Spanos, Nicholas P.; Cross, Wendi P.; Lepage, Mark; Coristine, Marjorie (1986). Glossolalia as learned behavior: An experimental demonstration. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 21-23.
60 Ss listened to a 60-s sample of glossolalia (defined to them as pseudolanguage) and then attempted to produce glossolalia on a 30-s baseline trial. Afterward, half of the Ss received two training sessions that included audio- and videotaped samples of glossolalia interspersed with opportunities to practice glossolalia. Also, live modeling of glossolalia, direct instruction, and encouragement were provided by an experimenter. Both the trained subjects and untreated controls attempted to produce glossolalia on a 30-s posttest trial. About 20% of subjects exhibited fluent glossolalia on the baseline trial, and training significantly enhanced fluency. Seventy percent of trained subjects spoke fluent glossolalia on the posttest. Our findings are more consistent with social learning than with altered state conceptions of glossolalia.

Burnham, John C. (1984, October/1986). The fragmenting of the soul: Intellectual prerequisites for ideas of dissociation in the United States. In Quen, Jacques M. (Ed.), Split minds/split brains (pp. 63-84). New York: New York University Press. (Based on symposium in Bear Mt., N.Y., by Section on the History of Psychiatry of Cornell University Medical Center)

“Reductionism was a relentless pursuit of the idea that knowledge of components led to knowledge of causes. In this context, I propose to show how, in the psychological-medical realm, the initial concept was the soul, and the final intellectual product was dissociative phenomena” p. 64.

Wilson, Ian (1984). Jesus–The evidence. London England: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Miracles of Jesus are attributed to hypnosis, in a culture that had already experienced faith healers. Many of those healed had diseases that today might fall into the ‘hysteria’ or ‘psychosomatic’ categories (paralysis, lameness, fever, catalepsy, haemorrhage, skin disease, mental disorder), which diseases are frequently responsive to hypnosis. Further, Jesus’ reputation preceded him, and the fact that his cure rate was low in his home town is evidence of both the veridicality of the written record (Mark 6: 1-6) and the expectancy factor. “The significance of this episode is that Jesus failed precisely where as a hypnotist we would most expect him to fail, among those who knew him best, those who had seen him grow up as an ordinary child. Largely responsibble for any hypnotist’s success are the awe and mystery with which he surrounds himself, and these essential factors would have been entirely lacking in Jesus’ home town” (pp. 111-112). The author also assigns other miracles (his transfiguration into dazzling light before three disciples; turning water into wine) to hypnosis [which other writers might ascribe to suggestion].

Larbig, W.; Elbert, T.; Lutzenberger W.; Rockstroh, B.; Schnerr, G.; Birbaumer, N. (1982). EEG and slow brain potentials during anticipation and control of painful stimulation. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 53, 298-309.

Cerebral responses in anticipation of painful stimulation and while coping with it were investigated in a ‘fakir’ and 12 male volunteers. Experiment 1 consisted of 3 periods of 40 trials each. During period 1, subjects heard one of two acoustic warning stimuli of 6 sec duration signaling that either an aversive noise or a neutral tone would be presented at S1 offset. During period 2, subjects were asked to use any technique for coping with pain that they had ever found to be successful. During period 3, the neutral S2 was presented simultaneously with a weak electric shock and the aversive noise was presented simultaneously with a strong, painful shock, again under pain coping instructions. EEG activity within the theta band increased in anticipation of aversive events. Theta peak was most prominent in the fakir’s EEG. A negative slow potential shift during the S1-S2 interval was generally more pronounced in anticipation of the aversive events than the neutral ones, even though no overt motor response was required. Negativity tended to increase across the three periods, opposite to the usually observed diminution. In Experiment 2, all subjects self-administered 21 strong shock-noise presentations. The fakir again showed more theta power and more pronounced EEG negativity after stimulus delivery compared with control subjects. Contrary to the controls, self-administration of shocks evoked a larger skin conductance response in the fakir than warned external application.

