There are 2 main positions concerning the potential of hypnosis to coerce unconsenting behavior. One position asserts that coercion is possible through the induction of distorted perceptions which delude the hypnotized person into believing that the behavior suggested is not transgressive. The other position asserts that where hypnosis appears to be a causal factor in coercing behavior, other elements in the situation- especially a close hypnotist-client relationship-were the main determinants of behavior. The present paper analyzes the court transcript of a recent case in Australia in which a lay hypnotist was found guilty of 3 sexual offenses against 2 female clients. The uniqueness of the case is that it pits the 2 main positions on hypnotic coercion against each other. The hypnotist admitted the acts attributed to him; his defense was that hypnotic coercion is impossible since a hypnotized person would resist immediately any transgressive suggestion. The women involved stated that they were aware of what was happening but that, because they were hypnotized, they were unable to resist. Analysis of the court transcript indicates that neither a hypothesis of hypnotically induced perceptual distortion, nor one of a close hypnotist-client relationship can account for the events that occurred. Other alternative explanations are discussed within the context of the inherent difficulties of analyzing a court transcript.
Examines 3 legal cases involving controversy over the coercive power of hypnosis. Testimony from the Australian cases of R. v. Davies (1979) and R. v. Palmer (1977) and J. Hartland’s (see record 1974-28147-001) report of an alleged assault on a hypnotized woman highlight the opposing positions on the coercive potential of hypnosis. The first position is that coercion is possible through the induction of distorted perceptions, which delude the S into believing that the induced behavior does not violate moral codes. The opposing view is that hypnosis is not a causal factor in coercion, but may facilitate otherwise unacceptable behavior. This view suggests that individuals who carry out transgressive behavior under hypnosis already have the wish to do so, and are given the opportunity under hypnosis. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
The present case study of a 23‐year‐old woman begins by exploring post‐abortion distress in context with hypnosis and identifies particular themes across symptoms that indicate that hypnosis may be an appropriate adjunct to therapy for this problem. For treatment a three‐phase framework was used, as proposed by Brown (1995) for post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptom changes were monitored throughout the course of therapy in a multiple‐baseline study design. The client, S, also completed preand post‐therapy questionnaires. The therapeutic outcome is described with reference to data collected from weekly monitoring and from written feedback regarding her own feelings about the therapy. The results indicate that the therapeutic interventions improved specific symptoms as well as general mental health and it is concluded that hypnosis may be a particularly appropriate adjunct to therapy for post‐abortion distress. Copyright © 2002 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis