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JAMA Revisited
April 10, 2018

Queries and Minor Notes

JAMA. 2018;319(14):1512. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.12325

Originally Published January 23, 1943 | JAMA. 1943;121(4):299.

To the Editor:—Will you please inform me about the present status of hypnotism as a therapeutic procedure? Is there any actual danger in its indiscriminate use by laymen? Please suggest bibliographic references on the subject.

M.D., Puerto Rico.

Answer.—Hypnotism suffered the fate of other methods of therapy which have become associated with charlatanism and which have been hailed with undue enthusiasm. It fell into disrepute with physicians because, unlike psychoanalysis, it deals largely with symptoms rather than causes. It is essentially for this reason that this valuable therapeutic technic may be dangerous in the hands of the public, for symptoms may be created or intensified without a proper knowledge of the underlying pathologic condition. All physicians are aware of the power of suggestion, and in the state of hypnosis conscious resistance is reduced to a minimum. The patient is put in a condition of heightened suggestibility and he accepts suggestions without criticism.

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