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  1. Wendy Phillips1,
  2. Jason Price2,
  3. Paul D Molyneux1,
  4. Quinton Deeley3
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2 Department of Neuropsychology, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Wendy Phillips, Department of Neurology, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK; w.phillips2{at}


Clinical hypnosis is an important therapeutic tool with an increasingly understood cognitive and neurobiological basis, and evidence for efficacy. Hypnosis involves controlled modulation of components of cognition—such as awareness, volition, perception and belief—by an external agent (the hypnotist) or by oneself (self-hypnosis) employing suggestion. In this article, we describe what hypnosis is, how it can be used in clinical settings, and how it is done.

  • hysteria
  • neuropsychiatry

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  • Contributors WP wrote the first draft. JP, QD and PDM edited the draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed by Mark Edwards, London, UK.

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