Scientific papers on hypnosis and brain injury

This is an attempt to make a complete up-to-date list of all literature pertaining to hypnosis and brain injury. I now consider the literature so big and dispersed that I feel quite confident that my list won’t be complete, but hopefully, it can get close. In each section, the most informative paper(s) are highlighted in green font.

This list contains many case-studies so there is likely a strong positive bias. I would advise reading the cases purely for methodological inspiration and look to the more systematic and comprehensive studies for an actual assessment of treatment effects.

I recommend reading the review by Appel (2003) as a start. It is a review on hypnosis for rehabilitation in general (not only brain injury) and is by far the most comprehensive review available so far, citing around half of the papers below.

As a side note, I was completely unaware of the scale of the literature when I undertook this search. The first version of this post contained around 10 papers and I considered it complete. One notable surprise is that the list of researchers now includes Milton Erickson and Aaron T. Beck in addition to John Kihlstrom.


Status (April 2018): Completed.

Summary of the literature: There are (large) positive effects of hypnosis on cognition following acquired brain injury.

  • Cui-ping, L. I. (2011). Influence of hypnosis therapy on recovery of hemorrhagic stroke. Journal of Taishan Medical College, 1, 025. (see my English translation and comments)
    An RCT showing large effects (SMD = 1.0 to 1.7) on Barthel, anxiety, and depression in stroke patients given ten sessions of hypnosis between one and twelve weeks after the injury onset. The study is relatively large with 120 treatment-as-usual patients of which 49 had additional adjunctive hypnosis. It was published in Chinese in a Chinese journal with impact factor 0.1, and it is unclear whether it was peer-reviewed. In general, there are many reasons to be skeptical of the quality of this paper. Nonetheless, everything else being equal, it does increase the probability that hypnosis can improve cognition following acquired brain injury. With the help of Chinese friends, I got hold of the paper and helped reading it. I’ve added a link to my translation in the reference above, containing comments to clarify particular unclear sections and dubious statistics
  • Lindeløv, J. K., Overgaard, R., & Overgaard, M. (2017). Improving working memory performance in brain-injured patients using hypnotic suggestion. Brain, 140(4), 1100–1106.
    Our study, showing a large specific effect on working memory performance of hypnotic suggestions involving the return to pre-injury (or normal) functioning. It’s an RCT with a total of 68 patients stratified to targeted hypnosis, an active control, and a passive control. The effect of four and eight treatment sessions is assessed with long-term follow-up.
  • Milos, R. (1975). Hypnotic exploration of amnesia after cerebral injuries. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis23(2), 103–110.
    This paper is not really on cognitive rehabilitation but it does manage to (temporarily) get retrospective reports of experiences that were otherwise inaccessible due to retrograde or anterograde amnesia during hypnosis in 7 out of 20 cases of severe injury. It was not checked whether these reports were accurate, so this is prone to confabulations or changes in response criterions rather than a true cancellation of amnesia.
  • Sullivan, D. S., Johnson, A., & Bratkovitch, J. (1974). Reduction of behavioral deficit in organic brain damage by use of hypnosis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 30(1), 96–98.
    Later we discovered this similar study had been carried out by Sullivan et al. (1974). The Sullivan study, however, had an intervention consisting of just seven sentences repeated twice – probably less than two minutes! They obtained a small positive effect on the Picture Completion task from the WAIS battery but not on the Binder-Gestalt test. They had a quite small sample, and the two-page article leaves many details unreported.
  • Vanhaudenhuyse, A., Laureys, S., & Faymonville, M.-E. (2015). The use of hypnosis in severe brain injury rehabilitation: a case report. Acta Neurologica Belgica115(4), 771–772.
    A brief report on a 50-year case with cerebral hemorrhage, who underwent hypnosis when he was deemed chronic with severe symptoms. Hypnosis sparked further improvement. As a side note, the authors write that “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study reporting on the integration of hypnosis as part of rehabilitation treatment of severe brain injury patients.” Well… 🙂

Motor disorders

Status (April, 2018): Approximately 70% completed. Needs a search for post-2000 literature, references, and citations

With the notable exception of Spankus & Freeman (1962) and Irawan et al. (2018), this literature consists largely of single-case studies, making it very vulnerable to publication bias. Confirming this, most studies report positive findings while Spankus & Freeman (1962) only report positive outcomes for four out of nineteen patients with cerebral palsy. Although somewhat disconcerting, this observation may not generalize to all of the literature given the large variability in the patient characteristics and treatment protocols between papers.

