Nuances and uncertainties regarding hypnotic inductions: Towards a theoretically informed praxis

Terhune, Devin Blair. 2016. Nuances and uncertainties regarding hypnotic inductions: Towards a theoretically informed praxis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 59(2), pp. 155-174. ISSN 0002-9157 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Although most definitions of hypnosis consider inductions as the initial stage in a hypnosis protocol, knowledge of inductions remains poor and uninformed by recent developments in theory and research. It is frequently argued that inductions play a critical role in hypnotic responding or, by contrast, are largely interchangeable and unimportant. Drawing on the literature on suggestibility, spontaneous phenomenology, neurophysiology, and cognition, this article argues that the value of inductions, as well as the potential value of inductions, is more nuanced and uncertain. Certain components of standard inductions appear to be efficacious in enhancing suggestibility, whereas others do not have any clear benefits. The impact of inductions on suggestibility seems to vary across suggestions and modes of assessment with the sources of this variability being unknown. Considering these effects, and the broader impact of inductions on spontaneous conscious states and cognition, through the lens of heterogeneity in high hypnotic suggestibility and componential models of hypnotic suggestibility may offer novel research avenues in this area. The article concludes by arguing for the practical and theory-driven optimization of inductions.

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Identification Number (DOI):


hypnosis; hypnotizability; induction; measurement; neurophenomenology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Timing, Awareness, and Suggestion Lab


2 September 2016Published
10 June 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

27 Feb 2017 12:55

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:24

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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