Psychedelics and hypnosis: Commonalities and therapeutic implications

Lemercier, C. and Terhune, Devin Blair. 2018. Psychedelics and hypnosis: Commonalities and therapeutic implications. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 32(7), pp. 732-740. ISSN 0269-8811 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Recent research on psychedelics and hypnosis demonstrates the value of both methods in the treatment of a range of psychopathologies with overlapping applications and neurophenomenological features. The potential of harnessing the power of suggestion to influence the phenomenological response to psychedelics toward more therapeutic action has remained unexplored in recent research and thereby warrants empirical attention.

Here we aim to elucidate the phenomenological and neurophysiological similarities and dissimilarities between psychedelic states and hypnosis in order to revisit how contemporary knowledge may inform their conjunct usage in psychotherapy.

We review recent advances in phenomenological and neurophysiological research on psychedelics and hypnosis and we summarize early investigations on the coupling of psychedelics and hypnosis in scientific and therapeutic contexts.

We highlight commonalities and differences between psychedelics and hypnosis that point to the potential efficacy of combining the two in psychotherapy. We propose multiple research paths for coupling these two phenomena at different stages in the preparation, acute phase, and follow-up of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in order to prepare, guide, and integrate the psychedelic experience with the aim of enhancing therapeutic outcomes.

Harnessing the power of suggestion to modulate response to psychedelics could enhance their therapeutic efficacy by helping to increase the likelihood of positive responses, including mystical type experiences.

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The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest.
DBT acknowledges the support of bursary 70/16 from the Bial Foundation.


consciousness; hypnosis; psychedelics; psychotherapy; suggestion;

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Timing, Awareness, and Suggestion Lab


14 May 2018Accepted
25 June 2018Published Online

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Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2018 09:56

Last Modified:

14 Jun 2021 16:54

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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