In another hypnosis related blog that I follow, I noticed the author mention some amazing statistics about the efficacy of hypnotherapy according to a study conducted by Dr Alfred Barrios.

So I went and investigated this study before mentioning it myself. I searched through many scholarly archives and could not find the actual original citing of the article…

As I googled and explored, I noticed that many, many hypnotherapists were using these amazing statistics and figures on their websites, quoting Barrios to display the effectiveness of hypnotherapy.  Yet it was tough to find the original source and copy of the study.

The study was (and still is) a review of psychotherapy literature by Dr Barrios, which was published in 1970 and originally featured in the The Psychotherapy Journal of the American Psychiatric Association which showed some impressive findings indeed.

After surveying over 2000 journal articles, Dr. Alfred Barrios came up with the following recovery rates:

Type of therapy                        Recovery rates                          Number of sessions

Hypnotherapy                                    93%                                                       6
Behavior therapy                               72%                                                     22
Psychoanalysis                                 38%                                                    600

It is important to remember that these are average numbers and should not really be interpreted to suggest that any condition can be helped in 6 hypnotherapy sessions. Indeed, some would be overcome in a great deal less time and likewise, some may require more.

To summarise; in this review article, Dr Barrios pointed out that the average success rate for hypnotherapy was 93% after an average of 6 sessions. This was compared to a 38% success rate after an average of 600 sessions for psychoanalysis and 72% after 22 sessions for behavior therapy.

If you’d like to diligently review the article word for word and see how it was conducted you can read it in full at Dr Barrios’s own website where he has the article featured for all to read entitled Hypnotherapy: A Reappraisal.

Some of the hardened evidence based hypnotherapists may not think it bears up to modern scrutiny, but it makes for interesting reading bearing in mind it is 40 years old now and much has changed in that time alone.

It does amaze me though how many websites mention the figures without quoting the study or giving it any robust examination… Some even do not quote anything other than the sensational figures… Hmmm… Maybe I should stop thinking so critically and go and amend my hypnotherapy consultation page with the addition of these figures…. Is a 1970 review still pertinent today?

Will be back briefly tomorrow before heading out to New York in the afternoon…