Hypnotic relaxation therapy to enhance subjective well-being among college students : a pilot study.
Given that high levels of well-being have been demonstrated to precede many desirable outcomes and low levels of well-being predict future depressive symptomatology, it is important to identify interventions that can enhance well-being. While the potential for hypnotherapy to facilitate well-being has been proposed, empirical study is lacking. To date, only two studies have investigated the use of hypnotherapy to enhance well-being by focusing on strengths and inner resources. However, both studies lack a well-defined hypnotherapeutic intervention, which limits their generalizability and replicability. The purpose of this study is to address this issue and investigate the effect of Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy (HRT) to enhance subjective well-being in a pilot study. HRT is a well-defined hypnotherapy intervention that involves hypnotic relaxation inductions, goal-directed hypnotic suggestions, and teaching self-hypnosis. Twenty-seven college students were enrolled in a five-week intervention of HRT and instructed in daily home practice. Participants completed baseline and endpoint measures of well-being (Mental Health Continuum-Short Form, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule) and symptoms of psychological distress (Psychological Distress Profile). After the five-week intervention, hypnotizability was assessed using the Elkins Hypnotizability Scale. The results of this study suggest that Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy for enhancing subjective well-being may be a feasible intervention, with high rates of retention, compliance with home-practice, and satisfaction with the number of sessions, the ease of practice, and the HRT intervention overall. Compared to baseline, the participants in this study experienced improvements in subjective well-being as well as reductions in symptoms of psychological distress at endpoint. Hypnotizability was not found to be a moderator for subjective well-being in this study.