Research

At Melbourne Endurance Sport Hypnosis we use scientific research to underpin what we do. Below is a selection of published research that provides more insight to how we approach assisting you to reach your peak. The abstracts are taken from the journal websites; for access to the full text follow the link provided.


Baker, J., Jones, V. & Greenlees, I. (2013). Using hypnosis to enhance self-efficacy in sport performers. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 7(3), 228-247

High levels of self-efficacy have been documented to be associated with optimal levels of sport performance. One technique, which has the potential to foster increased self-efficacy, is hypnosis. Hypnosis is based upon the power of suggestion and, while often shrouded in myth and controversy, has been used in a number of domains including medicine, dentistry, and psychotherapy. In contrast, sport psychology is one domain where the use of hypnosis has yet to be fully explored. The aim of this review is to add to the extant literature and delineate how hypnosis potentially can enhance self-efficacy. By drawing on neodissociation and nonstate theories of hypnosis, a combined theoretical basis is established to explain how hypnosis may be used to influence sport performers’ sources of self-efficacy information. Furthermore, the review examines these theoretical postulations by presenting contemporary research evidence exploring the effects of hypnosis on sport performers’ self-efficacy. The review concludes with future research directions and suggestions for sport psychologists considering the use of hypnosis within their practice.


Paccagnella, M. (2007). Demystifying sports hypnosis. Sports Coach, 27(1)

For some time, hypnosis has been an accepted component of psychotherapy, medicine and dentistry. While there is a well-documented history of hypnosis being used in sport, it is not commonly discussed nor promoted as a useful technique for athletes. However, there now appears to be a resurgence of interest in the use of hypnosis in sport. Hypnosis can be an incredibly powerful tool for athletes for both therapeutic and performance-enhancement purposes.


Lindsay, P., Maynard, P. & Thomas, O. (2005). The effects of hypnosis on flow states and cycling performance. The Sport Psychologist, 19, 164-178.

Using a single-subject multiple baseline design, combined with assessments of participants’ internal experience (Wollman, 1986), the efficacy of a hypnotic intervention on flow state and competitive cycling performance was assessed in three elite cyclists. Intervention involved relaxation, imagery, hypnotic induction, hypnotic regression, and the conditioning of an unconscious trigger associated with the emotions of past peak performance. Ecologically valid performance measures were collected from British Cycling Federation (BCF) races, and the intensity of flow was assessed using Jackson and Marsh’s (1996) Flow State Scale (FSS). Results indicated that the number of BCF points gained per race was positively influenced in one participant, sporadically influenced in the second participant, and not influenced in the third participant. FSS scores during the intervention phase increased for one participant. These findings suggest that hypnotic interventions may improve elite competitive cycling performance and increase the feelings and cognitions associated with flow.


Liggett, D. (2000). Enhancing imagery through hypnosis: A performance aid for athletes. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 43(2), 149-157.

This value of imagery in sports is widely acknowledged. The contribution of hypnosis to enhancing athletes' performance is also recognized, but the value of hypnosis in enhancing imagery has little recognition. The reason for this neglect is explored. The study used Martens' Sport Imagery Questionnaire, which asked the participants to image 4 different situations in their own sport—practicing alone, practicing in front of others, watching a teammate, and competing. Participants reported their subjective impression of vividness on four dimensions—visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and affective. The 14 athletes participating imaged each situation in and out of hypnosis—half of the time the imagery in hypnosis came first and half after. The participants reported that the imagery under hypnosis was more intense for each dimension and more intense for each situation. Whether the imagery was done under hypnosis first or after was not significant. The findings suggest that hypnosis substantially enhances imagery intensity and effectiveness.


Baker, J. & Jones, M. (2008). The effects of hypnosis on self-efficacy, affect and soccer performance: A case study. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 2(2), 127-147.

This study reports the effects of a hypnosis intervention on a professional soccer player who reported low self-efficacy and a negative mood state relative to his soccer performance. Pre- and postintervention data were collected via a Soccer Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (SSEQ) that consisted of 10 items relating to good soccer performance, the Trait Sport Confidence Inventory (TSCI), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and a Soccer Performance Measure (SPM). An intervention program consisting of eight hypnosis sessions was conducted. These sessions comprised the presentation of ego-strengthening suggestions. Both visual and statistical analysis revealed substantial increases in trait sport confidence, self-efficacy, positive affect, and soccer performance, as well as a substantial decrease in negative affect over the course of the intervention. The findings of this case study suggest that hypnosis can be used to enhance self-efficacy, affect, and sport performance. A number of practical issues are presented surrounding the use of hypnosis in the context of English soccer and with athletes in general.

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