Hypnosis with Severely Disturbed Patients

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\ Scagnelli (1976) noted three special problems and challenges for clinicians using hypnosis with schizophrenic patients:

1. The problem of control wherein these patients are intensely concerned with maintaining control and fear of loss of control. This fear may be managed through allowing the patient to keep his eyes open, emphasizing self-hypnosis for self-control, and using a permissive hypnotic style.

2. Fear of closeness between patient and therapist, which necessitates the therapist's allowing the patient maximal freedom and independence, including freedom to reject the therapist and hypnosis.

3. Fear of giving up a negative self-concept for a more positive one, which may create resistance to ego-strengthening techniques.

Despite these unique challenges, patients with developmental deficits may be treated with the aid of hypnosis. There is such an increasingly large body of literature on the use of hypnosis with seriously disturbed patients that it is beyond the scope of this introduction to survey these articles. However, reviews of this area of treatment may be found in Murray-Jobsis (1984), Brown and Fromm (1986), Baker (1983a, 1983b, 1983c), and Copeland (1986). In addition, Hodge's contribution to this section provides a practical clinical overview on the topic of using hypnosis with psychotic patients.

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