  • Alexander, L. (1966). Hypnosis in primarily organic illness. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis8(4), 250-253.
  • Appel, P. R. (1990). Clinical Applications of Hypnosis in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Setting: Three Case Reports. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 33(2), 85–93.
    See case number two.
  • Chappell, D. T. (1961a). A Psychological Approach to Traumatic Paraplegia: Use of Hypnosis. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 132(5), 432.
  • Chappell, D. T. (1961b). The Reduction of Spasticity in Paraplegia with Hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 3(4), 213–225.
  • Chappell, D. T. (1964). Hypnosis and Spasticity in Paraplegia. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 7(1), 33–36.
  • Crasilneck, H. B., & Hall, J. A. (1970). The use of hypnosis in the rehabilitation of complicate vascular and post-traumatic neurological patients. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 18(3), 145–159.
  • Diamond, S. G., Davis, O. C., Schaechter, J. D., & Howe, R. D. (2006). Hypnosis for rehabilitation after stroke: six case studies. Contemporary Hypnosis, 23(4), 173–180.
  • Holroyd, J., & Hill, A. (1989). Pushing the limits of recovery: Hypnotherapy with a stroke patient. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 37(2), 120–128.
    This is an RCT on 2 x 16 stroke patients. Although the descriptive statistics seem convincing, there are some red flags. For example, the journal seems a bit dubious, there are spelling/grammatical mistakes, and half of the citations are non-English. More content-related, the statistics are relatively poor, lacking the test of the crucial 2 (pre/post) x 2 (treatment/control) interaction term, which would be identical to the independent t-test on the change scores in each group. It does look like such a test would come out significant with a test would come out positive given the large improvement in the treatment group (d = 1) as compared to the control group (d = 0.1).
  • Manganiello, A. J. (1986). Hypnotherapy in the rehabilitation of a stroke victim: a case study. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 29(1), 64–68.
  • Mauersberger, K., Artz, K., Duncan, B., & Gurgevich, S. (2000). Can children with spastic cerebral palsy use self-hypnosis to reduce muscle tone? a preliminary study. Integrative Medicine, 2(2), 93–96.
  • Martin, J. (1983). Hypnosis also useful in rehabilitation therapy. JAMA, 249(12), 1536–1536.
  • Radil, T., Snýdrová, I., Háĉik, L., Pfeiffer, J., & Votava, J. (1988). Attempts to influence movement disorders in hemipareticsScandinavian journal of rehabilitation medicine. Supplement17, 157-161.
  • Safitri, K. H., Irawaty, D., & Masfuri, M. (2018). Effect Hypnotherapy for Increasing Muscle Strength in Stroke Patient with Hemiparesis. International Journal of Nursing, Health and Medicine, 1(1), 7–13. All alarms go off with this paper. An unknown journal, major grammatical errors (bordering on not being comprehensible), and major omissions in the reporting. Still, it’s a controlled study with 44 hemmorrhagic stroke patients, so it has larger weight than many other studies on this list. Says that “No publication of research like this before” which is obviously false, as is apparent from this list.
  • Seder, I. I., & Gelberd, M. B. (1964). Hypnosis as a Relaxant for the Cerebral Palsied Patient. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 6(4), 364–365.
  • Slater, R. C., & Flores, L. S. (1963). Hypnosis in organic symptom removal: A temporary removal of an organic paralysis by hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis5(4), 248-255.
  • Spankus, W. H., & Freeman, L. G. (1962). Hypnosis in cerebral palsy. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 10(3), 135–139.
  • Vodovnik, L., Roskar, E., Pajntar, M., & Gros, N. (1979). Modeling the voluntary hypnosis-induced motor performance of hemiparetic patients. IEEE Trans. on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, SMC-9 (12).
  • Yensen, R. (1963). Hypnosis and Movement Re-Education in Partially Paralysed Subjects. Perceptual and Motor Skills17(1), 211–222.

Citations without available abstract or full text below. Notice that the list includes papers on neuromuscular illnesses, even though these typically relate to the peripheral nerve system. But due to my inability to scan these papers, I keep them on the list in case they include cases of brain injury.

