Hypnosis Defined

In the past I have used a practical definition of Hypnosis that my clients could understand and follow.

My definition that I have used for years may be appropriate for one-on-one use, but when marketing Hypnosis as a treatment modality perhaps Definition 1 is slightly more acceptable as described in an article entitled Interest and Attitudes About Hypnosis in a Large Community Sample by (Guy H. Montgomery, Madalina Sucala, Matthew J. Dillon, and Julie B. Schnur Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)

Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice

© 2017 American Psychological Association

2018, Vol. 5, No. 2, 212–220



Definition 1:

Hypnosis is an agreement between a person designated as the hypnotist and a person designated as the client or patient to participate in a psychotherapeutic technique based on the hypnotist providing suggestions for changes in sensation, perception, cognition, affect, mood, or behavior (Montgomery et al., 2010).

Definition 2:

Hypnosis is a state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion (Elkins, Barabasz, Council,& Spiegel, 2015).


Elkins, G. R., Barabasz, A. F., Council, J. R., & Spiegel, D. (2015). Advancing research and practice: The revised APA Division 30 definition of hypnosis. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 63, 1–9. http://dx.doi.org/



Montgomery, G. H., Hallquist, M. N., Schnur, J. B. David, D., Silverstein, J. H., & Bovbjerg, D. H. (2010). Mediators of a brief hypnosis intervention to control side effects in breast surgery patients: Response expectancies and emotional distress.

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 80–88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0017392





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