The role of hypnotizability and type of suggestion in the hypnotic assisted treatment of pervasive anxiety.
Sixty-eight patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder
were allocated to one of four groups to study how hypnotizability
(high versus low) and type of suggestion (direct versus indirect)
were related to treatment outcome. Patients were assessed on
three occasions (Pre-treatment; Post-treatment; and three month
Follow-up) using seven anxiety measures and one depression
inventory. The Creative Imagination Scale (CIS) was used to
assess susceptibility to hypnotic responding. Twenty Ss dropped
out prematurely due to both practical and treatment related
issues. Interestingly, dropouts were also found to have been
significantly more depressed than completers.
Patients were given six treatment sessions of hypnotherapy at
weekly intervals while the author remained blind to CIS scores.
Therapy focused on accessing S's unconscious abilities and
resources for symptom resolution, using either direct or indirect
suggestion. Patients were provided with self-hypnosis tapes for
anxiety reduction in between appointments.
Results indicated that completers significantly improved on all
dependent measures, but few differences emerged between the four
groups. Interestingly, highly hypnotizable patients who received
indirect suggestion relapsed slightly on all measures by the
Follow-up period, having improved from Pre- to Post-treatment.
Discussion is offered on the possible implications these results
have for the integrity of the independent variables, concluding
that both hypnotizability and type of suggestion have a
clinically significant interactive effect. Direct suggestion is
recommended for highly hypnotizable generalized anxiety disorder
clients, while both direct and indirect suggestion can be used
with low hypnotizables, as long as all are couched within
permissive language. Limitations of the present research are
discussed, along with recommendations for clinical practice and