Gary R. Elkins, Ph.D., ABPP

Gary R. Elkins, Ph.D., ABPP
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
High Res Photo

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Director, Mind-Body Medicine Research Lab


Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 1980

B.A., Henderson State University, 1975


Dr. Elkins is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University in Waco, Texas where he is the Director of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory, funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, National Institute on Aging, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis and Past-President of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Dr. Elkins’ publications include Mindful Hypnotherapy: The Basics for Clinical Practice and The Handbook of Medical and Psychological Hypnosis: Foundations, Applications and Professional Issues.  He is board certified (ABPP, American Board of Professional Psychology) in Clinical Health Psychology. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and Past-President of Division 30 of the APA.

Academic Interests and Research

Dr. Elkins’ research investigates the efficacy of hypnosis and mind-body interventions for sleep disturbances, menopause, breast cancer symptoms, pain, and stress management. He is further interested in the physiological and cognitive mechanisms that underlie the effects of mind-body interventions such as heart rate variability, cortisol (HPA axis), cognitive expectancies, and placebo effects. Additionally, Dr. Elkins’ research examines moderators (hypnotic abilities, motivation) of mind-body interventions. He is investigating hypnosis interventions for sleep and hot flashes among post-menopausal women and breast cancer survivors, sleep disturbances in caregivers of individuals with dementias, mindful hypnotherapy for anxiety, and the integration of music and suggestion for management of chronic low back pain (CLBP).

For additional information about Dr. Elkins research, please visit the website for the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory at:

Recent Peer Reviewed Publications

Elkins, G., Johnson, A., Roberts, L., Gavin, R., Kekects, Z., Brown, K. (2017). Feasibility of music and hypnotic suggestion to manage chronic pain. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 65(4). 452-465.

Elkins, G. (2018). Editorial. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 66(1), 1-2.

Elkins, G., Roberts, L., Simicich, L. (2018) Mindful Self-Hypnosis for self-care: An integrative model and illustrative case example. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 61(1), 45-56.

Elkins, G., Roberts, L., Kekecs, Z., Lazott, L., Toor, O. (2017). Hypnosis for burn-related pain: Case studies and a review of the literature. World Journal of Anesthesiology, 6(1), 13.

Sliwinski, J., & Elkins, G. (2017). Hypnotherapy to reduce hot flashes: Examination of response expectancies as a mediator of outcomes. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 22(4), 652–659.

Sloenea, E., Kekecs, Z., & Elkins, G. (2018). The revised factor structure of the dissociative ability scale: A measure of non-pathological dissociation. Contemporary Hypnosis and Integrative Therapy, 33(1), 26-36.

Jared, B., Roberts, L., Zoltan, K., Elkins, G., (2018). Brief report: knowledge of, interest in, and willingness to try behavioral interventions in individuals with Parkinson's disease. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, 32(1), 8-12. PMID: 29406302

Barton, D., Brooks, T., Cieslak, A., Elkins, G., Clark, P., Baydoun, M., Smith, A., Poznak, C. (2019). Phase II randomized controlled trial of hypnosis versus progressive muscle relaxation for body image after breast or gynecologic cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 187(2), 357-365. doi: 10.1007/s10549-019-05395-6

Elkins, G. R., Stork, S., Roberts, L. (2019). Complementary and alternative therapies. In Treating PTSD in Military Personnel (2nd ed., pp. 214-233). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Johnson, A, Roberts, L., & Elkins, G. (2019). Complementary and alternative medicine for menopause. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 20, 1-14, doi: 10.1177/2515690X19829380

Rivers, A. S., Sanford, K., Elkins, G., Carpenter, J. S., Rand, K. L., Bartlett Ellis, R. J. (2020). Attitudinal and social predictors of adherence to oral endocrine therapy: A psychometrically-informed model. Journal of Health Psychology (in press).

Elkins, G. (2020). Contemplative practices and hypnosis: Emerging perspectives and future directions. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 68(2), 139-143.

Otte, J., Carpenter, J., Roberts, L., & Elkins, G. (2020). Self-hypnosis for sleep disturbances in menopausal women. Journal of Women’s Health., 29(3), 461-463.

Hale, S. & Elkins, G., (2020). Brain regions involved in hypnosis: Clinical implications. Scientia, 49-56.

Elkins, G. (2020). Mindful hypnotherapy to reduce stress and increase mindfulness: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 68(2), 151-166.

Elkins, G. (2020). Psychological mindedness, attitudes toward hypnosis, and expectancy as correlates of hypnotizability. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 68(1), 68-79.

Elkins, G. (2020). Hypnosis: A mind-body solution for hot flushes and sleep post-menopause and in breast cancer survivors. Scientia-Global. Published on-line at www.SCIENTIA.GLOBAL. (Note: this is an on-line journal for professionals and laypersons regarding advances in science.

Elkins, G., Otte, J., Carpenter, J., Roberts, L., Jackson, L., Kekecs, Z., Patterson, V., & Keith, T. (In press). Hypnosis intervention for sleep disturbance: Determination of optional dose and method of delivery for post-menopausal women. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, In press.

Books Published

Barnett, J., Shale, A., Elkins, G.R., and Fisher, W.F. (2014) The Psychologist’s Essential Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association Press.

Elkins, G.R. (2016) Handbook of Medical and Psychological Hypnosis: Foundations, Applications, and Professional Issues. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Inc.

Elkins, G. R. (2019) Mindful Hypnotherapy: The Basis for Clinical Practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Inc.

