The benefits of hypnosis | David Spiegel, MD

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Think hypnosis is for stage shows and witches? Think again. Join me in Episode #297 to discover the truth about this revolutionary treatment approach from Stanford Professor David Spiegel. Whether you’re looking to break a bad habit, manage chronic or acute pain, or address a condition such as insomnia, IBS, or PTSD, hypnotherapy has the potential to help.

“Think about our own psychological pharmacy – the power we have to make ourselves feel better as well as worse, and how quickly one can learn to do it.”

Dr David Spiegel is a distinguished figure at Stanford University, where he leads as Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and is Director of the Center on Stress and Health. With a rich background marked by more than four decades of clinical and research expertise, Dr Spiegel has significantly advanced the fields of psychiatry and integrative medicine. His prolific contributions include authoring numerous books and scientific publications, and he brings this wealth of knowledge to today’s conversation.

“It’s an opportunity for change, it’s not turning yourself over to somebody else’s control.”

You’ll learn what clinical hypnosis is, how it works, and how it differs from meditation. Dr Spiegel also addresses some common fears and misconceptions about this practice, explaining the research and how it fits in with psychotherapy and clinical guidelines. Tune in to discover whether hypnosis might be a good approach for you and how to get started.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Intro to Hypnosis with Stanford’s David Spiegel (00:00)
  • Exploring Hypnosis with Stanford Professor David Spiegel (01:53)
  • The Science of Hypnosis Demystified (09:12)
  • Examples of Hypnosis in Smoking Cessation (13:17)
  • Clinical Hypnosis: Control and Perspective Shift (18:10)
  • Pain Management Through Hypnosis (21:46)
  • Hypnosis in Treating PTSD and IBS (30:33)
  • Role of Hypnosis in Psychiatry and Scientific Research (36:44)
  • Are You Hypnotizable? (43:31)
  • Hypnosis and Meditation: Understanding the Differences (48:27)
  • Efficacy of Hypnosis via Apps: Usage and Advice (56:52)
  • Enhancing Sleep Quality with Hypnosis: 1:01:34
  • Exploring Psychedelics in Trauma Therapy: 1:06:29
  • Integrating Hypnosis in Psychiatric Treatments: 1:10:37
  • Evolving Perception of Hypnosis in Medical Community: 1:16:25
  • Hypnosis and Meditation: Key Differences and Benefits: 1:17:38
  • Hypnosis vs. Opioids: Safety and Efficacy Compared: 1:19:27
  • Conclusion: The Future of Hypnosis: 1:24:55

Thank you to Professor David Spiegel for shedding light on this potentially life-changing practice. I hope this episode broadens your perspective and inspires you to explore the benefits of hypnosis further. If you’re intrigued by the possibilities, I encourage you to experience Dr Spiegel’s work firsthand by exploring the Reveri app, a tool designed to make the benefits of self-hypnosis accessible to all.

Connect with Professor David Spiegel through the Reveri platforms on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter/X, and LinkedIn. Learn more about Reveri and download the app at

Professor Spiegel also recommends Nerva if you are struggling with IBS.

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More about Dr David Spiegel

Dr David Spiegel is Willson Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Center on Stress and Health, and Medical Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he has been a member of the academic faculty since 1975, and was Chair of the Stanford University Faculty Senate from 2010–2011. He has written thirteen books, 404 scientific journal articles and 170 book chapters. He was educated at Harvard and Yale and now works at Stanford.

He is also the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the clinically-backed self-hypnosis app, Reveri. Bringing more than 45 years of clinical and research experience studying stress, pain, sleep, and hypnosis, Reveri’s vision is a world where anyone, anywhere has access to the immediate benefits of self-hypnosis, and can use it to cope effectively with a variety of physical and/or mental health issues – from breaking a bad habit, to improving sleep, reducing stress or pain, and so much more.

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