With respect to sexuality, there is great promise. A case in point is Araoz (1996) whose work for two decades includes over one hundred specialized publications, many with clinical case illustrations. However, quantitative research is needed in order to definitely confirm the usefulness of hypnosis in this area. Ours is a world where medications alter human conduct with big publicity campaigns from pharmaceutical companies promising immediate success despite the proven risks. Hypnotherapy for sexual dysfunctions will complement the strategically prudent use of medication in order to facilitate and maintain the desired results.
When it comes to the use of hypnosis in depression, there is enthusiasm among hypnotherapists but there are no conclusive studies and a questioning posture is still in order. The same attitude is needed towards anxiety disorders, phobias, panic attacks and psychosomatic disorders (which were dealt with in the first part of this review). In other words, so far it seems that reactive or situational depressions can benefit from hypnotic techniques of age progression, time distortion, tasks prescriptions, ordeals and rituals (Torres, 1999). Hypnosis is not recommended in psychotic cases, whether depressive, borderline or schizophrenic.
The reasons are first, that trance introduces dissociative elements, both in the cognitive area and in behavior; second, that hypnotic language is metaphorical and not as logical as in ordinary consciousness and third, that hypnosis works well with confusion, with surprises and wonder, with sensory, spacial and time distortions. In the hands of other than a true expert this type of communication may elicit paranoid or aggressive reactions, as well as cognitive confusion and disorganization with great anguish and psychotic symptomatology.
It seems that clinical creativity requires a bond and a balance in the therapeutic relationship. A distorted therapeutic interaction, often more to serve the needs of the professional than those of the patient, can end in a relational pathology between the two with unpredictable negative consequences. Final Summary The future of hypnotherapy points in five different growth directions, as mentioned earlier: (1) mind/body relationship; (2) psychoneuroimmunology; (3) chronobiology, (4) education/communication and (5) systemic therapy of couples, families and similar groups such as corporations.
With the first four having a promising reach, the growth of hypnosis in the context of systemic therapy merits special attention. When systemic therapy [initially limited to couples and families but now extended to corporations] is conducted hypnotically, we find terms as induction vs. counter-induction, meaning the induction of symptoms and the therapeutic counter-induction. When the work is with physically and sexually abused patients, bewitching vs. hypnosis, making the difference between them on the basis of whether the person gives consent or not. (Perrone & Nannini, 1998; Ritterman, 1988).
However, this terminology may lead to contradictory understandings in highly pathological family systems with their double binds or in psychotic and psychosomatic families where hypnosis and bewitchment seem to belong to similar experiences at least in the perception of the individual family member. To define bewitchment as a form of non-consenting hypnosis may create confusion in the therapeutic context with the prescription of reparation rituals, either imaginary or through mental rehearsal, using metaphors, parables and analogies, as counter-bewitching beginning the change at the emotional, cognitive and behavioral levels.
There is agreement that hypnosis is a dissociated state in which the dissociation is between the consciousness and the unconscious minds. Because of this hypnotic reality is experienced by the person with diminished critical judgment and increased primary process thinking, with openness to new ways of understanding things and reacting to them, with a future orientation, with focalization of attention and a tendency to accept suggestions and remain at the imaginary level of thinking.
This is why hypnosis can be understood as a kind of “hypnolysis” of the traumatic experiences from past pathological contexts when the symptoms were induced hypnogenctically (trancegenesis). Hypnosis seems to have revived in the clinical treatment of cases of stress and PTSD, physical and sexual abuse, eating disorders, addictions and sexual dysfunctions. This new vitality originates in the better knowledge of the origins and development of those pathological states. Now we can conceptualize them as constantly evolving in theoretical understanding and in the techniques to deal with them.