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A GUIDE TO THE AMERICAN BOARD OF MEDICAL HYPNOSIS EXAMINATION

Diplomates of The American Board of Medical Hypnosis reflect the highest competence in clinical hypnosis employed in medical settings. They are recognized by their colleagues as having a superior and expanding knowledge of the field. The primary purpose of the ABMH is to certify that board-certified physicians and surgeons who use hypnosis in their medical specialty meet these high standards of competency.

The successful candidate for the ABMH has read widely in the field of hypnosis, is conversant about applications and the science of hypnosis within his or her medical specialty, and is aware of current areas controversy and concurrence. The applicant should understand the clinical implications of hypnosis research methodology and results, particularly in relationship to his or her medical practice.

The ABMH examination consists of three parts:

  1. A two hour written examination. This includes 100 multiple choice questions. No reference notes or discussion are permitted. The examination is proctored and certified by a member of the ABMH.
  2. A one hour oral examination with two or three examiners in which the candidate is asked to reflect on the subjects listed below.
  3. A hone hour practical examination during which the candidate demonstrates hypnotic technique with an examiner who assumes the role of a typical patient in the candidate’s medical specialty.

The written examination is wide ranging and is designed assess the candidates core knowledge in the field of medical hypnosis. Candidates can expect to encounter questions related to the following broad categories:

  1. History of hypnosis
  2. Medical hypnosis research including but not limited to: psychiatry, hypnotic responsivity, primary care medicine and pediatrics, obsteterics and gynecology, surgery, anesthesiology, oncology, pain management, habit management, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  3. Medical hypnosis practice in the same areas.
  4. Forensic hypnosis

During the oral examination, the candidate is asked to discuss:

  1. Theory/conceptualization. Discuss some of the main theories of hypnosis. How would you conceptualize hypnotic phenomena both in relation to psychological theory and in lay language?
  2. Research: Discuss the research pertaining to the relevance of hypnotic phenomena, responsivity and medical applications.
  3. Case formulation: How would you approach various common clinical problems amenable to hypnosis in your practice? How do you formulate the role of hypnosis in given clinical scenarios?
  4. Professional issues: How do guidelines of appropriate and ethical professional conduct apply to hypnosis in your medical practice? What is the role of informed consent when you use hypnosis? How do ethical guidelines affect your teaching of hypnosis to professionals and educating the lay community?

For the practical examination, the candidate is asked to conduct a typical clinical encounter with a patient. The observing examiners will note technique, including:

  1. The ability to establish appropriate rapport.
  2. Precision, adaptability and flexibility of technique.
  3. Purpose of a given technique pursuant to helping the patient.
  4. Understanding of indications and contraindications of a range of techniques.
  5. How the candidate negotiates resistance.

The candidate’s wishes for scheduling of the examination are always taken into account but the examination has to been coordinated with at least three examiners as well. The three parts of the examination are typically given in two sessions: two hours for the written examination, and, at a later time, the two-hour oral and practical examinations combined. The written exam must be successfully completed before the candidate may proceed with the oral and practical examinations. In most cases the examination is completed by the Sunday noon of the Annual Meeting.

Candidates must pass all three parts of the examination to the satisfaction of the examiners. Candidates failing one section of the examination may apply to repeat that section at a subsequent annual meeting. Candidates failing two sections must repeat the entire examination. Final certification is granted by action of the entire American Board of Medical Hypnosis at its annual meeting, which is always held in conjunction with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis annual meeting.

Special accommodation for candidates with specific handicaps will be arranged on a case-by-case basis.

American Society of Clinical Hypnosis: | Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis: | Division 30, American Psychological Association: