University of Melbourne, Australia
Over the years there have been those who have proposed that hypnosis per se may pose some risks for vulnerable individuals (Meares, 1961) while others have proposed that there were no risks at all in the use of hypnosis (Le Cron, 1961). In coming to a conclusion on the issue of adverse effects one must as always consider under what conditions, by whom and with whom hypnotic techniques are being used (Stanley, 1994).
MacHovec (1988) attempted to specify such adverse effects in relation to hypnotic practices.
Hypnosis complications are unexpected, unwanted thoughts, feelings or behaviors during or after hypnosis which are inconsistent with agreed goals and interfere with the hypnotic process by impairing optimal mental function. There is no prior incidence or history of similar mental or physical symptoms. They are non-therapeutic ... or anti-therapeutic. (MacHovec, 1988, p. 46)
In relation to hypnosis, is there evidence of adverse effects from its use in any domain and to what are such adverse effects attributable? Is there evidence that hypnosis itself, as a state or set of phenomena, can cause harm in any of these domains or are adverse effects the result of the way hypnosis is utilized and the suggestions given in trance?
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