A published case study by Pelletier (1977) reported EEG theta enhancement during pain control states, which were maintained by EEG feedback of alpha and theta bands. That author concluded that EEG theta was necessary for the control of pain psychologically.
The authors of this article measured slow brain potentials (SBPs) and vertical eye movements (VEMs). Principal components analysis of the EEG wave forms found three components: theta (4-5.6 c/sec), alpha band (9-10 c/sec) and high frequencies (above 14.4 c/sec) plus harmonics loading in frequencies of 3.2-4.5 c/sec, 7.5-9, and above 15 c/sec.
Alpha “decreased over periods in the parietal record and was virtually absent in the fakir’s EEG during period 3” (p. 301). The fakir had a lot of non-sinusoidal, especially square wave, activity.
“Very pronounced negativity was recorded preceding the aversive S2, greater than under neutral stimulus conditions …. This difference was most pronounced at the vertex … The late negativity increased over periods in control subjects … especially in anticipation of the aversive S2 … . This contrasts with the usually observed decrease of SBP components over trials. As is shown in Figure 2, the PCA [principal components analysis] yielded two components for the 2.0 sec S2 interval, a positive deflection, which can be assigned to the P300 complex (here not reported), and a negative deflection, labeled post- imperative negative variation. … This negative component increased over periods, being more pronounced in response to the aversive stimulation … with increasing differentiation over period …” (p. 302-303).
The fakir undertook an elaborate self hypnosis or trance induction to achieve analgesia that he had previously demonstrated in the laboratory (thrusting 4 unsterilized metal spikes into his abdomen, tongue, and neck without bleeding). This included “long- continued fixation on a point above the eye-brows. Blank facial expression, staring eyes, and a very low rate of eye-blinks indicated a trance-like state (periods without eye-blinks more than 30 min)” (p. 299). During the experiment itself, the fakir showed few ocular movements during the second and third periods. He also demonstrated large skin conductance responses, recorded from the second phalanges of the index and middle fingers of the left hand, to the aversive S1.
Experiment 2 was designed to emulate the self-administered aversive stimulation that the fakir routinely undertook, by having the volunteer Ss hold a switch that they pressed twice/minute, giving themselves a mild shock and an aversive noise. (These were the same aversive stimuli as were used in Experiment 1.) There were 21 self-paced button presses.
Three additional measures were taken: 1. Bereitschaftspotential (BP) – the mean negative shift during the 0.3 sec interval prior to the motor response of pressing the switch 2. Postimperative component (PINV) – the mean negative shift 0.9 to 1.9 sec after stimulus onset, i.e. elicited by closing the microswitch 3. Skin conductance response (SCR) – maximum change in skin conductance level during five second interval after the motor response of pressing the switch.
The fakir, but not the control Ss, showed a pronounced precentral PINV on each single trial of Experiment 2. He also showed pronounced SCRs (indicating autonomic arousal), which was even greater than the SCRs of control Ss. His subjective pain rating was 1 in Experiment 1 (compared with 6.4 for controls) but 8 during Experiment 2 (compared with 5.7 for controls), on a scale of 1 to 10 maximum. Thus the fakir’s pain increased from Experiment 1 to 2, while for many volunteer Ss it decreased 2 or 3 points. When interviewed, he said that “intention and motor commands prevented the fakir from getting into ‘trance’ satisfactorily. Consequently, he reported to have experienced the aversive stimuli as more painful than in experiment 1. Thus it might be that the observed PINV indicates the noncontingency between the demand for coping and the failure to cope or the discrepancy between expected control and presently experienced control” (p. 307).
In their Discussion, the authors speculate that control of pain such as can be achieved by the fakir may involve dissociation of higher (possibly thalamic and cortical) and lower (reticular formation) arousal structures. Their observation of slow brain potentials (theta) recorded in anticipation of painful or aversive stimuli is in agreement with earlier published studies. However their observation of increasing negativity in anticipation of aversive stimuli is in contrast to previous research findings, in which diminution of negativity is generally observed.
Both the fakir and subjects showed a post-stimulus negative shift in response to the S2; this has been “observed in normal subjects under conditions of change from controllable to uncontrollable aversive stimuli… and/or from obvious response- consequence contingencies to unpredictable control over the S2… PINVs were associated with an unexpected change in contingency or the inability to resolve ambiguity. Since a relationship was found between PINV amplitude and subjective ratings or experienced aversiveness of the painful stimulation, it may be speculated that obvious failure in coping with pain (i.e. more experienced pain) together with the requirement to cope (induced by instructions and experimental setting, giving rise to increased expectancy for control), produced a PINV (and probably feelings of uncontrollability together with a state of reactance and frustration) in the present experiments. In accordance with this point of view, it is of particular interest that only the fakir showed a more pronounced PINV in experiment 2, in which subjects delivered the painful stimuli to themselves. A postexperimental interview revealed that intention and motor commands prevented the fakir from getting into ‘trance’ satisfactorily” (p. 307).

Prince, Raymond (1980). Variations in psychotherapeutic procedures. In Triandis, Harry C.; Draguns, Juris G. (Ed.), Psychopathology (6, pp. 291-349). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Prince points out that indigenous practitioners often capitalize on the organism’s endogenous healing mechanisms which develop spontaneously when the individual is distressed. “healers around the world have learned to manipulate and build upon these endogenous mechanisms in a variety of ways to bring about resolution of life’s problems and alleviation of suffering” (p. 292). Prince is referring here to altered states of consciousness such as dreams, trance states, dissociations, and mystical experiences of various sorts which are cultivated and elaborated by indigenous healers for therapeutic purposes. In general, Western type practitioners have denigrated these procedures….” (from Ann. Rev. of Psychol., 1982, pp 243-244).

Sacerdote, Paul (1977). Application of hypnotically elicited mystical states to the treatment of physical and emotional pain. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 25, 309-324.

