Change in Subjective Experiences During Therapeutic Self-Hypnosis

  • R. Van Dyck
  • Ph. Spinhoven
  • J. Commandeur


Although imagery is a central element in many hypnotherapeutic and behavior modification procedures, relatively little is known about the process by which these imagery scenes operate.

This study is intended to identify some of the process variables that are relevant to the therapeutic outcome of hypnotic imagery. As the investigated procedure relies upon imagery alone, we are also interested in the occurrence of non-suggested changes on the cognitive level as related to the outcome of therapy.

The subjects were 5 phobic patients of low hypnotizability who were first trained in self-hypnosis and then were hypnotically reorientated towards an imaginary future scene at which their symptoms are to be alleviated. The patients were provided with a tape-recording of these sessions for further daily training at home.

Patients were asked to monitor several aspects of their practice sessions at home at at two points during the therapy period they were interviewed about their thoughts and experiences during the hypnotic imagery with the aid of a videotape of their hypnotherapy sessions.

A comparison of successful vs unsuccessful participants was carried out. Related to a successful outcome were the occurrence of self-initiated goal-directed fantasies as well as an unsuggested shift towards more rational cognitions about the phobia.


Subjective Experience Task Orientation Successful Patient Therapy Period Fear Survey 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Van Dyck
    • 1
  • Ph. Spinhoven
    • 1
  • J. Commandeur
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeidenOegstgeestHolland

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