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 Hypnosis General Discussion
 Arguments for the reality of hypnosis, the placebo
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3 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2010 :  1:04:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ok, so I've been doing a project on the reality of hypnosis. One of the biggest and most secure arguments i've come across going against hypnosis is the placebo effect, people saying hypnosis works like a placebo. Essentially you think that hypnotherapy will work for you, so it does. Various experiments have been done with placebos, people taking pills that really do nothing but are told that theyll cure them, and as a result of that they become cured.
so my question is, what is a way to argue against that and prove hypnosis isn't simply a placebo but a real technique? thanks :)


724 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2010 :  2:34:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
When studied, the placebo effect works around 10-15% of the time. Hypnosis, when done by someone who knows what they're doing, works over five times as often. I believe placebo can be an aspect of a hypnosis success rate, just as it is with medications. But, it is not the sole reason for it.

There are third party clinical studies showing the results of even basic hypnosis far surpassing what is possible with a placebo.

I always read/see/hear the placebo argument from people who have not studied hypnosis very thoroughly.

Patrick Glancy, CI, BCH
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3 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2010 :  4:38:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
alright thanks, that helps my project out alot, i wasn't aware that the percentage rate for placebos was that low.
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United Kingdom
399 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2010 :  5:00:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Patrick

I think your percentages are some what off- its much much higher- hypnosis can't be measured in the same way you would measure a medicine and the authority of a Doctor- I would suggest these two books to get a richer and more educated understanding of just how powerful the placebo effect really is.

I personally love the idea of the placebo effect and often use it as a base to build in a transition metaphor.

Meaning, Medicine and the 'Placebo Effect' (Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology) by: Daniel E. Moerman Cambridge University Press

The Placebo Response and the Power of Unconscious Healing
by: Richard Kradin

If it has consciousness it's already in a trance.
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724 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2010 :  8:01:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How low it is depends on who you ask and how it's being measured.

Patrick Glancy, CI, BCH
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8 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2010 :  5:18:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Even though I'm pretty new to this, it was obvious to me that placebos exist because hypnosis exists. Placebos are a proof of hypnosis
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polar bear

24 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2011 :  10:40:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If anybody is interested in hypnosis and the placebo effect they should read a book called, faith and the placebo affect by lolette kuby.
the book explains how through the ages how the placebo effect works through different things from a sugar pill to homeopathy. the book goes on to explain how self hypnosis can help your health. And that body and mind are not separate.
the writer of this book explains that she had breast cancer and survived, she did not take any conventional medicine and claims she cured herself through the power of thought.
As someone who has an interest in self hypnosis I found this book very interesting and I recommend it very much
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therapist in NY

9 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2011 :  10:47:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
To better answer your question, I can say that placebo works only for people who believe in it but hypnosis works also for people who are skeptical about it. Hypnosis works with your subconscious mind, and there is a lot of literature about the impact of our subconscious on our lives.

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United Kingdom
1 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2011 :  05:10:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
hypnosis is like gravity- you don't have to believe in it for it to work. the placebo effect applies to the conscious mind. when a person is hypnotized he is under the influence of the unconscious mind, although can appear to be 'awake', and will accept suggestions without criticism.
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11 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2011 :  6:17:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The "Placebo Effect" is a term given to a phenomenum that I would explain as "Self Hypnosis".
In order to understand the statistics associated with the Placebo Effect, you would have to have access to the raw data obtained during clinical trials. I can tell you from personal experience that the numbers are not as "Real" as you might think. Reaserachers have been down-playing the role of the "self hypnotic/placebo" factor for years. In case you did not already know, a drug can be considered "effective" if it results in a 1% over placebo. In other words, if a drug can be found to be more effective than placebo by 1%,it will be considered effective. There are several drugs on the market that only met this minimal 1% criteria. Prozac is one of them!
Do not get bogged down with the terms. Use the phenomenum to help and heal!

Jorge Haedo, M.D.
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10 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2012 :  3:41:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There have been a lot of good comments. Let's see if I can add anything of value:

When does placebo work, and when does it not? What is common in the percentage of times when it works?

