Improving behaviour through hypnosis

Hypnotherapy and hypnosis has recently gained wide attention in the academic field as researchers try to find its relevance in the management of psychiatric disorders and other medical conditions. It is applied in a variety of medical fields, such as oncology, obstetrics and dentistry. Its therapeutic benefits in managing some of these conditions has prompted researchers to continue exploring more medical areas in which it can be successfully used to manage the health conditions. Scientists have also discovered that this kind of intervention can also enhance learning by facilitating the functioning of various attention processes. These findings have contributed to the belief that hypnotherapy can help individuals with attention deficit disorders (ADHD) to cope with their conditions.

In a research conducted by Lotan, Bonne & Abramowitz (2015) to examine the importance of methylphenidate (MPH also sold under the brand name Ritalin) in hypnotherapy as a facilitating agent, it was found that the intervention can as well help patients with ADHD cope with the various symptoms of the condition. The researchers noticed that after being treated with MPH, the ADHD patients showed great improvements in Hypnotizability. The research study revealed that stimulant medications, such as MPH, can efficiently improve Hypnotizability for those suffering from ADHD. The researchers confirmed that the findings were in line with previous studies that had confirmed the efficacy of different stimulants like narcotics in improving Hypnotizability in healthy individuals.  Given stimulants are supposed to improve focus in hypnotic individuals and produce an “uptime trance” the similarities should come as no surprise.

Iglesias & Iglesias (2014) also conducted a research to examine the efficacy of hypnosis in the treatment of a patient suffering from oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) characterized by secondary behavioral disruptiveness and emotional dysregulation, in which they found a statistically significant relationship between behavior change and the intervention therapy. The patient was treated through a hypnotic hold, a method designed by the researchers to help the patient go through hypnosis after being taken through a restraining method. A follow up study was conducted after six months from the initial research, through which it was further found that there was a considerable reduction in behavioral disruptiveness and emotional dysregulation.
In a similar research by Lincă (2018), the researcher conducted the study to examine the efficacy of a problem-solving intervention technique in reducing the symptoms of attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, visuospatial abilities (like fine motor coordination, angularity and estimating distances), as well as emotional regulation among those with ADHD. Moreover, the researcher aimed to find out if emotional regulation affected the relationship between the ability to solve problems and factors such as visuomotor integration and visuomotor precision among students with ADHD.
This particular study saw a total of thirty students of grades 0 to 4 who are diagnosed with ADHD taking part in a program with 120 activities for a period of six months. Different measures were used to determine behavioral and neuropsychological changes in the students after participating in the program. It was found that the program helped reduce the frequency of hyperactivity, attention deficit, visuomotor integration, emotional regulation and visuomotor precision symptoms among students with ADHD. Emotional regulation also influenced the relationship between problem solving ability and visuomotor precision and visuomotor integration among these patients.
Thus, hypnotic exercises can as well help in ameliorating different symptoms of ADHD. The above research findings confirm that hypnotherapy can be an alternative treatment method for patients with ADHD because of its ability to reduce some of the behavioral symptoms associated with the condition. The findings in the above studies are in line with past researches that found a positive relationship between hypnosis and various behavioral problems.

Iglesias, A., & Iglesias1, A. (2014). Pediatric Emotional Dysregulation and Behavioral Disruptiveness Treated With Hypnosis: A Time-Series Design. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 62(1), 70-83.

Lincă, F. I. (2018). Solutions for improving the symptomatology of the child with attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Romanian Journal of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy & Hypnosis, 5(3/4), 1–23.

Lotan, A., Bonne, O., & Abramowitz, E. G. (2015). Methylphenidate facilitates hypnotizability in adults with ADHD: a naturalistic cohort study. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 63(3), 294-308.


Melvin S. Marsh is a certified hypnotherapist serving Atlanta GA, Aiken SC, Augusta GA, and Blairsville GA. He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide virtually. He can be reached at .