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Is high hypnotic suggestibility necessary for successful hypnotic pain intervention?


Hypnotic suggestibility is a trait-like, individual difference variable reflecting the general tendency to respond to hypnosis and hypnotic suggestions. Research with standardized measures of hypnotic suggestibility has demonstrated that there are substantial individual differences in this variable. Higher suggestibility has been found to be associated with greater relief from hypnotic pain interventions. Although individuals in the high suggestibility range show the strongest response to hypnotic analgesia, people of medium suggestibility, who represent approximately one third of the population, also have been found to obtain significant relief from hypnosis. Thus, high hypnotic suggestibility is not necessary for successful hypnotic pain intervention. However, the available evidence does not support the efficacy of hypnotic pain interventions for people who fall in the low hypnotic suggestibility range. However, some studies suggest that these individuals may benefit from imaginative analgesia suggestions, or suggestions for pain reduction that are delivered while the person is not in hypnosis.

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Correspondence to Leonard S. Milling.

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Milling, L.S. Is high hypnotic suggestibility necessary for successful hypnotic pain intervention?. Current Science Inc 12, 98 (2008).

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  • Pain Reduction
  • Weighted Effect Size
  • Suggestibility Range
  • Hypnotic Suggestion
  • Hypnotic Susceptibility