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Presse Med. 2016 Mar;45(3):284-90. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2015.12.002. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

[Hypnosis for anxiety and phobic disorders: A review of clinical studies].

[Article in French]

Author information

AP-HP, hôpitaux universitaires Henri-Mondor, université Paris-Est Créteil, service de psychiatrie sectorisée, Inserm U955 IMRB, fondation FondaMental, 40, rue de Mesly, 94000 Créteil, France. Electronic address:



Hypnosis is classically presented as a useful psychotherapy for various psychiatric conditions, especially in the field of stress and anxiety. However, its place in therapeutic of chronic anxiety disorders remains unclear and questioned. Thus, the goal of this systematic review was to analyse the papers reporting clinical data on the efficacy of hypnosis in anxiety disorders.


A literature search was conducted on Pubmed to retrieve all original papers, published between 1980 and 2015, reporting clinical information on the efficacy of hypnosis in six categories of anxiety disorders. Each paper has been assessed from a methodological point of view, and the results have been analysed.


Only three controlled studies have been identified, one in panic disorder and two in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The other papers related open-design studies (4 articles), or single case reports (20 articles). The controlled study conducted in panic disorder suggested that the combination of hypnosis with cognitive-behavior therapy was not an effective strategy, and this negative result was also obtained in one of the studies conducted in PTSD. The third study, including 48 Indonesian children with PTSD, showed a significant improvement with a specific hypnosis technique adapted to the local culture. Other papers related also positive results but in non-controlled studies or in case reports, their conclusions cannot be generalized.


To date, evidence is negative or insufficient to support the efficacy of hypnosis in chronic anxiety disorders, in any categories whatsoever - including phobia or PTSD. Specific further studies are needed to identify some potential profiles predictive of response to hypnosis in these conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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