Book Reviews — Hypnotherapy for Health, Harmony, and Peak Performance: Expanding the Goals of Psychotherapy by Catherine Walters and Ronald A. Havens

CATHERINE WALTERS AND RONALD A. HAVENS: Hypnotherapy for Health, Harmony, and Peak Performance: Expanding the Goals of Psychotherapy. Brunner/Mazel, New York, 1993, 209 pp., $38.95 (including 42-minute accompanying audiotape).


Psychotherapists have much to learn from the healthy. Too long and exclusively have we focused on locating and eradicating pathology. Such an illness-centered paradigm has constricted our consideration of what makes healthy people well. And perhaps, argue Walters and Havens, locating and creating sources of wellness is the arena in which we now need to be expanding our knowledge and psychotherapeutic skills. Citing research findings from the disparate fields of cancer, wellness, psychoimmunology, social psychology, neonatology, transcendental meditation, and sports psychology (to name a few), Walters and Havens pinpoint optimism, altruism, social interconnectedness, a sense of self-efficacy, and sensory pleasure as capacities repeatedly linked with a strong immune system, and, thus, good physical health. Furthermore, the capacity for full attentional absorption in one’s activities is linked with the phenomenological experience of happiness as well as the actual peak performance behavior of elite athletes. Thus, reason Walters and Havens, if we can create these capacities in our patients, might we not enhance their quality of life? Also, perhaps, might we not decrease vulnerability to future mental and physical disorders, or alleviate symptomatology of those already stricken? The tool the authors present to accomplish such a goal is hypnotic trance; more specifically, Ericksonian hypnotic trance.

The strength of this volume is its accessibility to the reader. It is brief, easy to read, and full of immediately applicable examples (e.g., fully worded scripts for a variety of hypnotic inductions; step-by-step instructions on how to write new scripts, an audiotape demonstrating pacing, rhythm, and inflection of delivery). …

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