An empirical test of the relative efficacy of traditional and Ericksonian hypnotic procedures

Albina M Tamalonis, Pace University


Researchers have investigated the effect of direct and indirect hypnotic procedures upon performance on various physiological and psychological tests. None has examined the effects of these procedures upon increasing skin temperature or improving memory of visual stimuli. In this study the relative efficacy of Traditional and Ericksonian hypnotic induction, deepening, and suggestion procedures upon increasing skin temperature and improving visual memory were explored, using high to low susceptible subjects under standardized conditions.^ Eighty female subjects were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental groups: Taped Traditional Hypnosis (TH), in which subject's trance was induced by a direct method adapted from the Stanford scale, deepening accomplished by "counting down" method; Taped Ericksonian Hypnosis (EH), in which subject's trance was induced by an indirect method adapted from Erickson's Hypnotic Realties (1976), with my addition of visual, auditory or kinesthetic individualizations, deepening accomplished by Erickson's method (1952); Live Ericksonian Hypnosis (LEH), with same induction and deepening procedures as in the EH group except both were induced live; Control Group (CG), in which subjects worked on cognitive tasks. Prior to the start of the experiment, the participant's hypnotizability was determined by the Stanford Hypnotizability Scale, Form A. Readings of finger skin temperatures were recorded during the baseline, induction and suggestion phases of the experiment. The subjects then learned the procedure for a visual memory task which consisted of remembering details of surrealistic slides. Following this, participants re-entered trance, deepened trance, and were given suggestions to aid their performance. Descriptions of the slides were recorded and accuracy was tabulated.^ The skin temperatures only showed a main effect for time $(p>.001).$ These results are discussed in terms of research limitations of skin temperature data. The average percent correct of details recalled was significantly greater $(p>.05)$ in the EH and LEH than that in the TH and CG groups. These results are discussed in terms of how individualizing the trance and accessing prior experience increases the power of the technique. Directions for further research and implications for more effective hypnosis were discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Experimental|Psychology, Physiological

Recommended Citation

Albina M Tamalonis, "An empirical test of the relative efficacy of traditional and Ericksonian hypnotic procedures" (January 1, 1990). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI9718522.



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