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Keywords:

  • hypnosis;
  • hypnotizability;
  • anxiety;
  • relaxation;
  • self-hypnosis;
  • treatment efficacy

Abstract

The outcome and process of treating subclinical anxiety with self-hypnosis and relaxation were compared. Twenty individuals who presented for treatment for ‘stress, anxiety, and worry’ were assessed (for anxiety and self-hypnotizability), exposed to a 28-day treatment programme (which involved daily measures of outcome and process variables), and re-assessed (for anxiety). It was found that both self-hypnosis and relaxation alleviated anxiety pre- to post-treatment. Although there was no difference in the outcome data, throughout treatment self-hypnosis rather than relaxation was associated with a greater sense of treatment efficacy and expectation and with a greater sense of cognitive and physical change. The findings are discussed in terms of the expectational and experiential aspects of self-hypnosis, and their potential role in the perception, progress and impact of using self-hypnosis in therapy. Copyright © 1999 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis