Search Results for: hypnotherapy research

Articles and Research

Australian Hypnotherapy Journal
Articles and research about the effectiveness and use of clinical hypnosis
Articles about clinical hypnotherapy   
What's New About Hypnosis - Bruni BrewinHypnosis and Anger Management - Sinan KorayHypnosis in the Workplace - Leah CreightonHypnosis and Brain Power - Bruni Brewin
Soothing a Sensitive Gut - Kathleen Cahill AllisonHypnosis helps everything from anxiety to pain - David NoonanHypnosis and SleepwalkingHypnosis and Brain Power - Bruni Brewin
How to Get Help With a Gambling HabitHypnosis and Gambling - Bruni BrewinHypnosis and SmokingHypnosis and Depression (2) - Leon W Cowen
Hypnosis and Depression (1) - Bruni BrewinHypnosis and Trichotillomania - Mia LackHypnosis and Pain ManagementHypnosis and Arrhythmia - Bruni Brewin
Research on the effectiveness of clinical hypnotherapy
Research: hypnosis can help control pain for women with Metastatic Breast CancerResearch: hypnosis and arthritisResearch: hypnosis and bone fractureResearch: hypnosis and cancer
Research: hypnosis and childbirthResearch: hypnosis and depressionResearch: hypnosis and dermatitisResearch: hypnosis and haemophilia
Research: hypnosis and IBSResearch: hypnosis and migraineResearch: hypnosis and painResearch: hypnosis and phobias
Research: hypnosis and smokingResearch: hypnosis and stressResearch: hypnosis and recovery from surgery Research: hypnosis and warts

Research: hypnosis and the treatment of warts

Prepubertal children respond to Hypnotherapy almost without exception, although adults sometimes do not. Clinically, many adults who fail to respond to hypnotherapy will heal with individual hypnoanalytic (combination of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy) techniques. By using hypnoanalysis on those who failed to respond to hypnotherapy, 33 of 41 (80%) consecutive patients were completely cured. Self-hypnosis was not used. (1)

There was a particularly interesting report of hypnosis used to treat a 7-year-old girl who had 82 common warts. The warts had been present for 12-18 months and were not amenable to any of the routine medical treatments. Hypnotic suggestions were given for the facial warts to disappear before warts from the rest of the body. After 2 weeks, eight of 16 facial warts were gone, with no other changes. After three additional biweekly sessions, all 82 warts were gone. This was, to our knowledge, the first reported case of systematic wart removal in children and the researchers concluded that there is an intimate relationship between psychological mechanisms and the immune system. (2)

(1) Ewin DM Hypnotherapy for warts (verruca vulgaris): 41 consecutive cases with 33 cures. Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA. Am J Clin Hypn (UNITED STATES) Jul 1992, 35(1) p1-10

Research: hypnosis and quitting smoking

In a recent stop smoking study, where smokers attended individual hypnotherapy for stop smoking over three sessions, 81% had stopped smoking after the treatment ended, and at a 12 month follow-up nearly 50% remained smoke free. And 95% of the people were satisfied with their treatment.

(1) Elkins GR, Rajab MH. (2004)  “Clinical hypnosis for Smoking Cessation: preliminary results of a three session intervention.” International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 2004 Jan; 52 (1):73-81

Research: hypnosis and migraines

Hypnosis is highly effective in the treatment of chronic migraine headaches. All Hypnotic methods appear to be superior to standard treatment relying on pharmacological approaches alone. Patients treated with Hypnosis had a significant reduction in severity and the number of attacks compared to a control group treated with traditional medications. At the one year follow-up the number of patients in the Hypnosis group who had no headaches for over three months was significantly higher. (1)

Review of the Efficacy of Clinical Hypnosis with Headaches and Migraines

The 12-member National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Panel on Integration of Behavioral and Relaxation Approaches into the Treatment of Chronic Pain and Insomnia (1996) reviewed outcome studies on hypnosis with cancer pain and concluded that research evidence was strong and that other evidence suggested hypnosis may be effective with some chronic pain, including tension headaches.  This paper provides an updated review of the literature on the effectiveness of hypnosis in the treatment of headaches and migraines, concluding that it meets the clinical psychology research criteria for being a well-established and efficacious treatment and is virtually free of the side effects, risks of adverse reactions, and ongoing expense associated  with medication treatments. (2)

(1) Anderson, J.A., Basker, M.A, Dalton, R. (1975). “Migraine and Hypnotherapy.” International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 23, 48-58.
(2) Hammond C. (2000) The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis; Volume 55, Number 2 – April 2000

Research: hypnosis and IBS

Hypnotherapy is one of the most successful treatment methods, giving 80+% success rate for abdominal pain and distension. It often results in assisting with other problems such as migraine and tension headaches. With patients who have severe chronic IBS, it was Hypnotherapy patients that showed dramatic improvement in all measures, and they maintained that improvement at a two year follow-up. (1)