  • Baer, R. F. (1962). Hypnosis in the treatment of neuromuscular sequelae of injuries. Industrial medicine & surgery, 31, 315.
  • Kroger, W.S. (1970) Hypnosis therapy in neuromuscular disorders. Osteopathic Physician (1970), pp. 69-70, September.
  • Martin (1983, see above) cites a paper by Korn which I cannot find, saying: “At least Errol R. Korn, MD, can point to definite rehabilitative gains made by “dozens of patients” with stroke and spinal cord injuries in relearning the swallowing reflex, regaining muscle and balance control, and healing decubitus ulcers.”
  • Ortega DF (1978). Relaxation exercise with cerebral palsied adults showing spasticity. J Appl Behav Anal 11(4):447-451
  • E. Roskar, M. Pajntar, L. Vodovnik, and N. Gros (1977) Improvements of motor response in hemiplegic patients by means of hypnosis, in Proc. I st. Mediterranean Conf. on Med. and Biol. Engng., Sorrento, Italy, pp. 1-85-I-88.
  • E. Roskar, M. Pajntar, L. Vodovnik, and N. Gros (1978.) Improved neuromuscular activity of hemiparetic extremity due to hypnosis, Advances in External Control of Human Extremities, Yugoslav Committee for Electronics and Automation, Belgrade, pp. 257-268
  • Secter IL, Gilberd MB (1964). Hypnosis as a relaxant for the cerebral palsied patient. Am J Clin Hypn 6:363-364.
  • Shires EB, Peters JJ, Krout RM (1954) Hypnosis in neuromuscular re-education. U.S. Armed Forces Medical Journal 5: 1519–23.


Status (April 2018): Completed.

  • Kirkner, F. J., Dorcus, R. M., & Seacat, G. (1953). Hypnotic motivation of vocalization in an organic motor aphasic case. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 1(3), 47–49.
  • Laures, J. S., & Shisler, R. J. (2004). Complementary and alternative medical approaches to treating adult neurogenic communication disorders: a review. Disability and Rehabilitation, 26(6), 315–325.
    Contains a very short section (page 317-318) reviewing Thompson et al. (1986) and Manganielly (1986) (see this list). Finds the results promising but insufficient due to weaknesses from inconsistency in the former and lack of objective outcome measures in the latter.
  • Macfarlane, F. K., & Duckworth, M. (1990). The use of hypnosis in speech therapy: a questionnaire study. British Journal of Disorders of Communication25(2), 227-246.
    This is just a survey on usage frequencies without an assessment of effectiveness. Also covers non-neurological speech problems.
  • Mason, C. F. (1961). Hypnotic motivation of aphasics. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 9, 297–301.
  • McKeever, W. F., Larrabee, G. J., Sullivan, K. F., Johnson, H. J., Furguson, S., & Rayport, M. (1981). Unimanual tactile anomia consequent to corpus callosotomy: Reduction of anomic deficit under hypnosis. Neuropsychologia, 19(2), 179–190.
  • Moss, C. S. (1972). Recovery with aphasia: The aftermath of my stroke. Oxford, England: U. Illinois Press.
    This is a self-report (i.e., not a scientific paper) of a clinical neuropsychologist who suffered from aphasia following a cerebral vascular incident. Moss recovered well and reports, among other things, on hypnotherapy in the process.
  • Thompson, C. K., Hall, H. R., & Sison, C. E. (1986). Effects of hypnosis and imagery training on naming behavior in aphasia. Brain and Language, 28(1), 141–153.

   Citations without available abstract or full text:

  • Glazer, M. J. (1964). A comparison of performance of predominantly expressive aphasic patients before, during and after hypnosis: a thesis (Doctoral dissertation, Tulane University).


Status (April, 2018): Approximately 50% completed. Needs a systematic search, reference search, and citation search.

