My initial fascination with hypnosis began as a child watching movies. I vividly recall Bela Lugosi’s eyes as he mesmerizes others throughout the movie Dracula. I wondered if that could really happen. Like many, my first impressions of hypnosis were based on movies and books. I considered hypnosis fantasy, in the same category as hobbits, unicorns and dragons; great for storytelling, but not real, with no practical use. When I trained as a psychologist I was reintroduced to hypnosis during a personality class which included a demonstration of hypnosis with a willing classmate. My classmate and professor conducted a question and answer session following the demonstration. I slowly began to acknowledge that hypnosis may have applications for change; however the effectiveness of behavioral approaches became my major interest. Behavior therapy relied on observed behavior while hypnosis was considered to be an unconscious process. Behavioral therapy and hypnosis appeared irreconcilable.
As I became more acquainted with the history of behavioral therapy, I came across early examples of the use of hypnosis in behavior therapy including Joseph Wolpe’s systematic desensitization, and others. The role of hypnosis was not discussed during my training in behavior theory and therapy. Little acknowledgement and training in hypnosis was offered during my graduate classes. I did attend a brief seminar introducing hypnosis as a relaxation technique.
Upon graduation my first psychology job was at a medical center. My clinical supervisor had many interests, including hypnosis. Interns and newly minted psychologists, like me, were invited to attend his lectures and demonstrations of hypnosis. These seminars provided my initial training in hypnosis. My interest in behavior therapy continued but was now augmented with an increasing interest in cognitive therapy. I considered hypnosis a side interest and did not attempt to use it with patients that were receiving cognitive and behavioral therapy. I attended a beginner’s workshop at an American Society of Clinical Hypnosis conference, and continued my training with a consultant, Marc Oster. He suggested that I consider presenting an integrated model of hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy for his class in hypnosis. Years later, this resulted in the edited 2005 title, The Clinical Use of Hypnosis in Cognitive Behavior Therapy: A Practitioner's Casebook. This book presented multiple views of this integration process written by authors quite knowledgeable about hypnosis and cognitive behavior theory and therapy.
I presented the findings of this book at conferences and found that many of the participants were eager for a practical guide to this integration process. Reflecting on my own journey in this integration process, I decided a work book outlining this integration would be very helpful for clinicians trained either in cognitive behavioral therapy or in clinical hypnosis, the result is my latest title, Integrating Clinical Hypnosis and CBT: Treating Depression, Anxiety, and Fears.
Essentially, I set out to write the book that I needed when I began this journey of integration. This book systematically presents hypnotic and cognitive behavioral strategies that can be used with a variety of clients. Beginning and more advanced clinicians may find useful strategies for their work with clients with anxiety, depression and fears.
This book is the result of my journey in conceptualization and practice of this integration using a very old practice of hypnosis with the current cognitive behavioral therapy. It is hoped that both clinical practitioners and their clients will benefit from my journey.