Home > NewsRelease > Dr. David Spiegel, Stanford U. — Practical Hypnosis, Meditation vs. Hypnosis, Pain Management Without Drugs, The Neurobiology of Trance, and More (#731)
Dr. David Spiegel, Stanford U. — Practical Hypnosis, Meditation vs. Hypnosis, Pain Management Without Drugs, The Neurobiology of Trance, and More (#731)
Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Illustration via 99designs

“One of the things I love about working with hypnosis is people are surprised at what they can do because they’re trying out being different and seeing what it feels like.” — Dr. David Spiegel

Dr. David Spiegel is Willson Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Center on Stress and Health, 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.

Dr. Spiegel has more than 40 years of clinical and research experience, has published thirteen books, 404 scientific journal articles, and his work has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Cancer Institute, and more.

He is the founder of Reveri, the world’s first interactive self-hypnosis app.

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastPodcast AddictPocket CastsCastboxGoogle PodcastsAmazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.

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#731: Dr. David Spiegel, Stanford U. — Practical Hypnosis, Meditation vs. Hypnosis, Pain Management Without Drugs, The Neurobiology of Trance, and More

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Want to hear another episode with someone who takes hypnosis seriously? Listen to my conversation with Loonshots author Safi Bahcall in which we discussed using hypnosis for insomnia relief, common relaxation trance induction techniques, the most effective applications of hypnosis, how hypnosis compares to meditation for self-control, understanding anger as a gift, effective and non-effective ways of helping someone cope with depression, and much more.

#382: Safi Bahcall — On Hypnosis, Conquering Insomnia, Incentives, and More


  • Connect with Dr. David Spiegel:

LinkedIn | Stanford Medicine

  • Connect with Reveri:

Website | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram


  • [07:00] How Herbert Spiegel was exposed to hypnosis.
  • [10:14] Using hypnosis to cure non-epileptic seizures.
  • [11:53] What is a forensic psychiatrist?
  • [14:43] How hypnosis works.
  • [17:54] Hypnosis and the flow state.
  • [21:03] How hypnosis differs from meditation.
  • [22:38] Determining one’s susceptibility to hypnosis.
  • [27:21] I take the eye-roll test.
  • [29:33] Thoughts on EMDR.
  • [36:29] Therapeutic psychedelics and ego dissolution.
  • [41:05] Potential adverse effects of hypnosis?
  • [42:34] Accelerated TMS improves response to hypnosis.
  • [44:25] Hypnosis as a tool for stress and pain relief.
  • [48:56] David treats my back pain with hypnosis.
  • [57:09] Replicating this effect with self-hypnosis.
  • [57:57] Understanding the science of pain relief.
  • [1:03:18] Filtering the hurt from the pain.
  • [1:06:37] For us, not against us.
  • [1:09:12] Hypnosis vs. other addiction interventions.
  • [1:11:41] A mesmerizing tale of hypnotic history.
  • [1:16:10] Most surprising patient outcomes.
  • [1:24:53] Finding connection to treat the agitated.
  • [1:28:40] Who is Reveri designed for?
  • [1:31:15] Hypnosis as a first rather than last resort.
  • [1:35:02] Further resources and final thoughts.


“One of the coolest things about the [hypnotic] state is you tend to let go of your ordinary premises — not just about what’s going on at that moment, but who you are, what kind of a person you are. … People can try out being different and see what it feels like. They can let go of their usual premises, and that’s where hypnosis is something like flow state.”
— Dr. David Spiegel

“Most eight-year-olds are in trances most of the time. As you know, if you call your eight-year-old in for dinner, he doesn’t hear you. He’s doing his thing — work and play are all the same thing for kids. I don’t know why we try to train them to be little adults, because they have so much fun.”
— Dr. David Spiegel

“By the time you’re about 21, your hypnotizability becomes as stable a trait as IQ.”
— Dr. David Spiegel

“[EMDR is] another therapeutic technique, but I have to say that my overall impression is what’s good about it isn’t new, and what’s new about it isn’t good.”
— Dr. David Spiegel

“Depression with post-traumatic stress disorder is so harmful to people because it tarnishes their feelings about who they are as people. And if you can understand the experience, but disconnect it in some ways from this default mode conclusion about what sort of a person you are, that can be powerfully therapeutic.”
— Dr. David Spiegel

“The good thing about hypnosis is you can turn it on real fast, you can turn it off real fast. So the worst thing that happens most of the time is, sometimes it doesn’t work, so what? So you do something else. … Hypnosis has not yet succeeded in killing anyone. It’s just not dangerous.”
— Dr. David Spiegel

“Hypnosis is like an underappreciated company that hasn’t been managed well and has a lot more positive resources, and that’s what it’s like. We just don’t take advantage of it.”
— Dr. David Spiegel

“One of the things I love about working with hypnosis is people are surprised at what they can do because they’re trying out being different and seeing what it feels like.”
— Dr. David Spiegel

“I’d love to see [hypnosis] integrated better with people’s overall health and wellness care. I think it’s been sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of psychotherapies.”
— Dr. David Spiegel


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Dateline: San Francisco, CA United States
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