  • Eisenberg, M. G., & Jansen, M. A. (1983). Rehabilitation psychology: State of the art. Annual review of rehabilitation.This review contains a quite extensive section on hypnosis for dementias. Though this is superseded by Appel the (2003) review
  • Duff, S., & Nightingale, D. (2007). Alternative Approaches to Supporting Individuals With Dementia: Enhancing Quality of Life Through Hypnosis. Alzheimer’s Care Today, 8(4), 321. is an RCT with a treatment group, an active control group (discussion groups) and a treatment-as-usual group. The participants were recruited from care homes and had vascular dementia (acquired brain injury) or dementia (unspecified…), and a few Parkinson’s patients. The intervention was quite extensive with 36 weekly sessions of hypnosis or discussion and a 12-month follow-up after that. The outcome was a questionnaire-only assessment of Quality of Life with large effects on all aspects which were all maintained after 12 months, except for relaxation. The small sample size and the subjective nature of the report are reasons to be cautious, but otherwise, it’s some of the most informative data on hypnosis for dementias to date (2018).
  • Palmieri, A., Kleinbub, J. R., Calvo, V., Sorarù, G., Grasso, I., Messina, I., & Sambin, M. (2012). Efficacy of hypnosis-based treatment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a pilot study. Frontiers in psychology3, 465. A small sample of 8 ALS patients was treated using Ericksonian hypnosis during four weekly 45-minute sessions. A CD with the hypnotic induction was offered for daily home use. The effect sizes on (self-reported) depression, anxiety, and quality-of-life was beyond-large (cliff’s delta around 0.75) in general with some larger and some smaller. There were similar effects on relative-reported caregiver burden. While this study is stronger than case studies (eight times stronger?), the lack of control likely means that these effects are likely overestimated.
  • Elkins, G., Sliwinski, J., Bowers, J., & Encarnacion, E. (2013). Feasibility of clinical hypnosis for the treatment of parkinson’s disease: a case study. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis61(2), 172-182. Almost complete removal of tremor in a parkinson patient following three weekly hypnosis sessions. It’s hard to know from this case how well this generalizes, or whether there was something special (read: unrepresentative) about this patient.
  • Stambaugh, E. E. (1977). Hypnotic treatment of depression in the Parkinsonian patient: A case study. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis19(3), 185-186.

Not properly vetted for this list yet (copy-pasted from Appel (2003)):

  • H.J. Wain, D. Amen, B. Jabbari The effects of hypnosis on a Parkinsonian tremor: Case report with polygraph/EEG recordings.
    Am J Clin Hypn, 33 (1990), pp. 94-98
  • F.A. Buell, J.P. Biehl The influence of hypnosis on the tremor of Parkinson’s disease
    Journal of Disorders of the Nervous System, 10 (1949), pp. 20-23
  • H.W. Bird Varying hypnotizability in a case of Parkinsonism
    Bull Menninger Clin, 12 (1948), pp. 210-217
  • M. Witz, S. Kahn Hypnosis and the treatment of Huntington’s Disease
    Am J Clin Hypn, 34 (1991), pp. 79-90
  • R. Moldawsky Hypnosis as an adjunctive treatment in Huntington’s disease
    Am J Clin Hypn, 26 (1984), pp. 229-231
  • V. Stein Hypnotherapy of involuntary movements in an 82-year-old man
    Am J Clin Hypn, 23 (1980), pp. 128-131
  • D. Vann Successful hypnotherapy for anxiety neuroses in Huntingtonı́s chorea
    Med J Aust, 2 (1971), p. 166
  • G. Ambrose Multiple sclerosis and treatment by hypnotherapy
    Am J Clin Hypn, 3 (1955), pp. 203-209
  • R.F. Baer Hypnosis, An adjunct in the treatment of neuromuscular disease
    Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 41 (1960), pp. 514-515
  • J.T. Brunn Hypnosis and neurological disease: A case report
    Am J Clin Hypn, 8 (1966), pp. 312-313 (Link)
  • J.R. Dane Hypnosis for pain and neuromuscular rehabilitation with multiple sclerosis: Case summary, literature review, and analysis of outcomes
    Int J Clin Exp Hypn, 44 (1996), pp. 208-231
  • H. McCord Hypnotically hallucinated physical therapy with a multiple sclerosis patient
    Am J Clin Hypn, 5 (1963), p. 168
  • H. McCord Hypnosis and multiple sclerosis: A brief case report
    Am J Clin Hypn, 8 (1966), pp. 313-314
  • D.Y. Medd The use of hypnosis in multiple sclerosis: Four case studies
    Contemp Hypn, 9 (1) (1992), pp. 62-66
  • B. Strauss, S. Billie Hypnosis with cerebral palsy patients, and how may it be applied
    ASCH Newsletter, 26 (6) (1985), p. 2
  • R.F. Baer Hypnosis applied to bowel and bladder control in multiple sclerosis, syringomelia and traumatic transverse myelitis
    Am J Clin Hypn, 4 (1961), pp. 22-23
  • Also check out other papers by Duff. For example, is this a fulltext? Are they merely reporting the same results as Duff (2007) at earlier stages? 

Pain, vertigo, anxiety (in progress)

Status (April, 2018): Approximately 40% completed. Needs a systematic search, reference search, and citation search.

This is a catch-all category for directly unpleasant sequelae following acquired brain injury. Sullivan et al. (1974) hypothesized that they relieved anxiety. But they never directly assessed anxiety, so I presented it on the list for cognitive rehabilitation. Fromm (1964) and Gruenewald & Fromm (1967) tried to induce catastrophic anxiety in healthy subjects.

