In the summer of this year, I was given a brilliant handout by Donald Robertson based upon a review published by David M. Wark, as cited in his paper that featured in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, July 2008. The paper, entitled ‘What we can do with hypnosis: a brief note’, reviewed some of the important pieces of research in the field of hypnotherapy.

For those of you that are hypnotherapists, students of hypnotherapy, or have an interestin and are exploring the field of hypnotherapy, this is some truly marvellous information to give you some pointers when seeking out empirically supported evidence in the field of hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy Research

You can track down these pieces of research at the various research websites online to examine them further. The full references can be found in Wark’s paper along with the full criteria of the results shown, but here is it all in a nutshell:

Target Disorder Note Source
Acute pain (adult)                          See Patterson and Jensen, 2003      (Patterson & Jensen, 2003)
for a greater summary of findings

Acute pain (children)                   Hypnosis > distraction for                   (Zeltzer & LaBaron, 1982)
bone marrow aspiration

Anorexia                                           Staged treatment with hypnosis >     (Baker & Nash, 1987)
same without hypnosis

Anxiety about asthma                Hypnosis reduces anxiety about         (Brown, 2007)
attack asthma attacks

Anxiety about public                  Hypnosis reduces fear > CBT                (Schoenberger, Kirsch, Gearan,
speaking                                                                                                                      Montgomery, & Pastyrnak, S.L.,

Anxiety about taking a test       Self-hypnosis reduces test anxiety >      (Stanton, 1994)
discussion control

Asthma                                               Hypnosis > attention control                   (Ewer & Stewart, 1986)

Bed wetting                                       Suggestion with or without                      (Edwards & Van der Spuy,                                                                hypnosis > wait list control                            1985)

Bulmia                                                  Hypnosis = CBT > wait list control        (Griffiths, Hadzi Pavlovic &
Channon Little, 1996)

Cancer pain                                      Hypnosis reduces cancer pain                (Syrjala, Cummings &
Donaldson, 1992)

Chemotherapy distress              Hypnosis > conversation + antiemetic (Jacknow, Tschann, Link &
medication Boyce, 1994)

Cystic fibrosis                                 Self-hypnosis > wait list control                 (Belsky & Khanna, 1994)

Depression                                       Hypnosis adds to CBT effect                         (Alladin & Alibhai, 2007)
treating depression

Distress during surgery             Hypnosis reduces anxiety and pain >      (Lang, Berbaum, Faintuck,
controls                                                              Hatsiopoulou, Halsey, Li et al,

Hemorrhage                             Preoperative suggestion reduces                    (Enqvist, von Konow &
blood flow                                                                  Bystedt, 1995)

High blood pressure              Hypnosis > wait list control to                           (Gay, 2007)
lower BP long term

Hip or knee osteoarthritis     Hypnosis = relaxation > wait list              (Gay,Philippot  &                                                            pain control                                                           Luminet,  2002)

Insomnia without medical     Hypnosis + CBT > medication                   (Graci & Hardie, 2007)
source                                                                    long term

Irritable bowel syndrome        Hypnosis > psychotherapy for   (Whorwell, Prior & Faragher, 1984)
symptom reduction

Nausea and hyperemesis        “Relaxation” (similar to hypnosis) >      (Lyles, Burish, Krozely &
control                                                         Oldham, 1982)

Obstetrics pain                             Hypnosis shortens labor and reduces     (Jenkins & Prichard, 1933)
analgesic use

Surgery pain (Adult)                Self-hypnosis reduces drug use >       (Lang, Joyce, Spiegel, Hamilton
attention control                                         & Lee, 1996)

Surgery pain (Child)                       Hypnosis reduces pain and hospital                 (Lambert, 1996)
time > control

Trauma recovery                              Desensitization = hypnosis =           (Brom, Kleber & Defares, 1989)
psychodynamic > control

Wart Removal                     Suggestion with or without hypnosis > (Spanos, Williams & Gwynn, 1990)
control or medication

So there are one or two pieces of full-on evidence and research to suggest hypnotherapy really is an empirically-supported treatment, eh?