This article develops the idea that hypnosis is an interactive phenomenon occurring in a relational matrix. A tripartite model for explicating this relational matrix is presented, which includes a discussion of transference, contemporary relationship factors, and the interaction of these to produce a sense of therapeutic alliance. These relationship factors are central to the therapeutic action of hypnosis as a vehicle to potentiate change and growth. The unique and specific contribution of each of these factors to the process of hypnotherapy and to therapeutic action is examined. Phenomenologically, this relational interaction is conceptualized as occurring in transitional space, shaped by processes of regression and attunement. From this perspective, the hypnotherapist is viewed as a kind of transitional object whose empathic presence contains and facilitates those interactive phenomena which evoke and balance the transferential and contemporary aspects of the relationship and which allow for uniquely evocative developmentally focused interventions in trance work. Several examples are presented from an ongoing case that demonstrate how these relational variables shape the hypnotherapeutic process and how they can be used for uncovering and self-examination, for structural maturation, for affect regulation, and for emerging ego mastery. The therapeutic action demonstrated relies on hypnotic interventions rooted in the various components of the relational matrix made possible by the clinician's awareness of and attunement to these and by hisor her informed and sensitive management of them and of his or her own intersubjectivity. Specific strategies are presented via these examples to effectively utilize this experience in the service of treatment goals.
Am J Clin Hypn. 2020 Jul-Oct;62(1-2):31-59. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2019.1585328.