About this event

  • Date and time Wed 16 Dec 2020 from 5:00pm to 7:20pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine

This webinar will explore and recognise the role of cognitive style in the etiology of depression and its implications for treatment both with and without hypnosis, and the latest developments in the field of hypnosis - in both theory and practice.

The concept of phenomenological control, and the theory of “Cold Control”, that has been proposed to explain both responses to hypnosis/suggestion, and broader psychological phenomena will be covered. 

Delegates that attend this webinar will be able to recognise how hypnosis can be used to help depressed patients develop effective strategies for making better, life-enhancing decisions. They will also have an understanding of the Cold Control Theory of hypnotic response and phenomenological control. And will have been introduced to the concept of phenomenological control and be able to recognise the broad applications around this term. 

CPD accredited. 

This webinar will cover:

  • The role of global cognitions as a contributing factor to depression
  • How a low tolerance for ambiguity increases the likelihood of poor decision-making
  • Ask “how” questions that identify the client’s experiential deficits (i.e., missing or incorrect information that work against his or her effective decision-making)
  • Recognise how hypnosis can be used to enhance decision-making strategies
  • Describe whether hypnosis is a purely metacognitive phenomenon
  • Describe the potential role of hypnotic response in psychological experiments that are not apparently about hypnosis
  • Describe the pros and cons of dropping the label "hypnosis" for phenomenological control

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Key speakers

Michael Yapko

Dr Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist, North San Diego, California, USA

Speaker's biography

Dr Yapko is internationally recognized for his work in advancing clinical hypnosis and outcome-focused psychotherapy, routinely teaching to professional audiences all over the world. To date, he has been invited to present his ideas and methods to colleagues in more than 30 countries across six continents, and all over the United States. His workshops are well known for being practical as well as enjoyable.

Dr Yapko has had a special interest for over four decades in the intricacies of brief therapy, and the clinical applications of hypnosis and directive methods, especially in the strategic treatment of depression. He is the author of 16 books and editor of three others, as well as dozens of book chapters and articles on the use of strategic psychotherapies. These include his newest book (forthcoming in March, 2021), Process-Oriented Hypnosis: Focusing on the Forest, Not the Trees, and his recent books The Discriminating Therapist, Taking Hypnosis to the Next Level, and Keys to Unlocking Depression, the award-winning books Treating Depression With Hypnosis, Mindfulness and Hypnosis: The Power of Suggestion to Transform Experience, and his classic text, Trancework (5th edition). His works have been translated into ten languages. More information about Dr Yapko’s teaching schedule and publications can be found on his website: www.yapko.com.

Dr Yapko is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a member of the International Society of Hypnosis, and a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a recipient of numerous awards for his contributions to the field of psychotherapy, including Lifetime Achievement awards from the International Society of Hypnosis, the American Psychological Association, and the Milton H. Erickson Foundation.

Professor Zoltan Dienes 

Professor of Psychology, University of Sussex, UK

Speaker's biography

Professor Dienes has been working at the University of Sussex since 1990, where he is now a professor of psychology. He first started conducting experiments on hypnosis in the 1980s, supervised by Kevin McConkey, for his masters by thesis in Sydney. He returned to active research work with hypnosis in 2007, when his lab started screening hundreds of people a year for hypnotisability to enable testing of different theories of hypnosis, especially metacognitive ones. His other interests include unconscious processes more broadly, and the nature of scientific methodology, in particular Bayesian approaches to testing theories.


View the programme

Welcome and introduction

Dr William McGeown, Senior Lecturer, The University of Strathclyde

The discriminating therapist: Addressing global cognition and bad decisions in treating depression with hypnosis

Dr Michael Yapko, Clinical Psychologist

Cognitive psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists use the term “discrimination” to describe the process of making distinctions between different situations that then give rise to one’s reactions. For example, your reaction will be entirely different if you believe someone stepped on your foot by accident than if you believe he or she did so deliberately. Your ability to discriminate an intentional act of harm from a moment of mere clumsiness helps shape your reaction of either anger or tolerance toward the person.

Cognitive psychology, the study of how people think, has given rise to new understandings about how people gather and use information. This includes how people decide, usually at a level outside of awareness, what is salient to pay attention to in a given environment and, likewise, what is essentially irrelevant. When people get sidetracked into irrelevancy, paying too much attention to what doesn’t really matter and too little attention to what does, their perceptions and responses naturally lead them astray. Furthermore, when people’s perspective is so global or over-general that they simply don’t know how or what to decide, they are far more likely to make poor decisions on the basis of hurt feelings, old history, misconceptions, or blind faith. There are many different ways of making key life decisions, of course, but when one employs an ineffective one, the results can be enduringly painful and lead to depression.

This lecture encourages a targeted use of hypnosis in effective decision making to counter global cognition, a pattern closely associated with depression in ways that will be described. Instead of following the therapy tradition of analyzing why someone makes the choices they make, this lecture will focus on how people choose.

Some of the topics to be covered include:
• Cognitive neuroscience illuminates cognitive style
• Global cognition as a determinant of client symptom profiles
• Shifting the focus of the clinical interview from “why” to “how”
• Problems aren’t usually about pathology – they’re usually about ignorance
• Defining the goals of treatment in process terms
• Which discriminations are the salient ones to focus upon in treating depression?

Learning objectives:
1. Identify the role of global cognitions as a contributing factor to depression.
2. Relate how a low tolerance for ambiguity increases the likelihood of poor decision-making.
3. Ask “how” questions that identify the client’s experiential deficits (i.e., missing or incorrect information that work against his or her effective decision-making).
4. Recognize how hypnosis can be used to enhance decision-making strategies.

Question and answer session

Chaired by Dr William McGeown

David Waxman memorial lecture: Phenomenological control as cold control

Professor Zoltan Dienes, Professor of Psychology, University of Sussex

Professor Zoltan Dienes will first review recent work that construes hypnotizability as an example of a more general trait of capacity for phenomenological control, which people can use to create subjective experiences in many non-hypnotic contexts where having those experiences fulfill people’s goals. Second, Professor Dienes will review some recent work that construes phenomenological control as a specifically metacognitive process, where intentional cognitive and motor action occurs without awareness of specific intentions (cold control theory). In terms of the reach of phenomenological control, Professor Dienes will argue that various laboratory phenomena, namely vicarious pain, mirror-touch synesthesia and the rubber hand illusion are to an unknown degree a construction of phenomenological control. The argument can of course be extended in principle to other experiences people have in the lab and outside of it. For example, the experience of the absorptions in states of concentration meditation may to an unknown degree depend on phenomenological control.

Based on the following papers https://psyarxiv.com/4zw6g/ and https://psyarxiv.com/7jn8q/

Learning objectives:
1. Describe whether hypnosis is a purely metacognitive phenomenon
2. Describe the potential role of hypnotic response in psychological experiments that are not apparently about hypnosis
3. Describe the pros and cons of dropping the label "hypnosis" for phenomenological control

Question and answer session

Chaired by Dr William McGeown

End of webinar



Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM nor the speaker's organisations.

Special rates for difficult times 
The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s ​weekly COVID-19 Series ​webinars remain free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic.

Registration for this webinar will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted.

All webinars will be available for registered delegates 30 days after on Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place. 

This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be  distributed  in future on various internet channels. 

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