Research Grants – Current

NIH 5R01AT009384                    Elkins (PI)             9/01/2018 – 8/31/2022
Self-Administered Hypnosis Treatment for the Management of Hot Flashes in Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial
This study is a large scale multi-site clinical trial of a telehealth hypnosis intervention for treatment of hot flashes and sleep disturbances in post-menopausal women and breast cancer survivors. Collaborating sites include University of Michigan and University of Nebraska. Participants complete daily diaries of hot flashes and outcomes measures of sleep and anxiety. Data collection includes ambulatory heart rate variability (HRV) and saliva cortisol regarding potential mechanisms. Hypnotic abilities are investigated as a potential moderator.
Role: Principle Investigator
National Institute of Health/National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine
Project Period: September 22, 2017 - August 31, 2022
Total Funding: $3,521,941.00

NEA 1863320-38-20                          Elkins (PI)             8/1/2020 – 7/31/2022
Effect of Music and Suggestion for Chronic Pain in Aging Adults: A Randomized Controlled Study
The purpose of this research is to support a randomized controlled study examining the effect of music on pain management in older adults.
Role: Principal Investigator
Total Funding: $97,000.00 plus matching funds from Baylor University (with potential for renewal for up to 10 years)

NIH 3R01AT009384-04S1                      Elkins (PI)             9/01/2020 – 8/31/2021
Feasibility of Self-Administered Hypnosis for Sleep Quality in Caregivers of Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease
The purpose of this research is to support a pilot study to determine the feasibility of a self-administered hypnosis intervention with caregivers of individuals with ADRD as an efficacious and practical intervention to improve sleep quality and duration.
Role: Principal Investigator
Total Funding: $299,000.00

Completed Research Grant Support (Selected)

R34-AT008246     Elkins (PI) 6/1/2014-5/31/2017
Hypnosis to Improve Sleep in Menopause: Determination of Optimal Dose and Method
The purpose of the research is to determine the optimal number of sessions and method of delivery of hypnotic relaxation therapy to improve sleep. This project uses daily sleep diaries, wrist actigraphy, bothersomeness numerical rating scale, stress response measures, and examines moderators and mediators of the primary outcome.  The analyses original data collection to inform future interventions.
Role: Principal Investigator

R01-AT004634     Elkins (PI) 9/30/2007-5/31/2015
Hypnosis for Hot Flashes: A Randomized Clinical Trial
The purpose of the research is to determine the efficacy of hypnotic relaxation therapy versus structured attention on reduction of vasomotor symptoms and improving sleep and quality of life among post-menopausal women.  The outcomes included self-report diaries and ambulatory skin conductance recording of vasomotor events.  Psychological factors and cortisol were examined as potential mediators.
Role: Principal Investigator

R21 CA13175 Elkins (MPI with Barton) 2/1/2009-1/31/2012
Evaluation of a Biobehavioral Intervention for Hot Flashes
The purpose of this research is to compare hypnotic relaxation therapy alone and in combination with venlafaxine to reduce vasomotor symptoms among breast cancer survivors. 
Role: Principal Investigator

R03 HD058464    Beaujean (PI)  8/01/2009-7/31/2012
Individual Differences and Health Outcomes: A Secondary Data Analysis in Cognitive Epidemiology
The goal of this project was to examine the effect of cognitive factors in health behaviors and outcomes. 
Role: Co-Investigator

R21 CA100594     Elkins (PI) 4/02/2004-4/01/2006
Hypnosis for Hot Flashes in Breast Cancer Survivors
The purpose of this exploratory research is to determine the feasibility and potential effectiveness of therapist delivered hypnosis for reduction of hot flashes among breast cancer survivors. 
Role: Principal Investigator

Current Graduate Students (Ph.D., General Experimental and Social Psychology)

Joshua Rhodes, Abilene Christine University
Morgan Snyder Olson, Iowa State University, Texas State University
Chris Corlett, Michigan State University/University of Colorado - Boulder
Victor Padilla - Brown University

Current Graduate Students (Psy.D., Clinical Psychology)

Audrey Stevens, Vanderbilt University, Columbia University
Lauren Simicich, Carnegie Mellon University
Mattie Biggs, Northwestern University
Nathaniel Wofford, Texas State University
Aaron Finley, University of California, Irvine
Connor Kelley, Baylor University
Vindhya Ekanayake, The George Washington University, Purdue University
Skyla Renner, Emory and Henry College


Ph.D. Graduates

Will Fisher, Texas State University
Aimee Johnson, Baylor University
Alisa Johnson, John Brown University
James Sliwinksi, The College of Wooster
Lynae Roberts, Texas Woman's University

Psy.D. Graduates

Ashley Gartner, Baylor University
Cassie Kendrick, University of Texas, Arlington
Lauren Koep, Pepperdine University
Juliette Bowers, Canisius College
Nicholas Olendzki, Carleton College
Hyeji Na, Emory University
Ming Hwei Yek, McGill University
Amelia Yu, Pomona College
Kimberly Hickman, University of California, Los Angeles
Elizabeth Slonena, University of Florida
Samuel Stork, Ohio State University

Graduate Student Recruitment

Dr. Elkins is currently accepting applications for Ph.D. and Psy.D. students.

Courses taught at Baylor

  • PSY 5334 - Health Psychology
  • PSY 5429 - Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • PSY 5317 - Advanced Seminar in Psychotherapy