UKHC 2024 Keynote Presentation: Dr David Spiegel – Tranceformation: Hypnosis in Mind, Brain and Body

David Spiegel

This year we are thrilled to announce that Dr David Spiegel will be delivering our keynote presentation.

Dr. David Spiegel is Willson Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences 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.

Many know him as a result of being on the Huberman podcast or as being founder of the Reveri app, but he has been a prolific researcher of hypnosis for decades.

Dr. Spiegel has more than 40 years of clinical and research experience studying psycho-oncology, stress and health, pain control, psychoneuroendocrinology, sleep, hypnosis, and conducting randomized clinical trials involving psychotherapy for cancer patients. He has published thirteen books, 404 scientific journal articles, and 170 book chapters on hypnosis, psychosocial oncology, stress physiology, trauma, and psychotherapy. His research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Aging, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the Dana Foundation for Brain Sciences, and the Nathan S. Cummings Foundation. He was a member of the work groups on stressor and trauma-related disorders for the DSM-IV and DSM-5 editions of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Dr Spiegel’s keynote presentation is entitled: Tranceformation: Hypnosis in Mind, Brain and Body

Hypnosis was the first Western form of psychotherapy, yet it remains underutilized in part because of insufficient understanding of its neural basis. Hypnosis involves highly focused attention, coupled with dissociation of aspects of awareness, an increase in cognitive flexibility, and an enhanced ability to modulate perception. Considerable evidence has emerged regarding this regarding underlying brain mechanisms, including studies employing event-related potentials, PET and fMRI. Our recent resting state fMRI data demonstrate functional connectivity between the executive control and salience networks among high but not low hypnotizable individuals. The hypnotic state involves reduced activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (key region in the salience network), heightened functional connectivity between the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (executive control network) and the insula, and inverse functional connectivity between the left DLPFC and the posterior cingulate cortex, part of the default mode network. The hypnotic ability to modulate perception has clear clinical application, especially in pain and anxiety control. Randomized clinical trials that we have conducted demonstrate the efficacy of hypnosis in reducing pain, anxiety, somatic complications, and procedure duration during radiological interventions. It has been shown to reduce pain for women with metastatic breast cancer by 50% over the course of a year on similar analgesic medication regimens to those of controls.

Despite this progress in understanding the neural basis of hypnosis, it remains drastically underutilized. For example, some 500,000 Americans have died of opioid overdoses in the past decade, while hypnotic analgesia has been largely ignored. People tend to view hypnosis as either useless (a parlor trick) or dangerous. It is really dangerously effective. We have decided to make hypnosis as widely available as possible by developing a digital interactive hypnosis app, Reveri, downloadable from the App Store and Google Play, with automated programs for testing hypnotizability, and learning how to better cope with stress, focus, pain, insomnia, eating, drinking, and smoking problems. We have some 5,000 users a month from 130 countries.


Further details about tickets can be found here at the convention website.