April 5, 1965

Dangers of Hypnosis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma School of Medicine and University Hospitals (Drs. West and Deckert) and from the Oklahoma City Veterans Administration Hospital, Oklahoma City (Dr. Deckert).

JAMA. 1965;192(1):9-12. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080140015003

Hypnosis as a technique in medical practice poses certain dangers to the patient, to the physician, to medicine as a discipline, and to hypnotism itself as a reputable body of information and methodology. At the same time hypnosis offers definite advantages as an adjunct to other methods in medicine and psychiatry; these advantages should be preserved. The dangers can be minimized by improved and expanded programs of research on hypnosis, more education concerning it both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in medical schools, and greater clarification of standards for its clinical employment. Over-commitment to hypnotism should be avoided by the clinician, who should at the same time be prepared to use this valuable maneuver when indicated.