Peter, 2015). Low suggestible individuals need more exercise and therapeutic support to achieve a certain hypnotic depth. The technology of virtual reality (VR) could be a promising adjunct for the induction of a hypnotic trance. The present study compared the use of virtual reality (VR) hypnosis with the same non-VR audio hypnosis. The depth of trance and the suggestibility were measured in an experimental setting. The data of 35 low suggestible and 22 highly suggestible participants were analyzed. There was an interaction between suggestibility and hypnosis induction. The low suggestible subjects profited from VR hypnosis and achieved a deeper trance state than in audio hypnosis. The highly suggestible subjects showed no difference between the two hypnotic conditions. VR can thus be a promising supplement to hypnotherapy especially for low suggestible patients while considering the therapeutic relationship and hypnotic rapport. 

Keywords: hypnosis, hypnotherapy, virtual reality, suggestibility, depth of trance, trance 


Gunther Schmidt 

The „wizard“ Erickson – transgressor of borders, schocker, stimulator for enriching approaches 

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),155-188 

The relationship of the concepts of Milton H. Erickson with central existentially important life events in his biography is described for a better understanding of his development and his concepts. The context conditions of the time, in which he developed his concepts, are described, also the very contradictory positions against his concepts in the mainstream of his professional field. The enormous effort and achievement of Erickson is dignified to go for his thinking and his perspective in the role of a very often threatened outsider against intensive resistance and discounting nevertheless in a consequent and strategically very skillful way. It is shown how Erickson was a very meritful pioneer for many topics in theory and practice, and how he was in many ways decades in advance of the development of his time, not only in the field of hypnotherapy but also for concepts of resource-orientation, solution-, future- and competence-orientation in the fields of psychotherapy, counseling and also in organizational development and also in which different concepts his work has brought central impulses. 

Keywords: Milton H. Erickson, biographical aspects, life events, „wounded healer“, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, context and „Zeitgeist“, explorer and transgressor of borders, pioneering achievements, mastermind and mentor of resource- and competence-orientation, central basis of many other models, professional attitude. 



Maria Hagl 

Efficacy and effectiveness research in the field of clinical hypnosis in 2018 

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),189-208 

An annual literature search that is funded by the Milton Erickson Society of Clinical Hypnosis in Germany, revealed altogether twelve randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated clinical hypnosis in comparison to a control group and were newly published in 2018, as well as several meta-analyses that included primary studies with hypnosis as intervention. In three other RCTs, hypnosis was used in all study arms, and five RCTs evaluated interventions that combined hypnotherapeutic and other therapeutic approaches. In terms of clinical indications, hypnosis was most often used as adjunct to standard care to alleviate pain or distress related to medical procedures, or for managing chronic pain or other somatic symptoms. As in previous years, the number of studies evaluating clinical hypnosis is growing, as is the number of newly registered trials. However, almost one third of the RCTs published in 2018 are not reported in sufficient detail with regard to research methods and limitations. And since such shortcomings in reporting are more common in older studies that were published before the introduction of current reporting standards, they also limit the validity of results in the meta-analyses published in 2018. All in all, only a few reliable results could be added to the evidence base of clinical hypnosis. 

Keywords: Hypnosis, hypnotherapy, efficacy, effectiveness, psychotherapy research, randomized controlled trials, RCT, meta-analysis, review



Matthias Mende 

„If you choke, you will die!” Finding ways to defy a long lasting, utterly effective suggestion - A case report 

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),209-223 

Martin T., 53 years old, had incurred a work accident with a complete paraplegic syndrome four years before the start of this therapy. He had been suffering from a dissociative dysphagia ever since, forcing him to depend on a PEG tube to feed on. Neurological causes for the complete inability to swallow could be ruled out. The disorder most likely got started when doctors gave the insistent warning not to choke, because this might possibly end in a fatal pneumonia. The hypnotherapeutic work was directed at (1) appreciating the lifesaving intention and thoroughness of the inner safety hub which had been so reliable in preventing any swallowing, (2) to encourage this safety hub to assure itself that once again swallowing was a safe thing to do, (3) to resolve the motoric blockage of swallowing and reactivating the swallowing motor function and (4) to keep Mr. T. from intentional attempts to swallow by introducing a conscious/unconscious dissociation. After 30 sessions held in a period of 13 months the dysphagia was dissolved completely. The PEG tube could be removed as a consequence and Mr. T. was able to eat normally again. 

Keywords: Trauma, dissociative dysphagia, alarming medical suggestions, psychoeducation, inner safety hub, utilization, activating resources, hypnotherapeutic timing 


Charles Richet 

A case of long-distance somnambulism (1885)

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),227-229 

Charles Richet (1850-1935) was granted the Nobel prize for medicine in 1913, but his interest went beyond the natural scientific aspects of physiology and extended to hypnosis and related phenomena. Ellenberger (1985, p. 120) provides the example of his "rediscovery" of Puységur in 1884. Within the framework of his hypnosis studies, he showed an early interest in spiritualism and parapsychology. His devout belief in the authenticity of parapsychological experiences lead him to generously support Schrenck-Notzings’ (1912) experiments on mediumship in the beginning of the 20th century (Dierks, 2012). He coined the term "Ectoplasm" for the "materializations" that were produced by some mediums during their "Séances". The present "case of long-distance somnambulism" depicts just one fraction of his diversified interest as an inquiring scientist. For him, exoteric and esoteric research were not contradictory. Just as remarkable are his final conclusions, which nowadays in articles would be found in the section "limitations". (B. Peter; transl. C. Sheridan) 

Keywords: Charles Richet, somnambulism, long-distance hypnosis 



Henri-Étienne Beaunis 

A case of mental suggestion (1885)

Hypnose-ZHH 2019,14(1+2),230-231 

Henri-Étienne Beaunis (1830-1921), Professor for Medicine at the University of Strasbourg, was part of the extended circle of the school of Nancy (Bernheim & Liébeault). During the conflict with Charcot’s school of Salpêtrière in Paris, he actively vindicated their positions. In the present paper, he refrains from reporting one of his own cases, but rather presents a "case of a mental suggestion" by his venerated teacher Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault. (B. Peter; transl. C. Sheridan) 

Keywords: Beaunis, Liébeault, somnambulism, long-distance hypnosis, mental suggestion