Theories of Hypnosis

Current Models and Perspectives

Edited by Steven Jay Lynn and Judith W. Rhue

October 4, 1991
ISBN 9780898623437
Price: $95.00
634 Pages
Size: 6⅛" x 9¼"

It has been said that “hypnosis is a collection of techniques in need of a unifying theory.” (James A. Hall, Hypnosis: A Jungian Perspective). While the varied substrates of these techniques preclude the formation of any one theory of hypnosis, this volume presents a “state-of-the-science” view of existing theories of hypnosis. Written by eminent scholars and researchers, this uniquely authoritative resource also provides a wealth of information about the history of hypnosis, clinical and research perspectives on hypnosis, and the strengths and weaknesses of empirical methods used to address crucial theoretical questions.

The streamlined organization of the volume facilitates the reader's ability to contrast and compare research findings and concepts across theories. In the introductory chapters, the editors describe hypnosis paradigms and schools of thought, including major points of convergence and divergence, as well as a broad vista of different perspectives on the history of hypnosis. The theoretical chapters that follow present definitive statements by an international array of eminent scholars who are at the forefront of conceptual advances in the realms of clinical and experimental hypnosis. Their contributions, written in lively first-person narratives, explore current thinking about hypnosis and represent important clinical and research traditions that extend beyond the territory of hypnosis to mainstream psychology.

Providing a thorough discussion of hypnotic phenomena, the book tackles tough questions such as whether hypnosis evokes an altered state of consciousness; whether hypnotic behavior is involuntary; whether hypnotizability is stable, trait-like, and modifiable; and whether hypnotic and non-hypnotic behavior can be distinguished in meaningful ways. The diversity of viewpoints, including competitive ones, illuminates the debates which have expanded the frontiers of knowledge about hypnosis. In the concluding section, the editors compare and contrast these theories, discuss pertinent research issues, and lay out an agenda for future research.

Given its stellar list of contributors and the unique niche it occupies as the first authoritative survey of its kind, THEORIES OF HYPNOSIS is of value to anyone interested in the topic. The editors' ten years of experience teaching hypnosis to psychology and medical students has resulted in a book with enormous appeal to students and instructors, as well as clinicians and researchers. A wide variety of professionals—academics, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, dentists—will find it an authoritative introduction and invaluable reference to this still-growing, ever-fascinating field.