  • Cedercreutz, C., Lähteenmäki, R., & Tulikoura, J. (1976). Hypnotic treatment of headache and vertigo in skull injured patients. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 24(3–4), 195–201.
    This paper summarizes clinical results of 155 patients with pain and/or vertigo sequelae. So this is a large portion of evidence as compared to the rest of this list. As with the other case studies, it may be prone to experimenter bias. The reported effects are quite impressive in a median of three-to-four sessions to achieve complete symptom relief in more than half of the patients.
  • Laclave, L. J., & Blix, S. (1989). Hypnosis in the management of symptoms in a young girl with malignant astrocytoma: A challenge to the therapist. International journal of clinical and experimental hypnosis37(1), 6-14.
    A single-case study on a 6½-year old girl predominantly focused on nausea following chemotherapy. I still include it on this list because of the neurogenic nature of the disease.
  • Moss, D. (2018). I hurt so: hypnotic interventions and palliative care for traumatic brain injury. Annals of Palliative Medicine, 7(1), 151–158.
    Case study with a TBI patient. Hypnosis for pain and anxiety.
  • Sapp, M. (1992). Relaxation and hypnosis in reducing anxiety and stress. Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis, 13(2), 39-55. Stuff
  • Bertoni, F., Bonardi, A., Magno, L., Mandracchia, S., Martinelli, L., Terraneo, F., & Tonoli, S. (1999). Hypnosis instead of general anaesthesia in paediatric radiotherapy: report of three cases. Radiotherapy and oncology52(2), 185-190.
    Two cases of child patients with resected cerebellar tumors undergoing hypnotically induced general anesthesia.
  • Nolan, M. (2008). Hypnosis to enhance time limited cognitive-behaviour therapy for anxiety. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis36(1), 30-40.
    I was in doubt whether to include this on the list. It is the case of hypnosis with a client who self-reports transient ischemic attacks and fears a full-blown stroke, but there no direct evidence is reported for either. She did have high blood pressure and was subjected to bypass and other treatments.


Status (April 2018): Completed.

Take-home: Brain injured patients are as suggestible/hypnotizable as the general population

  • Laidlaw, T. M. (1993). Hypnosis and Attention Deficits After Closed Head Injury. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 41(2), 97–111.
    No difference in suggestibility on the HGSHS:A for young concussion patients relative to healthy controls.
  • Lindeløv, J. K., Overgaard, R., & Overgaard, M. (2017). Improving working memory performance in brain-injured patients using hypnotic suggestion. Brain, 140(4), 1100–1106.
    Our study tested 49 brain-injured patients on SHSS:C but did not compare them directly to healthy controls. However, looking at SHSS:C norms from other countries, the suggestibility of the patients seemed normal.
  • Kihlstrom, J. F., Glisky, M. L., McGovern, S., Rapcsak, S. Z., & Mennemeier, M. S. (2013). Hypnosis in the right hemisphere. Cortex, 49(2), 393–399.
    No difference in suggestibility between middle-aged stroke patients relative to young controls on AMSH.

General reviews

Status (April 2018): Completed.

  • Appel, P. R. (2003). Clinical hypnosis in rehabilitation. Seminars in Integrative Medicine, 1(2), 90–105.
    This is an impressive review of the field. For brain injury and neurological conditions, pages 96-97 are particularly relevant.
  • Appel, P. R. (2003) Clinical Hypnosis. In S. Wainapel, & A. Fast (Eds.) Alternative Medicine and Rehabilitation: A guide for practitioners. NY: Demos
    This is basically a shortened version of the excellent other Appel (2003) review. Pages 224-227 are especially relevant for neurological cases.
  • Wainapel, S. E., & Fast, A. (2002). Alternative Medicine and Rehabilitation: A Guide for Practitioners (1 edition). New York: Demos Medical.
    There is a short review on hypnosis for rehabilitation of motor dysfunction, aphasia, etc. on page 225-227. Most, if not all, of the cited literature by Weinapel is on the present list.

Citations without available abstract or full texts:

  • Wright, M. E. (1960) Hypnosis and rehabilitation. Rehabilit. Lia, 21(1), 2-12.
  • LaScolla, R. (1975). Hypnosis in stroke rehabilitation. In Scientific Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Am Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
  • Feher, T.L. (1987) Hypnosis in clinical neurology. In W. Wester (Ed.), Clinical Hypnosis: A Case Management Approach, Behavioral Science Center Inc. Publications, Cincinnati, OH
  • Celinski, M.J. (1992) Hypnosis in neurological rehabilitation. In W. Bongartz (Ed.), Hypnosis: 175 years after Mesmer-Recent developments in theory and application, Universitaetsverlag, Konstanz, Germany, pp. 357-362
  • Halama, P. (1993). Hypnotherapy for stroke patients. Hypnos20(3), 154-162.
  • Spellacy, F. (1992). Hypnotherapy following traumatic brain injuries. Hypnos19(1), 34-39.

