The bold title The Nature of Hypnosis may be accurate and foster reader appeal, but the subtitle Contemporary Theoretical Approaches is essential to a faithful description of the book's contents. These transactions of the 1961 International Congress on Hypnosis, as edited by Milton V. Kline, present many but not all of the current orientations to hypnosis. As 21 authorities on the topic advance their ideas, it becomes abundantly clear that it is still undecided whether hypnosis is primarily a state, an experience, a condition, a relationship, or a pattern of response. All participants seem to agree that hypnosis is a subjective phenomenon and that we are still a long way from having facts regarding its nature. The critical problem is that of elucidating in operational terms behavior which will permit a unified theory accounting for the private impressions of hypnosis.
The search for a comprehensive theory reflects a number of