Mystical states by-pass usual sensory perception and logical thinking. They often represent the ultimate goal of long apprenticeships in Eastern or Western monastic practices which stress self-discipline and meditation; or they correlate with sudden religious conversions. While interest has also been revived in mystical experiences stimulated by hallucinogens within the appropriate physical, intellectual, and emotional environment, less attention has been paid to those mystical experiences which appear spontaneously during hypnosis and Transcendental Meditation. The present author facilitates the unleashing of mystical experiences by using hypnotic approaches specifically aimed at altering space and time perceptions. Case presentations illustrate the methodologies for guiding receptive subjects to mystical states with the aim of relieving or correcting organic and functional painful syndromes unresponsive to other interventions. The probable biopsychological processes are discussed.

Pedersen, Darhl M.; Cooper, Leslie M. (1965). Some personality correlates of hypnotic susceptibility. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 13 (3), 193-203.

The present research was directed principally toward determining the relationship of a number of personality variables to hypnotic susceptibility. The personality variables utilized were selected to cover the personality domain as broadly as possible. Hypnotic susceptibility was measured by the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form A. A correlational analysis was completed for 30 Ss. This included (a) the correlations between each of the personality variables and hypnotic susceptibility and (b) the intercorrelations among all of the personality measures. It was found that the following variables correlated with hypnotic susceptibility at the 5% level of confidence: age (-.37), year in college (-.36), and missionary service (.37). Social class rating of father”s occupation correlated significantly at the 1% level of confidence (.54). (29 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2002 APA, all rights reserved)

de Moraes Passos, A. C.; Farina, Oscar (1961). Aspectos atuais de hipnologia. Sao Paulo, Brazil: Linografica Editora Limitada. (Abstracted in American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1962, 4, 279)

Notes by Milton Erickson. “This large paper-covered volume is a collection of reprints and original studies making available in Portuguese some 45 articles by South American, North American, Mexican, and British authors reporting upon the use of hypnosis in the various fields of medicine and surgery, dentistry, psychology, and related fields. In addition there are included reports on the subject of hypnosis by Brazilian, North American, and British medical groups and two pronouncements by Pope Pius XII concerning the use of hypnosis and applied psychology.

Bowers, Margaretta K. (1959). Friend or traitor? Hypnosis in the service of religion. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 7 (4), 205-215.

Hypnosis may potentiate religious experiences like prayer and worship, where hypnosis meets the world of inner reality. In the first to fourth centuries, Jewish mystics alluded to depth of mind in religious experience, but the idea of oneness with God “cannot be accepted as a healthy psychological concept” (p. 207).
“We have the possibility of understanding prayer and worship as an intrapsychic phenomenon, as a communication with one’s total being. Once the premise of the indwellingness of God can be accepted as a psycholigical [sic] entity, then we can understand prayer as being a total response of the psychic life of the individual in order that he can understand the feelings of wholeness, self-confidence, and self-esteem in himself, and further, how this can be aided by hypnotic techniques” (p. 207).
The author interprets the 13th Century mystic’s words, ‘the divine will, dresses or cloaks itself in the will of the devout,’ as similar to hypnosis, in which a state “may occur where the patient loses his awareness of the separateness of himself and the hypnotist so that the hypnotist’s voice may be felt as his own voice” (p. 208). This is all right as long as awareness of separateness is re-established when the person comes out of the hypnotic or religious experience.
The religious mystic also may use autohypnosis “to achieve a greater experiencing of God and a heightened religious experience. Such a state likewise produces an ecstasy. Such ecstasy is sometimes present in religious conversion experiences as well. This ecstasy is healthy if the separateness and integrity of God and Man are kept separate” (p. 209). The author describes a phenomenon in which a priest who leads a deeply devotional religious service may feel a loss of a sense of self afterward, complaining of great fatigue and inability or unwillingness to relate to people. The same post-devotional emptiness and depression sometimes occurs among parishioners.
A psychoanalytically oriented case study of misdirected religious belief, amplified by religious service induced trance, is presented.

Bowers, Margaretta K.; Glasner, Samuel (1958). Auto-hypnotic aspects of the Jewish cabbalistic concept of Kavanah. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 6 (1), 50-70.

