The role of hypnotizability assessment in the differential diagnosis of psychotic patients is still unresolved. In this article, the pioneering work of Dutch psychiatrist H. Breukink (1860-1928) during the 1920s is used as early evidence that hypnotic capacity is clinically helpful in differentiating highly hypnotizable psychotic patients with dissociative symptomatology from schizophrenics. Furthermore, there is a long tradition of employing hypnotic capacity in the treatment of these dissociative psychoses. The ways in which Breukink used hypnosis for diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment purposes are summarized and discussed in light of both old and current views. He felt that hysterical psychosis was trauma-induced, certainly curable, and that psychotherapy using hypnosis was the treatment of choice. Hypnosis was used for symptom-oriented therapy, as a comfortable and supportive mental state, and for the uncovering and integrating of traumatic memories. For the latter purpose, Breukink emphasized a calm mental state, both in hypnosis and in the waking state, thereby discouraging emotional expression, which he considered dangerous in psychotic patients. In the discussion, special attention is paid to the role and dangers of the expression of trauma-related emotions.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LG94300004
View details for PubMedID 8335419