Hypnosis: A tool for an integrative approach in the treatment of the gagging reflex

Ilana Eli, Moris Kleinhauz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The extreme exaggerated gag reflex can be an enormous obstacle to routine dental treatment. In some patients, extreme gagging may be a learned avoidance reaction; in others, it may act as a defense mechanism which inadequately compensates for an internal psychodynamic conflict. The most frequent areas of conflict encountered are those concerning the symbolic meaning of the mouth, fear of loss of control, and problems in the dependence/independence vector. In the Consultative Outpatient Clinic for Behavioral Dysfunctions at the School of Dental Medicine of Tel Aviv University, a multidisciplinary team of dentists, psychiatrists, and psychologists has been working on treatment modalities for such patients including hypnorelaxation and other hypnotic techniques. Hypnosis is incorporated in the framework of psychodynamic, behavioral, relaxation, and suggestive approaches that are integrated in the shaping of the therapeutic strategy. Clinical cases are described and treatment philosophies discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 1985


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