The authors present material quoted from numerous Jewish mystics to support the position that many achieved self hypnosis or trance states in the course of their spiritual, especially prayer, practices. “Kavanah” means concentration in the Talmud; “the entire hope of efficacy of ritual or of prayer is wholly dependent on the person’s achieving a proper state of concentration and devotion, which is Kavanah” (p. 51). Ecstacy is one aspect of Kavanah and was induced in one way through “concentration upon the magical and mystical properties of the Hebrew letters, arranging and rearranging the letters” (p. 51) in such manner as to produce a trance. Sometimes dissociation occurred (“suddenly I saw the shape of my self standing before me and myself disengaged from me and I was forced to stop writing!” [p. 64]).
Sometimes a particular way of breathing, a particular position of the body, or fasting were used to promote trance development. Imagery and fantasy were also used, in a way resembling the work of Erickson, Kline, and Young; imagery of light and light sources was especially prevalent, reminding one of the candle flame induction technique.
“… it would appear that one of the ambitious purposes of the ecstatic Kavanah was to produce prophets” (p. 61). Some medieval prophets would describe a person’s past and predict his future like the modern Edgar Cayce. “The auto-hypnotic state of ecstasy represented by Kavanah was also used for the deliberate induction of states of hysterical dissociation so that the ‘prophet’ would be able to see his self on the opposite side of the room” (p. 63). But the practice of the mystic ecstatic Kavanah was “generally discouraged or reserved for the elite at best” (p. 65).
“… however, in the medieval Christian world ignorance of the unconscious mental processes was so profound that it made it extremely difficult for wise and prudent religious leaders to cope with the religious excitement and delusionary revelations which broke out periodically. That the Jews were not entirely immune from such excesses at this time is shown by Dr. Scholem’s [Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, 1941] report that:
‘In the writings of Eleazar of Worms …. one also finds the oldest extant recipes for creating the Golem — a mixture of letter magic and practices obviously aimed at producing ecstatic states of consciousness. It would appear as though in the original conception the Golem came to life only while the ecstasy of his creator lasted. The creation of the Golem was, as it were, a particularly sublime experience felt by the mystic who became absorbed in the mysteries of the alphabetic combinations described in the “Book of Creation.” It was only later that the popular legend attributed to the Golem an existence outside the ecstatic consciousness, and in later centuries a whole group of legends sprang up around such Golem figures and their creators'” (pp. 64-65).
Concentration was apparently used to avoid pain during torture of martyrdom and death. According to Scholem, the mystic Abraham ben Eliezer Halevi of Jerusalem recommended “to concentrate, in the hour of their last ordeal, on the Great Name of God; to imagine its radiant letters between their eyes and to fix all their attention on it. Whoever will do that, will not feel the burning flames or the tortures to which he will be subjected” (p. 66).
“We have demonstrated, therefore, that the Jewish mystics of former times, from the Biblical period through the Rabbinic period, on through the Middle Ages and almost up to the present day, used autohypnosis as a deliberate technique for the production of religious ecstasy and as a means for obtaining deeper religious insights or revelations. Both the methods by which they induced the autohypnotic trance, or Kavanah, and the ways in which they utilized it parallel some of the modern methods of hypnotic induction and of the utilization of the hypnotic trance” (p. 67-68).
“… hypnosis might well prove itself an important tool for an organized program of research into religious phenomena. Thus, for instance, hypnotic research could possibly provide us with an operational understanding of prayer and its effects. This might further lead to the development of more sophisticated and more effective techniques of prayer for use by scientifically-minded religionists. And it might even lead to the type of direct religious expreience reported by religious geniuses of former days, but unfortunately lost to modern man” (p. 68).
Note: The second author is a rabbi.

Glasner, Samuel (1955). A note on allusions to hypnosis in the Bible and Talmud. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 3 (1), 34-39.

Author states, “To summarize: Although it is impossible to state with any definiteness that hypnosis is referred to in the Bible (Old and New Testaments) and in the Talmud, there would seem to be considerable evidence that the authors of these works were indeed familiar with phenomena which we today should call hypnotic or which we should explain in terms of suggestion” (p. 39). He refers to induced sleep states (e.g. when God took Adam’s rib in creating Eve); “prophesying” (e.g. in the Book of I Samual) being “some sort of frenzied behavior induced by mass hypnosis” (p. 35); suggested blindness (e.g. Elisha’s story in II Kings); mystic visions in which eyes appear (e.g.Ezekiel’s visions of spiral wheels); miraculous cures in the New Testament, which could be due to suggestion; cures by Rabbis in early Christian centures (known as ‘sorcery’); and creation of illusions by rabbis, reported in the Talmud.


Bowers, Kenneth S. (1995, November). Revisiting a Century-Old Freudian Slip — from Suggestion Disavowed to the Truth Repressed. [Paper] Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, San Antonio, TX.

