Forum Discussion

Reconsidering the Autohypnotic Model of the Dissociative Disorders

Sunday, March 25
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Red Lacquer

The dissociative disorders field and the hypnosis field currently reject the autohypnotic model, largely because many correlational studies have shown hypnotizability and dissociation to be minimally related (r = .12). Curiously, it is also widely accepted that dissociative patients are highly hypnotizable. The autohypnotic model proposes that, when highly hypnotizable individuals repeatedly engage in autohypnotic distancing from pain and distress, they develop an overlearned, automatized pattern of dissociative self-protection – that is, a dissociative disorder. This forum will present and discuss (1) the history and historical vicissitudes of the autohypnotic model, (2) why the model seems to be the right way to understand the DDs, and (3) how the autohypnotic model differs from, or alters our understanding of, the trauma-dissociation model.

Learning Objectives:

Paul F. Dell

Churchland Psychological Center
Norfolk, Virginia

Paul F. Dell, Ph.D. has specialized in the study and treatment of posttraumatic and dissociative disorders for over 30 years. He developed the Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation (MID), a comprehensive, self-administered, assessment and diagnostic instrument. He is a past president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). Dr. Dell was awarded ISSTD’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Dr. Dell was awarded the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis' Ernest and Josephine Hilgard Award for the best theoretical paper on hypnosis during 2016-2017.


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Richard P. Kluft

Clinical Professor
Temple University School of Medicine
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

Richard P. Kluft, M.D., Ph.D. practices psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and medical hypnosis in Bala Cynwyd, PA. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine and on the faculties of the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia and the China American Psychoanalytic Alliance. Dr. Kluft is the author of over 260 scientific publications, reviews and book chapters, and the editor or solo author of several professional books, most recently Shelter from the Storm (2013). He has presented and taught in 12 countries. A co-founder and past-president of the ISST&D, he has served as president of several additional American and international organizations. His research, teaching, and clinical contributions have received numerous recognitions and awards. Dr. Kluft is also a novelist, author of two mystery/thrillers, Good Shrink/Bad Shrink (2014) and An Obituary to Die For (2016), and the seventeenth century Ashkenazi folk tale in the Chelm (City of Fools) tradition, How Fievel Stole the Moon – A Tale for Sweet Children and Sour Scholars (2014).


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Reconsidering the Autohypnotic Model of the Dissociative Disorders

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