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October 1976

Hypnotizability and Phobic Behavior

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and the Psychiatric Service, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston (Dr Frankel), and the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, and University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (Dr Orne).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(10):1259-1261. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770100121012

• Hypnotizability ratings of 24 phobic patients interested in the therapeutic use of hypnosis were compared with those of an equal number of smokers keen to quit smoking through hypnosis. The mean Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale score of phobics was 8.08 on a 12-point scale. The mean of smokers was 6.08. The difference was significant beyond the.01 level (twotailed). Thirty percent of smokers were essentially nonresponsive. No phobics were nonresponsive. Those with multiple phobias scored more highly than those with a single phobia.

These findings are in accord with the view that among psychiatric patients whose hypnotizability is assessed in a treatment context, hysterics are most responsive. The implications both for theory and for a specific treatment strategy are discussed.

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