PURPOSE: Clinical hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, perception or consciousness that is used to effect change. It is a highly relaxed state. Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control. Hypnosis is the tool we use to control our minds. While there is general agreement that certain effects of hypnosis exist, there are differences of opinion within the research and clinical communities about how hypnosis works. Some researchers believe that hypnosis can be used by individuals to the degree they possess a hypnotic trait, much as they have traits associated with height, body size, hair color, etc. Other professionals who study and use hypnosis believe there are strong cognitive and interpersonal components that affect an individual’s response to hypnotic environments and suggestions.
There is a growing body of research evaluating the use of hypnosis with cognitive-behavioral techniques in the treatment of psychological disorders. The central question for research is whether the addition of hypnosis enhances the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral treatments. Overall, studies demonstrate a substantial benefit from the addition of hypnosis; however, the number of published studies is relatively small, and many of them have methodological limitations. For cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapies to be recognized as empirically supported treatments, a number of well-designed, randomized clinical trials are necessary. Currently, the efficacy of hypnosis as an adjunctive treatment remains unresolved.
When To Use Clinical Hypnotherapy
Here are some examples of the most common uses for Clinical Hypnotherapy:
1. Other processes are not productive or have not completely resolved the issue;
2. Gastrointestinal Disorders – Ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Crohn’s Disease;
3. Dermatologic Disorders – Eczema, Herpes, Neurodermatitis, Pruritus [itching], Psoriasis, Warts;
4. Surgery/Anesthesiology – In unusual circumstances, hypnosis has been used as the sole anesthetic for surgery, including the removal of the gall bladder, amputation, cesarean section, and hysterectomy. Reasons for using hypnosis as the sole anesthetic may include: situations where chemical anesthesia is contraindicated because of allergies or hyper-sensitivities; when organic problems increase the risk of using chemoanesthesia; and in some conditions where it is ideal for the patient to be able to respond to questions or directives from the surgeon;
5. Acute and Chronic Pain – back pain, cancer pain, dental anesthesia, headaches and migraines, arthritis or rheumatism;
6. Burns – Hypnosis is not only effective for the pain, but when hypnotic anesthesia and feelings of coolness are created in the first few hours after a significant burn, it appears that it also reduces inflammation and promotes healing. In some cases a second degree burn can be kept from going third degree if hypnosis is used soon after the injury;
7. Nausea and Vomiting associated with chemotherapy and pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum);
8. Childbirth – Based upon anecdotal evidence, approximately two thirds of women have been found capable of using hypnosis as the sole analgesic for labor. This eliminates the risks that medications can pose to both the mother and child;
9. Hemophilia – Hemophiliac patients can often be taught to use self-hypnosis to control vascular flow and keep from requiring a blood transfusion;
10. Allergies, asthma – Studies conducted to date have consistently demonstrated an effect of hypnosis with asthma. . Existing data suggest that hypnosis efficacy is enhanced in subjects who are susceptible to the treatment modality, with experienced hypnotherapists, when administered over several sessions, and when reinforced by patient self hypnosis. Children in particular appear to respond well to hypnosis as a tool for improving asthma symptoms.
11. High blood pressure (hypertension);
12. Raynaud’s disease;
13. Depression – When hypnosis is used as part of a multi-avenue approach it has proven to be effective in several studies