Cites J. Herman, Mason, and Miller who accused Freud of retreating from trauma theory to save his theory. Feminists view the Oedipal theory as a coverup for the denial of child sexual abuse. This moral position fuels trauma theory and practice. It is the moral dimension of this debate that gives so many problems for the investigation of traumatic memory.
The intellectual origins of repressed trauma are examined here. Freud’s early trauma theory, his later conflict theory.
Etiology of Hysteria (1896) presents Freud’s argument, based on 18 patients: child is passive victim of experience imposed on them; memory is repressed and hysterical symptoms are derivatives of these repressed memories; when memories return as pictures the task of therapy is easier than if returning as thoughts. Bartlett’s memory research showed visual image is followed by sense of confidence that surpasses what should be there.
The fact that patients had to be compelled to remember was offered by Freud as evidence against the idea that the memories were suggested. The patients initially would deny the reality of their memories, which Freud used in saying that we should not think that patients would falsely accuse themselves. In letter to Fleiss, he presented the conflict theory, which he presented in 1905 in Three Essays on Sexuality and later in My Views…on Etiology of Neurosis.
In 1905 Freud indicated he was unable to distinguish fantasy from true reports (and did not deny the existence of the latter). Freud often reconstructed the “memories” from dreams, transference, signs, symptoms, fantasies, etc. They were not produced as conscious memories, and it was Freud who inferred the sexual abuse. From signs of distress he took evidence of proof.
Freud presented his theory to his patients and then sought confirmation.
Freud asks us to abandon historical for narrative truth. The problems with Freud’s first theory became worse with his second theory. In Introductory Lectures Freud states that opponents say his treatment talks patients into confirming his theories. He relies on the patient’s inner reality confirming the theoretical ideas given to him. Success depends on overcoming internal resistance, however. The danger in leading a patient astray by suggestion has been exaggerated, because the analyst would have had to not allow the patient to “have his say.” Freud denied strongly ever having done this.
Incorrect interpretations would not be accepted by the patients, and if believed would be suggestion. Brunbaum, another writer, said that this doesn’t mean acceptance of a faulty idea won’t occur. Both Milton Erickson and especially Pierre Janet reported cases in which suggestions were used to give benign memories to replace malignant ones.
Freud also viewed patient resistance to his interpretations as evidence that the interpretations were correct. Thus both resistance and acquiescence were thought to be validating. Popper’s critiques using philosophy of science note that this makes his theory untestable.
Freud could not distinguish between the patient’s reluctant acceptance of the truth and reluctant acceptance of a suggestion.
Contemporary theorists struggle less than Freud did with the problem of suggestion and suggestibility (and Freud did not have available the research on those areas!) Emotional upheaval that accompanies “insight” is readily taken to be validating. It may be true that bad memories are repressed, but that doesn’t mean that all bad memories are true.
Treatment groups focus on recalling memories and sharing memories with others in the group, not on current relationships. Hermann states that the group provides powerful stimulus for remembering. The group, of course, is reinforced by others remembering. Repeatedly considering the possibility of abuse can increase the sense of familiarity.
Current views expressed by some clinicians that certain symptoms and syndromes (eating disorders, etc.) indicate early sexual trauma are similar to Freud’s theory of hysteria. In these proposals, the inability to recall abuse becomes evidence that it occurred; and it tallies with the patient not having a sense of remembering.
Because some believe it is necessary to bring memory to light for cure to occur, there is a tendency to believe the reports of early childhood abuse.
Recognizing that some “memories” may have been a product of a therapist’s suggestion helps prevent untoward effects. Modern therapists recapitulate Freud’s “slip” when they do not acknowledge the role of suggestion.
Endorsing repression does not commit us to a belief that recovered memories must be accurate in all particulars. A memory that is repressed does not escape the usual kinds of degradation of memory.
And just because the material comes from unconscious sources, or has emotional accompaniments, it doesn’t mean it is true. (Bowers gave an example of his dream that Israel and Venezuela shared a common border, which was rectified by his waking awareness of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. He noted that nothing like the Atlantic can be called upon if the dream is that one’s parent molested oneself at the age of six.)
Ian Hacking, in Rewriting the Soul, labels a more fundamental indeterminacy (for the historical past itself). Bathing rituals in childhood can be redescribed as abuse, which determines the historical past rather than describing it. It is thus easier to justify abuse if the event is something that can be reinterpreted. For example, the conflicts of adolescents with their parents, may be reinterpreted later if personality problems continue. If in adulthood one concludes that abuse occurred, then bathing rituals can be reinterpreted as if it were earlier abuse, as if the abuse has continued for years.

Sarbin, Theodore R. (1995). On the belief that one body may be host to two or more personalities. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 43 (2), 163-183.
The belief in the validity of the multiple personality concept is discussed in this article. Two scaffolding constructions are analyzed: dissociation and repression. As generally employed, these constructions grant no agency to the multiple personality patient. The claim is made that the conduct of interest arises in discourse, usually with the therapist as the discourse partner. In reviewing the history of multiple personality and the writings of current advocates, it becomes clear that contemporary users of the multiple personality disorder diagnosis participate in a subculture with its own set of myths, one of which is the autonomous actions of mental faculties. Of special significance is the readiness to transfigure imaginings into rememberings of child abuse, leading ultimately to the manufacture of persons. The implications for both therapy and theory of regarding the patient as agent in place of the belief that the contranormative conduct is under the control of mentalistic faculties are discussed.

Tayloe, D. R. (1995). The validity of represed memories and the accuracy of their recall through hypnosis: A case study from the courtroom. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 37 (3), 25-31.
This case was one of a defendant who lived in California and who was accused of his wife’s murder. Due to amnesia for the events at the time of the wife’s death, he was not considered competent to aid in his own defense. “Conclusion. This case demonstrates that extremely emotional events, interpreted as life threatening on some level, can be actively repressed from conscious memory and that these memories can later be accurately recalled under hypnosis. This conclusion provides justification for using hypnosis in some legal cases” (p. 31). The fact that the accused committed suicide six months after aquittal supports the “premise behind repressed memories … that they provide protection against a psychologically life-threatening event. At the time of the investigation, Mr. Bains had no waking memory of his suicide attempt; therefore, it could be hypothesized that had the amnesia continued, his suicide could have been prevented” (p. 31).

