Mutual Hypnosis: An exploratory multiple-case study
Ferguson, Elizabeth A. (2001). Mutual Hypnosis: An exploratory multiple-case study. Ph.D. dissertation, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA. Available from ProQuest Digital Dissertations database. (Publicatino No. AAT 3011293).
This study explored the experience of mutual hypnosis in 10 pairs of participants, in which each pair hypnotized one another resulting in both being hypnotized at the same time. This research was inspired by Tart’s early study with 1 pair and was intended to expand current knowledge of the phenomenology and applications of mutual hypnosis.
All 10 pairs completed 1 session of mutual hypnosis and 4 pairs completed 1 additional session. All pairs completed baseline measures: The Stanford Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility: Form C, Tellegen Absorption Scale, Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI), Semantic Differentials (SemDf) and Projective Differentials (PD). All pairs also completed assessments after each session: The PCI, PD and SemDf, and a researcher-constructed post-questionnaire to assess effects of mutual hypnosis. Case reports were presented for each pair based on the mutual hypnosis session transcripts followed by a discussion of the PD and SemDf responses to topics related to mutual hypnosis. The PD and SemDf data were especially useful in revealing the interplay of implicit and explicit responses to the mutual hypnosis topics. Following each case report are quantitative analyses of the data from the post-questionnaire, PD and SemDf, and PCI. The following issues were addressed: a phenomenological description of mutual hypnosis, the clinical and research applications of mutual hypnosis, and the contribution mutuality in altered states of consciousness makes to transpersonal psychology. Phenomenological qualities of mutual hypnosis that were found in this research included reduced interpersonal boundaries, increased positive affect, increased sensitivity to negative affect, heightened creativity, and increased hypnotic depth. Possible therapeutic uses include resolving conflict, mutual creative problem solving, increasing loving-kindness, and increasing interpersonal understanding. While this exploratory study extends current knowledge of mutual hypnosis, it also suggests the need for additional research to enhance the procedural and phenomenological descriptions of mutual hypnosis.
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