Full title: Gazing Back, Playing Forward: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Musings on the Relational Essence of Hypnotherapeutic Action.
To build bridges between hypnosis and contemporary psychoanalysis, this article addresses how hypnosis, when used in psychotherapy, facilitates curative action through its relational essence. The author's extensive experience with hypnosis, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis orient the narrative toward the unconscious patient-therapist interaction, with particular attention paid to the ethics of the inherent hypnotic seduction. Whether used primarily in relief-oriented ways or geared toward more transformative therapeutic aims, powerful unconscious factors are in play for both patient and therapist and are explicated to illustrate the interactive and frequently unformulated, intersubjective factors that facilitate effective, psychotherapeutic hypnosis. Consequently, therapists attuned to such intersubjective dynamics can make use of their own internal mental activities to understand a patient's current state of mind and level of developmental functioning, and thereby subsequently formulate mutative interventions. For instance, because hypnotizability reflects the ability to play in imaginative space, the regression promoted in hypnotherapy may activate both an illusion of omnipotence and its optimal disillusionment through the relational context. This requires going beyond more traditional, procedural ways of bifurcating hypnotic interventions as being either direct or indirect and instead further distinguish hypnotic interventions in accordance with their maternal and paternal relational dimensions. Arguably, then, the skillful hypnotherapist needs to maintain a coupling interplay between the maternal, maximally receptive and the paternal, more active modes of functioning within hypnotic play space.
Am J Clin Hypn. 2020 Jul-Oct;62(1-2):12-30. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2019.1580558.