Effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy for public speaking anxiety

Date of Completion

January 1993


Psychology, Clinical




A cognitive behavioral hypnotherapy was compared to cognitive behavior therapy and a wait-list control group in the treatment of public speaking anxiety. The hypnotic treatment included hypnotic inductions, suggestions for improvement, and self-hypnosis, as well as the components of the cognitive behavioral treatment program. All treatment was conducted in small groups with markedly anxious participants. Adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioral treatment produced greater improvement in public speaking anxiety than did cognitive behavior therapy alone. Both treatment conditions were superior to the control group. Attitudes toward hypnosis and level of hypnotizability were examined as characteristics useful for matching clients to treatment, however they failed to predict improvement in either treatment group. Attitudes toward hypnosis improved significantly among participants in the hypnotic treatment, but not among participants in the other two conditions. Expectancy for change in anxiety was a consistent predictor of treatment outcome. Participants who expected reduced anxiety at posttreatment assessment were improved on a variety of outcome measures. The hypnotic treatment generated expectancies for greater change among participants than did the non-hypnotic treatment. Implications for the use of hypnosis in treatment are discussed. ^