I do not know if any scientific study has been done on that, but my understanding is that placebo only works in those instances where the problem that the placebo is able to address has at its root a thought or a belief, or a condition in the body that is favorable to a foreign body that only exists because of the predominant thinking pattern. When the patient's thoughts are the cause, changing the thinking eliminates the problem. When there are actual pathogens involved, those pathogens may not be able to thrive if not for the condition within the body created by the predominant thinking pattern. Change the thinking pattern, you change the condition, and the body is able to fight off the pathogen.

As Jorge said, placebo effect may be related to self-hypnosis. That is, those for whom the placebo effect works most easily are those that are able to allow the idea of them getting better by taking the pill to transfer effectively into their subconscious mind. Those that are most able to do that are those that most easily go into a spontaneous hypnotic state.

It would be FANTASTIC to do a study on the effectiveness of placebo by introducing an hypnosis component to an investigational study on a particular drug. Divide a study into four groups, not just two, and all participants in one half of the study are given a hypnosis CD that they are asked to use daily, which is specially recorded to enhance the placebo effect. Then evaluate, how much more prominent is the placebo effect in that group?

Since this thread is so old, I imagine the original project is over by now. But it would be really interesting to see such a study performed.

John Arrowwood, CHt
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1 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2012 :  5:15:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hypnosis has been shown as not intrinsically correlated with the placebo effect, whether by placebo we're talking about an inert substance to maintain "blinding" in a clinical trial or the "non specific" effects of treatment.

McGlashan, Evans, and Orne (1969) in a double blind study sytematically separated the placebo effects of using hypnosis as a treatment and the cognitive-perceptual distortions of produced by hypnotically induced analgesia.

Rainville et al.(1999) published in the MIT Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience showed specific patters of rCBF (regional cerebral blood flow) and EEG patterns, associated with hypnosis both with and without suggestions for analgesia. Results supported the "state" theory and a neurophysiological basis for the hypnotic state.

these are the peer reviewed articles if you want the details, the first may require an interlibrary loan because the article is so old most electronic databases don't go back that far:

McGlashan, T.H., Evans, F.H., Orne, M.T. (1969). The nature of hypnotic analgesia and placebo response to experimental pain. Psychosomatic medicine, Vol XXXI (No 3), 227-246

Rainville. P., Hofbauer,R.K., Paus, T., Duncan,G.H., Bushnell, M.C., & Price, D.D. (1999). Cerebral mechanisms of hypnotic induction and suggestion. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience,11(1), 110-125.
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10 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2012 :  08:39:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by therapist in NY

To better answer your question, I can say that placebo works only for people who believe in it but hypnosis works also for people who are skeptical about it. Hypnosis works with your subconscious mind, and there is a lot of literature about the impact of our subconscious on our lives.

I agree, the placebo effect is like a powerful form of self hypnosis, and works much like faith healing etc. Hypnosis simply bypasses the concious mind meaning that the client doesn't have to be convinced to believe. I have used hypnosis very successfully with complete skeptics to help relieve psychological and physical issues.

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United Kingdom
21 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2012 :  08:30:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hypnosis and the Placebo effect are both related to a certain degree for those who are consciously aware. But like someone else mentioned, hypnosis works with the subconscious mind so even if you don't consciously believe hypnosis will work, it can still for you as long as your subconscious mind is acknowledging what it's being exposed to.
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United Kingdom
72 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2013 :  7:56:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The placebo effect has been shown to work with operations where some have been genuine ops for arthritic knees and placebos have been a nick in the knee and conversation etc similar to the real one in the operating theatre, there was also a control group who did not get any better. The results were the same for the simple nick in the skin and and the genuine op and were still the same 9 years later.
Whilst ultimately I am sure that all illness and adverse conditions come from/ through/ as a result of the mind, emotions and belief systems, arthritic knee is not what you would generally call a psychological problem. It all just goes to show the untapped power of the mind. One day we may spend more time on developing our own self and less on scientific world mastery.
It is a bit difficult to talk about reality to because it's different for everyone.

Andrea Lowe
Hypnotherapist/analyst, NLP Practitioner and trainer
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