So as it is the end of the week, the blog title probably seems a bit provocative, eh? But heck, if men really are from Mars and women really are from Venus, then perhaps their level of hypnotisability differs along with their originating planets?
Within the vast majority of early studies into this subject, examining if sex makes any difference to hypnotisability, most studies tended to suggest that women are in fact more hypnotisable than men. The most prominent study being that of big time contributor to the field of hypnosis Ernest Hilgard and his 1965 work Hypnotic Susceptibility.
However, over the years and with subsequent additional research, there has not been much to prove any real difference.
As a result of his own studies, in his 2000 work entitled The Practice of Hypnotism, Weitzenhoffer states that the results of the studies on this topic have been interpreted in a variety of ways and though in general research suggested women were more hypnotisable, it was by a very small margin. As such Weitzenhoffer states that most researchers reject notions of there being any difference between the sexes when it come to hypnotisability.
I would not want hypnotherapists to therefore ignore the importance of understanding the gender of their client when it comes to being in therapy however. There are other research findings pertaining to particular interventions used in therapy and responses to presenting issues and conditions experienced that in fact show differences between men and women in how they react, feel, and behave. This is highlighted in the 1997 paper featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Waalen entitled Women in medicine: Bringing gender issues to the fore.
In more recent times, gender differences have been examined in more depth in relation to hypnotic procedures and interventions, in particular within the work of Kay Thompson who studied and worked alongside Milton Erickson and William Kroger, both of whom have contributed greatly to the field of hypnotherapy.
Within most of the work by Thompson and other authors related to gender differences in clinical hypnosis, hypnotherapists are encouraged to note their use of language, their manner and the way they communicate certain concepts to accommodate gender differences… But heck, as a qualified hypnotherapist, you’d be doing that anyway, regardless of gender, wouldn’t you?
As far as hypnotisability goes though, there seems to be very little in it. We’ll call it a draw and keep everyone happy, shall we?