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Trance in Life Transitions: Hypnosis for Brain and Body 

Trance in Life Transitions: Hypnosis for Brain and Body
Trance in Life Transitions: Hypnosis for Brain and Body

David Spiegel

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date: 25 September 2021

In this chapter the role of hypnosis and related psychotherapeutic techniques is discussed in relation to the problems of aging. The physical toll that aging imposes is accompanied by mental distress about it. Somatic anxiety is addressed as a special form of mind-body problem involving reverberating interaction between mental and physical distress. The history of hypnosis as a therapeutic discipline is reviewed, after which neurobiological evidence of the effect of hypnosis on modulation of perception in the brain is presented. Specific brain regions involved in hypnosis are reviewed, notably the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The importance of hypnotizability as a trait, stable variability in hypnotic responsiveness, is discussed. Analogies between the hypnotic state and dissociative reactions to trauma are presented, and the uses of hypnosis in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, stressful situations, and phobias, as well as outcome data, are reviewed.

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