Hypnosis and anxiety: early interventions

Richard A. Bryant

in The Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780198570097
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Hypnosis and anxiety: early interventions

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  • Research Methods in Psychology


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Anxiety can be defined as a fear that persists even when a salient threat is not present. The most common anxiety disorders, as defined by the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder’ (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), are specific phobia, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. There is convergent evidence that people with anxiety disorders are characterized by increased levels of hypnotizability. This article takes on the possible connection between the anxiety level and the hypnotizability. It states that hypnosis is not a therapy; it is a tool that can be used as an adjunct to established therapy techniques that have proven efficacy in reducing anxiety. It explains different hypnotic strategies for reducing anxiety such as muscle relaxation, imagery, thought control, motivational enhancement, post-hypnotic suggestions, and self-hypnosis.

Keywords: anxiety; hypnotic strategies; imagery skills; multiple anxiety disorders; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder

Article.  8988 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Research Methods in Psychology

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