Frankel, Fred H. (1994, October). On patients remembering abuse when it in fact may not have occurred. [Paper] Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, San Francisco.

The concept of hidden memories has supported the profession of psychotherapy for a century. This process can only occur if there is a mechanism to support it. Bowers says, if memory is not reliably accurate, it is not reliably inaccurate either.
“Ideas passing as descriptions lead us to equate the tentative with [the factual.]” – Gould.
Three studies purporting to establish repression: 1. Briere & Comte sampled 450 adults who reported abuse. They asked, “Was there ever a time when you couldn’t remember the forced experience?” How does respondent understand the question? Clients were all in therapy. 2. Herman and Schatzow (1989) “verification of abuse” study. 53 Ss in a survivor’s group. Reports percentages who had no or little recall. Authors don’t acknowledge that the group discussion and the attitude of therapist may have shaped the response. It is also not clear how many Ss who claimed to have “verified” their accounts were among those who had severe amnesia for the event. They could be Ss who had never lost the memory in the first place. 3. Williams interviewed women who earlier were in Emergency Rooms because of abuse being suspected. 38% did not report childhood abuse when questioned, and author concluded it was due to repression. Significant numbers of adults cannot remember things even past the age of 5.
Problem with wording of questions. Some of the women interviewed might have preferred not to report the event. This was not investigated in the study.

Freyd, Jennifer J. (1994). Betrayal-trauma: Traumatic amnesia as an adaptive response to childhood abuse. Ethics and Behavior, 4.

Betrayal-trauma theory suggests that psychogenic amnesia is an adaptive response to childhood abuse. When a parent or other powerful figure violates a fundamental ethic of human relationships, victims may need to remain unaware of the trauma not to reduce suffering but rather to promote survival. Amnesia enables the child to maintain an attachment with a figure vital to survival, development, and thriving. Analysis of evolutionary pressures, mental modules, social cognitions, and developmental needs suggests that the degree to which the most fundamental human ethics are violated can influence the nature, form, processes, and responses to trauma.

“A logical extension of this research direction, based on a strategy that has been very effective in cognitive neuroscience, would be to look for neuroanatomical underpinnings of the cognitive mechanisms implicated in dissociation. … For instance, the ability to dissociate current experience may depend partly on representational structures that support spontaneous perceptual transformations of incoming events. One possible perceptual transformation that is amenable to scientific investigation, would be the creation of spatial representations in which the mental ‘observer’ is spatially distinct from the real body of that observer. Such a representation would fit patient descriptions of ‘leaving their body’ during a traumatic episode and viewing the scene as if from afar. Additionally one could investigate the role of mental recoding and restructuring during memory ‘recovery’ and psychotherapy” (pp. 19-20).

Loftus, Elizabeth; Polonsky, Sara; Fullilove, Mindy Thompson (1994). Memories of childhood sexual abuse: Remembering and repressing. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 67-84.

Women involved in out-patient treatment for substance abuse were interviewed to examine their recollections of childhood sexual abuse. Overall, 54% of the 105 women reported a history of childhood sexual abuse. Of these, the majority (81%) remembered all or part of the abuse their whole lives; 19% reported they forgot the abuse for a period of time, and later the memory returned. Women who remembered the abuse their whole lives reported a clearer memory, with a more detailed picture. They also reported greater intensity of feelings at the time the abuse happened. Women who remembered the abuse their whole lives did not differ from others in terms of the violence of the abuse or whether the violence was incestuous. These data bear on current discussions concerning the extent to which repression is a common way of coping with childhood sexual abuse trauma, and also bear on some widely held beliefs about the correlates of repression.

NOTES: In previous research, it was reported that violent or incestuous abuse is particularly susceptible to repression. This study differs from previous investigations in the definition of violence. In the present study, ‘violence’ is defined as any act involving vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Earlier research defined ‘violence’ as involving sexual assault with physical injury or fear of death.
Depending on the definition of repression, a sizeable minority (31% or almost 1/5) of this sample forgot their earlier abuse for a period of time. The authors state that this suggests there is little ‘robust repression’ in this sample. They cannot rule out the possibility that some women who were abused still, to this day, do not recall the experience; or that some who continue to have memory loss based on organic causes, including blackouts.
The authors suggest that future research in this area use more specific questions, including assessing whether Subjects respond to statements like: “There was a time when I would not have been able to remember the abuse, even if I had been directly asked about it,” or “There was a time when I would not have been able to report the abuse because I had no idea that it had even happened to me.” Also, when Subjects report that a memory had emerged after a period in which they had no recall, the Experimenter should enquire about how and when the recovered memory occurred.
The authors conclude that remembering abuse is more common than forgetting it.

