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March 1973

Hypnosis in the Treatment of Warts

Author Affiliations

From the departments of Psychiatry and Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Dr. Surman is currently a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy serving at Pearl Harbor Naval Station, Hawaii, and Dr. Gottlieb is currently practicing dermatology in Washington, DC.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(3):439-441. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750330111018

This study was designed to test the hypothesis that warts are treatable by hypnotherapy. Seventeen experimental patients with bilateral common or flat warts were hypnotized weekly for five sessions and were told that the warts would disappear on one side only. They were reexamined three months from the time of the first hypnotic session. Seven patients who were untreated were also reexamined at the end of three months.

Fifty-three percent of the experimental group improved. No improvement was observed among untreated controls. These findings support the hypothesis that warts respond to hypnotherapy. Whereas specific lesions could not be influenced selectively, the findings suggest that hypnosis has a general effect on host response to the causative virus.

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