Description of the PCI-HAP

Some time ago the PCI was incorporated into a “hypnotic assessment procedure” called the PCI-HAP (Pekala, 1995a, 1995b).  The PCI-HAP consists of a 5 minute pre-assessment form, a hypnotic induction procedure, and a 10-minute post-assessment, debriefing form.  The client completes the PCI in reference to a sitting quietly period embedded in the hypnotic induction after the session is over and leaves the PCI for the clinician to later score via an EXCEL program.  The clinician types in the client’s responses to the PCI-HAP via this EXCEL program, which, in turn, generates a 5-page report on the client’s hypnotic responsivity.

Some clinicians and researchers talk about hypnotism as an altered state of consciousness (Kallio & Revonsuo, 2003, 2005).  The PCI-HAP actually allows for altered state effects associated with hypnotism to be quantitatively assessed via an empirical phenomenological methodology.  Collaborative research (Forbes & Pekala, 1996; Pekala, 1991a; Pekala & Forbes, 1997; Pekala, Kumar, & Marcano, 1995) also found that the phenomenological experience of hypnotism can be qualitatively defined via cluster and discriminant analyses into particular groups or “types.” Two of those groups typically report such altered state effects, such as the fantasy or the classic highs; other types, like the visualizers, report less such altered state effects, but report more vivid, visual imagery (Pekala & Kumar, 2000).

As Wagstaff (1981), Baker (1990), Kihlstrom (2003), Woody and colleagues (Woody, Barnier, & McConkey, 2005; Woody & McConkey, 2003) and many others (Barabasz & Watkins, 2005; Lynn & Rhue, 1988; Lynn & Sherman, 2000; Killeen & Nash, 2003; Sheehan & McConkey, 1982) have theorized, “hypnotism” appears to subsume several different domains (Brown & Fromm, 1986); the activation of a particular domain possibly leading to the perception of being “hypnotized.”  This is one reason why I believe the “nature” of hypnotism has been so difficult to explicate; i.e., everyone is grasping a different part of the elephant

A person’s hypnotic talents will be a function of the activation of one and/or several different domains.  Different “types” of subjective experiences may lead the client to assume or believe that he or she was (or was not) hypnotized; the particular nature of that experience being a function of the particular phenomenological/sociocognitive/ neurobiological processes activated. Additionally, hypnotism for many individuals can be a very intense subjective experience involving activation of various different phenomenological processes.  Given the above, we believe that only an approach that assesses the multifarious nature of that phenomenological experiencealong with behavioral, sociocognitive, and neurobiological perspectives, can do justice to that mystery we call hypnotism.

In contrast to the more behaviorally based instruments like the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (Shor & Orne, 1962), the Stanford, Form C (Weitzenhoffer & Hilgard, 1962), or the HIP (Hypnotic Induction Profile; Spiegel & Spiegel, 2004), which measure participants’ responses to passing or failing various items during hypnotism, the PCI-HAP measures the nature of the content of subjective experience during a sitting quietly period embedded in hypnotism.   Whereas the Harvard and the Stanford C can be conceptualized as measuring “trait” effects of hypnotism (within a state context), the PCI-HAP is measuring the “state” effects of hypnotism, while still subsuming trait influences (Kumar, Pekala, & Cummings, 1996).