Responding and Failing to Respond to Both Hypnosis

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Resisting treatment is a common situation more so with psychotherapy patients. Testing and confirming that a patient is resisting treatment is a difficult situation that each psychiatrist is face with at any one time or the other. According to Karlin and McKeon (1976), resistance to treatment can be tested by using the Chevreul’s pendulum. A Chevreul’s pendulum is a small pendulum that is usually tied to the fingers of a patient which is believed to move independently, that is without the control of the patient. This movement is then amplified by the pendulum to generate kinesthetic illusion.

According to Orne and Dinges (1989), the Chevreul’s pendulum may be used in two ways that is: in clinical induction, and when the patient in question has blocked the ideomotor effect and hence preventing the pendulum from swinging. Basing on this, there is no proven evidence that shows that if no movement is recorded in the pendulum, the patient is not always ready to respond. According to a study carried out by Easton and Shor in the 1970’s, any movement that is recorded in a Chevreul’s pendulum is a kind of an imaginative movement mainly caused by external forces. In order to investigate whether the lack of movement is situation specific or it is a general inability of patients to produce and express imaginative movement. We carried two experiments:  Personal Experiences Questionnaire (PEQ; Shor, 1961) and Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, where we came up with a conclusion that the failure of the Chevreul’s pendulum would not only lead to the patients scoring poorly both subjectively and objectively, but also make them develop some negativity towards the experiment than their counterparts who showed the signs of movements. In most cases, the failure of Chevreul’s pendulum is from a situation specific opposition rather that one being unable to be involved.

The participants were 200 male undergraduate psychology students who were volunteers in the program but were paid $10 to cover for their expenses. The students who were the best on the first test were the ones who were taken to participate on the next level. The hypnosis level had 45 events which have a tendency of occurring in the everyday’s life. The test was based on a questionnaire yes or no answer with yes indicating that the event has at onetime occurred to that student. The SHSS test was later carried out then followed by a CP test. After that all participants completed their inventory that aimed to gather information on how subjective or objective they were towards hypnosis. They were debriefed and after some few days follow up telephone calls were made to each student. 65 showed CP movements with direction change within 60 seconds span in each event of CP while 10 failed the tests.

 In the analysis of the results from the test, multivariate analysis was carried out. In MANOVA, independent test variables were: the performance of CP and the type of character in question. This was by the use of Blacky picture test.  The dependent variables were: A scores, the relaxation index, and the subjective hypnotizability. There was a greater in MANOVA between the failed participants and those who failed. The students who did not pass the task behaved negatively towards hypnosis compared to those who did pass the test.

Mean response to the personal experiences questionnaire was also used in the analysis. It was aimed to check the validity of the hypothesis of general inability. In consideration of the hypnotic like experiences, there was no big difference between those who passed and those who failed. 

The third method was analyzing the correlations between PEQ intensity scores and other dependent variables. This test showed that the score majorly correlated with the level of subjectivity towards hypnosis. The PEQ did not seem to correlate with SHSS. One tailed level of significance test was carried out in order to find out the correlation of PEQ with each SHSS variable. This showed the difference between the fail and pass group. This correlation was between the expected margins. By critically analyzing those who scored low on the SHSS, there was a direct relationship in the number that passes the SHSS and those who passed the CP scores. Only 3 people who scored poorly in SHSS passed in CP tests.


This research shows that people who are poor in demonstrating movement in CP have a tendency of performing poorly in modern hypnosis scales. In terms of SHSS, those who fail, perform poorly than those who pass the CP tests. This was one research that supports Eysenck and Furneaux (1945). As predicted, there arose no big difference in the performance of PEQ for those who failed and passed the CP tests. Therefore, the groups had the same level of frequency and intensity of spontaneous hypnotic-like experiences in their daily lives. As also predicted by the situation specific hypothesis, on the SHSS and the CP equipment, there results were positively correlated for those who passed the test while negatively correlated for those who failed the test. It is therefore evident that for the students who were ready to be involved, the hypnotic experiences in their day to day lives positively correlated with the hypnosis instructions administered to them both subjectively and objectively. This purely indicates that the people who are willing to participate are always at more ease and they work in a cooperative manner compared to those not prepared. This is due to the fact that when one is relaxed, they are able to use their cognitive skills that they posses and therefore able to cooperate compared to the time that one is scared and unease.

The group that failed to show any movement in their CP tests shows a negative correlation between the PEQ scores and SHSS scores. To this group of people, it is observed that the lesser the hypnotic experiences are, there more uncomfortable they become. They become less relaxed and uncooperative. This can explain by the fact that, many people tend to be threatened by hypnotic situations and in the event that they tend to increase, there more they try to avoid the situations.

According to this research, CP is an essential tool in clinical operations due to the fact that in medicine, it is important to have compliance, cooperation, and broad imagination.  Any patient, who seems to be not willing to cooperate in CP, may also not be willing to cooperate, and relax. In any therapy, a patient must cooperate and become fully imaginative for positive results to be achieved.

On the other hand, when a patient shows CP movements, there are also chances that the resistance hypothesis may be false. The problem can lie on either the patient or the attending psychiatrist or therapist. One of the two might have some problem that is interfering with the test. If the therapist is unaware of such a scenario, he or she will make wrong conclusions about the patient. Therefore, when CP is doing well on a certain patient and yet the patients show no signs of improvement in their health condition, the attending therapist should discontinue the test and consider reassessment, referral, or even further consultation. This implies that CP tests might not be the final answer to the patients’ problems.

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