Papers not fitting into the above categories

  • Gravitz, M. A. (1981). Non-verbal hypnotic techniques in a centrally deaf brain-damaged patient. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis29(2), 110-116.
  • Erickson, M. H. (1963). Hypnotically Oriented Psychotherapy in Organic Brain Damage. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 6(2), 92–112.
    A case of hemiparesis, aphasia, and hyperalgesia following some vascular anomalities. This is Milton Erickson! After 11-months of no progress, Erickson takes on therapy in (at least) five months. There was great progress in this time, though it is not self-evident that this can be attributed to the intervention given the extensive duration of the intervention. His strategy relies heavily on frustrating the patient including lying, overruling, deceiving, etc. in front of others. I personally find his approach appalling. There is very little formal hypnosis in this paper.
  • Beck, A. T., & Guthrie, T. (1956). Psychological Significance of Visual Auras: Study of Three Cases with Brain Damage and Seizures. Psychosomatic Medicine, 18(2), 133–142. (link to PDF)
    Epilepsy following acquired brain injury. Hypnosis was employed in two cases to reveal painful emotional memories connected to the aura. Yes, Aaron T. Beck, the father of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) did a study on hypnosis and acquired brain injury!
  • Mittenberg, W., & Burton, D. B. (1994). A survey of treatments for post-concussion syndrome. Brain Injury, 8(5), 429–437.
    Simply shows the result of a survey, that 5.1 % (around 7 out of 165) of therapists use hypnotherapy for post-concussion patients. This is the only mention of hypnosis in the article.

Brain injury “models” in non-injured humans

Status (April 2018): Probably completed. But needs systematic search, reference search, citation search.

Take-home: healthy subjects can be hypnotized to play the role of brain-injured patients, but they are probably not realistic brain-injury models.

  • Fromm, E., Sawyer, J., & Rosenthal, V. (1964). Hypnotic simulation of organic brain damage. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 69(5), 482.
    Hypnotized subjects (n=9) to believed that they had sustained an organic brain injury. After “hypnotic brain injury,” the subjects who experienced being in deep hypnosis were judged to be more “organic” by blinded neuropsychologists than under “hysterical” and no-hypnosis conditions, in which they were judged to be non-injured. The results from this study failed to replicate in a methodologically superior follow-up in Gruenwald & Fromm (1967).
  • Gruenewald, D., & Fromm, E. (1967). Hypnosis, simulation, and brain damage. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 72(2), 191–192. 
    Replication of Fromm et al. (1964) with an improved method, controlling for more potential confounders. There were no difference between the hypnosis and control group judgment, actual score, or subjective experience.
  • Wagstaff, M., Parkes, M., & Hanley, J. R. (2001). A comparison of posthypnotic amnesia and the simulation of amnesia through brain injury. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 1(1), 67–78.
    Like Fromm (1964), but adds malingering-detection tests to the test battery, showing that “hypnotically brain injured” healthy subjects indeed do act as malingerers, not as real brain-injured patients.

Search strategy and current status of this list

Google Scholar was searched using the term “hypnosis OR “hypnotic suggestion” brain-injury OR brain-damage OR stroke OR hemiplegia OR paraplegia OR “traumatic brain” OR “diffuse axonal” OR hemorrhage”. The reference list of all hits for which I had access to full texts were scanned. For some papers, the list of papers citing that paper were scanned too, using Google Scholar.

Next steps (my to do):

  • Read Appel (2003) thoroughly again for more keywords to search on.
  • Make a histogram of publication years relative to general science publication volume.
  • Do searches on post-concussion syndrome?
  • Dementias? start with this Duff search.

Identified papers that I need to screen/comment:

  • Look into Apparently contains something on hypnosis and brain injury
  • Appel PR: Performance enhancement in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Am J Clin Hypn 35:11-19, 1992

Highlight these as best-quality (not necessarily “very good”!) publications in their field:

  • Lindeløv
  • Irawan
  • Duff
  • Cedercreutz
  • Laidlaw
  • Appel (2003)
  • Wagstaff