Using Hypnosis to Develop and Test Models of Psychopathology

Erik Woody, Henry Szechtman


We illustrate some of the unique ways in which hypnotic suggestions can be used to develop and test models of psychopathology. In particular, a study of hypnotic hallucinations is described, focusing on its value for probing the underlying nature of hallucinations, including their neural underpinnings. We discuss how this work led us to view OCD behavior as having qualities in some ways opposite to those of hallucinations, an insight which subsequently led to the development of a new theory of OCD, which is briefly reviewed. Finally, an experimental test of the plausibility of this theory using appropriate hypnotic suggestions is described.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder; hypnosis; hallucinations; anterior cingulate; feeling of knowing; models

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The Journal of Mind–Body Regulation