Psychedelics and hypnosis : Commonalities and therapeutic implications, Clément E. Lemercier, Devin B. Terhune, 2018

Psychedelics and hypnosis : Commonalities and therapeutic implications

Clément E. Lemercier, Devin B. Terhune

Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2018, 32, 7, 732-740.

DOI : 10.1177/0269881118780714



Background : Recent research on psychedelics and hypnosis demonstrates the value of both methods in the treatment of a range of psychopathologies with overlapping applications and neurophenomenological features. The potential of harnessing the power of suggestion to influence the phenomenological response to psychedelics toward more therapeutic action has remained unexplored in recent research and thereby warrants empirical attention.

Aims : Here we aim to elucidate the phenomenological and neurophysiological similarities and dissimilarities between psychedelic states and hypnosis in order to revisit how contemporary knowledge may inform their conjunct usage in psychotherapy.

Methods : We review recent advances in phenomenological and neurophysiological research on psychedelics and hypnosis, and we summarize early investigations on the coupling of psychedelics and hypnosis in scientific and therapeutic contexts.

Results/outcomes : We highlight commonalities and differences between psychedelics and hypnosis that point to the potential efficacy of combining the two in psychotherapy. We propose multiple research paths for coupling these two phenomena at different stages in the preparation, acute phase and follow-up of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in order to prepare, guide and integrate the psychedelic experience with the aim of enhancing therapeutic outcomes.

Conclusions/interpretation : Harnessing the power of suggestion to modulate response to psychedelics could enhance their therapeutic efficacy by helping to increase the likelihood of positive responses, including mystical-type experiences.

Keywords : Consciousness, hypnosis, psychedelics, psychotherapy, suggestion