The Adaptive Experiential Theory of Hypnosis: Clinical Implications and Utilization

Presented by Cameron T. Alldredge, PhD

Recorded on Friday, December 8, 2023

Access provided upon registration on “My Courses Page

This presentation will explore a recently proposed theory of hypnosis called the adaptive experiential theory. This new theory is predicated on Epstein’s cognitive-experiential self-theory, a dual-process model that provides a comprehensive understanding of the rational system and the experiential system. While these two systems work together in synergy, they function quite differently in terms of their characteristics and methods. The rational system, which is influenced by logic and reason, demands a significant amount of cognitive resources and operates with concentrated effort, while displaying minimal emotional influence. On the other hand, the experiential system is powered by emotions, relies on associations, and encodes reality through images and feelings effortlessly, without conscious exertion.

According to the adaptive experiential theory, the ability to engage in complex hypnotic responses can be attributed to an individual’s capacity to adapt and consciously transition from predominantly using the rational system to the experiential system. Having a stronger connection with the experiential system leads to shifts in how reality is processed, enabling hypnotic suggestions to be internalized and put into action with less interference from the rational system. It is assumed that emotional and psychological problems arise primarily from the experiential system and most psychotherapeutic approaches are designed to try to influence that system with varying success. This presentation will highlight implications this theory has for the clinical use of hypnosis and assessing hypnotizability and will emphasize the idea that content and language of hypnotic suggestions matter.

Access provided upon registration on “My Courses Page

This program, when attended in its entirety, offers 1.5 CEs for Psychologists, 1.5 IL CEUS for Counselors and Social Workers, or 1.5 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSW, and LMFTs.