Hypnosis has historically been considered as an altered state of consciousness, even though it is still impossible to find general agreement on whether hypnosis per se has an effect on brain activity, without any contribution of suggestion. The controversy over whether hypnosis is a particular state of consciousness is likely to increase the gap between experimental research and psychotherapeutic practice. The main aim of this paper is to discuss the issue of experimental research about hypnosis, the future perspectives to find clear psychophysiological markers of this condition and the clinical implications of the recent scientific research about this subject. In particular, the strategic use of the implicit association between hypnosis and altered state of consciousness is discussed in terms of placebo, priming or me-ta-suggestion to enhance the efficacy and efficiency of medical and/or psychotherapeutic intervention.
Keywords: Hypnosis, altered state of consciousness, hypnotic suggestion, psycho-therapy, placebo, priming.