Orne, M.T. A book review of Moodie, M.D., W., Hypnosis in treatment. In Psychosomatic Medicine, 1965, 27, 582-583.

Hypnosis in Treatment William Moodie, M.D.

Emerson Books, Inc., New York, 1960 168 pp., $4.00.

This book is one of a series that has appeared in recent years with the resurgence of interest in the clinical use of hypnosis. It was written by an English psychiatrist of wide experience. However, many of the comments will strike the American psychoanalytically oriented reader as superficial, perhaps even quaint. It reflects the differences in viewpoint between English and American psychiatry.

The book, of 168 pages, is divided into some 23 chapters. Sixty pages are devoted to general considerations, preliminary interview, the hypnotic session, selecting patients for treatment, etc. Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of this volume is the emphasis on the relationship rather than the hypnotic intervention as such. It acts as a useful antidote to those advocates of hypnotherapy who would ascribe whatever results are obtained to the fact that hypnosis was used. In discussing the relationship, Dr. Moodie deals with those aspects of hypnotherapy which the present reviewer sees as vital and all too often ignored.

The book seems to address itself not so much to the psychiatrist but rather to the medical profession at large. Its real purpose is not quite clear to this reviewer since it is by no means adequate as a guide to the actual undertaking of hypnotherapeutic procedures, especially by nonpsychiatrists, while, at the same time, it deals primarily with the kind of psychotherapeutic intervention most usually undertaken by psychiatrists. Over-all, the book is very readable and expresses the author's personality and mode of thinking. The orientation is in terms of "common sense psychiatry" only slightly modified and not basically altered by concepts derived from psychoanalysis. While it is refreshing to find a sensible point of view expressed in English with little jargon, the loose use of the analytic concepts and words like hypnoanalysis is bound to offend the American readers.

The major weakness of the book is its clinical examples which make the task of the therapist sound quite simple. Undoubtedly the author must be a very charismatic and supportive therapist and appears to have been able to achieve surprising results on the basis of short-term therapy. One cannot help feeling there is significant oversimplification in the presentation. If one were to accept at face value the descriptions and attempt to do likewise, it is doubtful that the kind of results reported in the book would be achieved. While lip service is



paid to insight, it would seem that the results reported must be viewed as transference cures and that the insight obtained in the rather rapid fashion probably had little to do with the results.

In many ways the approach taken by the author resembles that of American workers around the turn of the century, like Coriat. On the other hand, many of the comments, especially on the relationship between patient and therapist, are meaningful and to the point. Perhaps a volume of this kind serves a useful purpose in reminding us of insights buried under theoretical sophistication. It appears that the approach taken by the author achieved positive results in his hands. It may help the reflective therapist not only to learn something about one man's use of hypnotherapy, but also to take a new look at current psychotherapeutic thinking and reintegrate some almost forgotten approaches still useful in the treatment of neuroses.


The preceding paper is a reproduction of the following book review (Orne, M.T. A book review of Moodie, M.D., W., Hypnosis in treatment. In Psychosomatic Medicine, 1965, 27, 582-583.) ©1965 by American Psychosomatic Society. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ©.