Today, many advocates of hypnosis claim for it significant therapeutic benefits as an anesthetic, a method for controlling labor pains, an element in the treatment of dermatological conditions, and a way of gaining relief from certain types of chronic illness. But all such claims presuppose that the advocates of hypnosis are correct in assuming the existence of a 'trance state' in which these phenomena can take place, and in their beliefs about just how susceptible the general population is to being hypnotized. It would seem, therefore, that even before one gets to the therapeutic claims, these prior assumptions and beliefs must be critically evaluated. This book brings together the work of twenty researchers who seek to analyze the evidence for hypnotic susceptibility, trance states, non-voluntary behavior, posthypnotic amnesia, the perceptual effects of hypnosis (temporal and otherwise), and more. Throughout these essays the experience of hypnosis is placed within a social psychological context, which the editors believe more accurately explains the phenomena by comparing it to other individual and social behavior.
In addition, this fascinating volume discusses socio-political factors affecting popular and clinical attitudes toward hypnosis and offers suggestions regarding future research.