Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson

Abstract

Within the social work profession the clinical practice of hypnosis has generally been under-utilized and under-researched. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore some of the components related to its lack of use in the profession. Qualitative interviews were conducted with four LICSW respondents who practice clinical hypnosis and three LICSW respondents who do not practice hypnosis. Content analysis was used to evaluate the data from the transcripts. Limited exposure and understanding of hypnosis affected respondents’ opinions regarding the alignment of hypnosis with the social work profession and code of ethics. Concerns surrounding public and provider apprehensions were cited in relation to stage entertainment and media misconceptions. Yet, LICSW respondents who use hypnosis described it as a healing and client empowering intervention. Overall, respondents described that the macro-level lens of social work may contrast with the amount of specialized micro-level training needed for hypnosis practice. Some respondents also identified that limited training in theory and clinical application during graduate school may affect the amount of micro-level social work research in the field. Moreover, respondents described limited exposure to education, related trainings, and publications on hypnosis during graduate training and within their professional careers. Discussion of the research findings accentuated the healing and empowering benefits of hypnosis in contrast to the general population misconceptions. The importance of adhering to the social work code of ethics was also emphasized in order to maintain an upstanding practice. Implications for hypnosis training and education in the social work profession were also provided.

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