Nash, Michael R. (1994, October). Reports of early sexual trauma: The problem of false negatives and false positives. [Paper] Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, San Francisco.
The problem of false positives and problem of false negatives are distinct and should be treated differently. The question involves pseudomemories vs repression.

Evidence for false positives: 1. Memory research 2. Developmental psychopathology 3. Contemporary psychoanalytic theory 4. Clinical field studies
No laboratory researcher has produced false memories that are as gravid, or as emotionally loaded as early abuse.
Evidence for repression: 1. “Repressor Personality” research (Weinberger & Schwartz, who view it as a trait rather than a state). 2. Implicit memory research 3. Hypnosis research on memory (see Nash chapter in Fromm & Nash book on research in hypnosis) 4. Clinical field studies

Ofshe, Richard; Singer, Margaret T. (1994). Recovered memory and robust repression: Influence and pseudomemory. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 42, 391-410.

A subset of the psychotherapists practicing trauma-focused therapy predicate their treatment on the existence of a newly claimed, powerful form of repression that differs from repression as used in the psychoanalytic tradition and from amnesia in any of its recognized forms. Recovered-memory specialists assist patients to supposedly retrieve vast quantities of information (e.g., utterly new dramatic life histories) that were allegedly unavailable to consciousness for years of decades. We refer to the hypothesized mental mechanism as ‘robust repression’ and call attention to the absence of evidence documenting its validity and to the differences between it and other mental mechanisms and memory features. No recovered-memory practitioner has ever published a full specification of the attributes of this mechanism. That is, the properties it would have to have for the narratives developed during therapy to be historically accurate to any significant degree. This article reports a specification of the properties of the robust repression mechanism based on interviews with current and former patients, practitioners’ writings, and reports to researchers and clinicians. The spread of reliance on the robust repression mechanism over the past 20 years through portions of the clinical community is traced. While involved in therapy, patients of recovered-memory practitioners come to believe that they have either instantly repressed large numbers of discrete events or simultaneously repressed all information about abuse they may have endured for as long as a decade. Patients’ therapy-derived accounts are thought by some social influence, memory, and clinical specialists to be inadvertently created iatrogenic effects: inaccurate pseudomemories and confabulations produced due to patient-therapist interaction, the use of leading, (sic) suggestions, hypnosis, and the mismanagement of the dependent relation of the patient on the therapist. Three cases are reported which illustrate how new life accounts predicated by robust repression can develop during therapy with a recovered- memory practitioner.

Spiegel, David; Scheflin, Alan W. (1994). Dissociated or fabricated? Psychiatric aspects of repressed memory in criminal and civil cases. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 42 (4), 411-432.

During the last decade, clinicians, courts, and researchers have been faced with exceedingly difficult questions involving the crossroads where memory, traumatic memory, dissociation, repression, childhood sexual abuse, and suggestion all meet. In one criminal case, repressed memories served as the basis for a conviction of murder. In approximately 50 civil cases, courts have ruled on the issue of whether repressed memory for childhood sexual abuse may form the basis of a suit against the alleged perpetrators. Rulings that have upheld such use underscore the importance of the reliability of memory retrieval techniques. Hypnosis and other methodologies employed in psychotherapy may be beneficial in working through memories of trauma, but they may also distort memories or alter a subject’s evaluation of their veracity. Because of the reconstructive nature of memory, caution must be taken to treat each case on its own merits and avoid global statements essentially proclaiming either that repressed memory is always right or that it is always wrong.

Spiegel, David (1994, October). On patients not remembering abuse when it in fact may have occurred. [Paper] Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, San Francisco.

False memories and false non-memories may be two sides of the same coin. What is the evidence for repression?
If people are abducted by extraterrestrials, why don’t they just keep them? [Joke!] It seems counter-intuitive that people would forget important, arousing things that happen.
The three main components of hypnosis (suggestibility, absorption, and dissociation) are also aspects of memory: 1. Absorption relates to encoding (narrowing attention); also happens during traumatic events (Loftus’ “gun memory” which is so clear, while they don’t encode what gunman’s face looks like). 2. Dissociation relates to memory storage (compartmentalization of information). Traumatized people have symptoms of dissociation, depersonalization. If you are in an unusual mental state, you may watch the event; the memory is stored without the usual network of associations. 3. Suggestibility relates to retrieval. The way questions are asked influences one’s response. But hypnosis is not an infinite influencer; the main damage to memory contributed by hypnosis is “confident errors” (McConkey).
We did research one week after the Loma Prieta earthquake, and found significant cognitive alterations, memory alterations, etc. In our sample, 1/4 of the people felt detached from their body or from the ground right after the earthquake.
Memory alterations were compared with data from other studies after other traumas. Difficulties with memory occurred in 29% of our sample.
The disorganization of memory can follow even just witnessing trauma (e.g. the recent slaying of 8 people in the law office in San Francisco) And people who witnessed the execution of Harris. They were in no danger themselves, yet the level of dissociative symptoms were as high in the former.
The Briere & Cone and Herman & Shatzow studies are based on self report of earlier trauma, and that is a problem in research. But Williams’ study does have the age of people when they were abused as children; see her article in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Dabney Ewin: Sex abuse trauma differs from earthquakes because the abuser says, “If you tell anybody I’ll kill you.” This is like a post hypnotic suggestion, which is carried out compulsively when given to the victim during fear.
Dale: How to we account for the vigor in the attempts of each side to convince the other. The people who have been real victims of sexual abuse need to be able to talk with the people who are victims of False Memory Syndrome. The impact on a family is just as traumatic as the sexual abuse itself.

Response by D. Spiegel: I wouldn’t recommend that combination, but the point you make about damage to the falsely accused is relevant. Their lives are shattered but remember the damage done throughout life by sexual abuse.

Watkins, Helen H. (1993). Ego-State therapy: An overview. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 35, 232-240

Ego-state therapy is a psychodynamic approach in which techniques of group and family therapy are employed to resolve conflicts between the various “ego states” that constitute a “family of self” within a single individual. Although covert ego states do not normally become overt except in true multiple personality, they are hypnotically activated and made accessible for contact and communication with the therapist. Any of the behavioral, cognitive, analytic, or humanistic techniques may then be employed in a kind of internal diplomacy. Some 20 years experience with this approach has demonstrated that complex psychodynamic problems can often be resolved in a relatively short time compared to more traditional analytic therapies.

Wickramasekera, Ian (1993, August). Some psychophysiological and clinical implications of the coincidence of hypnotic ability and neuroticism during threat perception. [Paper] Presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.

The electrodermal response to cognitive threat (mental arithmetic) of unhypnotized female patients with somatic symptoms, high on hypnotic ability and high on neuroticism (high-high) was found to e significantly higher (p .01) than that of a matched group of female patients moderate on hypnotic ability and low on neuroticism (moderate- low). On verbal report or a subjective units of distress scale (SUDs), the high-high and moderate-low groups did not differ, but they were significantly different on a measure of self-deception or repression. The above findings are consistent with predictions from the High Risk Model of threat perception. (ABSTRACT from the Bulletin of Division 30, Psychological Hypnosis, Fall, 1993, Vol. 2, No. 3.)

Christianson, S-A (1992). Emotional stress and eyewitness memory: A critical review. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 284-309.

Although not addressing hypnosis specifically, this is a comprehensive review of literature on memory for negative emotional events relevant to issues of hypnosis and memory. The final conclusion is that emotional events are indeed remembered differently than neutral or ordinary events and are well retained with respect to the event itself and concerning central, critical detail (not peripheral detail). Such memories seem less susceptible to forgetting. There is evidence for dissociation between memory for emotional information and memory for specific event information. There is also evidence of amnesia or memory impairment effects after high-arousal events, with memory increasing as more time passes after the event. The functional amnesia effects are probably due to an interaction between altered encoding operations and the specific retrieval circumstances aiding consciously and unconsciously controlled reconstructive processes. There is little evidence to support Loftus’ contentions that emotional stress is bad for memory.

Gravitz, Melvin A. (1992, October). Historical and legal issues. [Paper] Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Arlington, VA.

The 1976 Chowchilla kidnaping case in California stimulated interest in using hypnosis for forensic investigation; in the same year, it was used in a case of airline hijacking in the Mediterranean to Uganda. Hypnosis is used for obtaining “leads” and doesn’t claim to develop “the truth.”
Other uses include: lifting amnesia of witnesses and victims of trauma–including but not limited to crime; obtaining additional information in nonamnesic Ss; evaluation of a subject’s mental condition (e.g. multiple personality disorder vs malingering, as in the Bianchi case). In each use, hypnosis is not infallible, is not complete. But no procedure is. Motivation, resistance, transference are all critical.
Historic questions: 1. whether coercion is entailed 2. impact of hypnosis on memory 3. possible harm to subject, physically and mentally
The coercion issue dates to Mesmer, whose procedures led to accusations of immoral suggestions. In the 1880s Charcot said no one could be forced to do anything while the Nancy school (Liebeault) said they could. Since then we have seen laboratory studies using student volunteers, fake “poison,” rubber daggers, etc., as well as recent “real life” studies where Ss were induced to violate their morals (see Watkins). Review articles include those by Jacob Conn of Baltimore and the 1985 JAMA article written by a panel headed by Martin Orne.
For impact of hypnosis on memory, see the Orne report which did not fully support using hypnosis for memory enhancement.
Regarding possible harm to a hypnotic subject in the 19th century, a young man’s death was attributed to nervousness and exhaustion and diabetes due to repeated hypnosis. Other studies of death (of chickens, of a frog) due to repeated hypnotization were published. Now the consensus is that hypnosis is not dangerous (but incompetence using hypnosis may be dangerous).