Cognitive Behavioral Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome–Induced Agoraphobia

There are a number of clinical studies and a body of research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Likewise, there exists research demonstrating the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of IBS. However, there is little written about the integration of CBT and hypnotherapy in the treatment of IBS and a lack of clinical information about IBS-induced agoraphobia. This paper describes the etiology and treatment of IBS-induced agoraphobia. Cognitive, behavioral, and hypnotherapeutic techniques are integrated to provide an effective cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy (CBH) treatment for IBS-induced agoraphobia. This CBH approach for treating IBS-induced agoraphobia is described and clinical data are reported. (2)

(1) Whorwell P.J; Prior A; Faragher E.B. (1988 & 1987). Whorwell, P.J., Prior, A. & Faragher, E.B. (1984). “Controlled Trial of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Severe Refractory Irritable-Bowel Syndrome.” Lancet, pp. 1232-1234. Whorwell, P.J., Prior, A. & Colgan, S.M. (1987). “Hypnotherapy in Severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Further Experience.” Gut, 28, 423-425.
(2) Golden W.L. (2000) The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis; Volume 55, Number 2 – April 2000

Research: hypnosis and depression

Cognitive Hypnotherapy for Depression: An Empirical Study: To investigate the effectiveness of cognitive hypnotherapy (CH), hypnosis combined with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), on depression, 84 depressives were randomly assigned to 16 weeks of treatment of either CH or CBT alone.

At the end of treatment, patients from both groups significantly improved compared to baseline scores. However, the CH group produced significantly larger changes in Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Beck Hopelessness Scale. Effect size calculations showed that the CH group produced 6%, 5%, and 8% greater reduction in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness, respectively, over and above the CBT group.

The effect size was maintained at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups. This study represents the first controlled comparison of hypnotherapy with a well-established psychotherapy for depression, meeting the APA criteria for a “probably efficacious” treatment for depression. (1)

Alternative Treatments for Long-Term Depressed Mood: Meditation and Hypnosis The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness to two alternative treatments for long-term depressed mood: mindfulness meditation and hypnosis. The need to find effective treatments for those suffering from long-term low-to-moderate level depression has been known for over a century.

Although, there have been some recent advances in the types of drug and psychotherapy treatments available for this condition, some people do not respond to such interventions, have considerable side effects (from the drugs), or are not satisfied for other reasons with these treatment options.

The present study represents an innovative investigation into two alternatives to traditional treatments for long-term depressed mood: mindfulness meditation (plus gentle hatha yoga) and hypnosis in a group therapy format. Although both meditation and hypnosis have shown success in treating stress, anxiety, and pain in studies of non-clinical populations, neither has been systematically investigated as a possible treatment for long-term depressed mood. (2)

(1) Assen Alladin and Alisha Alibhai (2000) The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis; Volume 55, Number 2 – April 2000.
(2) Spiegel, D. MD; Butler, L.D. Ph.D. Xin-Hua Chen; Abramson, M. DDS, Waelde, L. Ph.D. Mental Insight Foundation

Research: hypnosis and childbirth

Hypnotherapy has been used successfully to prolong pregnancy and prevent premature delivery. (1)

In Britain 55% of birthing women using hypnosis required no medication for pain relief, compared with 22% of women in non-hypnosis groups. In two other reports 58% of women using hypnotic analgesia required no medication. And five other reports quoted 60-79% of women using hypnosis required no medication.

Check out In another study subjects given hypnosis reported reduced pain, shorter stage 1 labours, less medication, higher Apgar scores, more frequent spontaneous deliveries than other group. Some had lower depression scores after birth than the other groups.(2)

(1) Schwartz, M. (1963) The Cessation of Labor Using Hypnotic Techniques.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 5, 211-213.
(2) Harmon, T.M., Hynan, M., & Tyre, T.E. (1990). “Improved obstetric outcomes using hypnotic analgesia and skill mastery combined with childbirth education.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 525, 530, 1990.

Research: hypnosis and arthritis

Following Hypnotherapy, patients with arthritis achieved significant decreases in pain, anxiety, and depression, and an increases in beta-endorphin-like immunoreactive material.

Domangue, B.B., Margolis, C.G., Lieberman, D. & Kaji, H. (1985). “Biochemical Correlates of Hypnoanalgesia in Arthritic Pain Patients.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 46, 235-238.

Trichotillomania and Hypnotherapy

Trichotillomania and Hypnotherapy – Mia Lack

There is a split in the medical world as to whether trichotillomania (TTM) is an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or an impulse-control disorder and as such is a form of “nervous” illness. Another view is that it’s entirely a behavioural disorder learnt as a reaction to prolonged stress. However, whatever it is classified as, about 2% of the population know it causes them a great deal of embarrassment, discomfort and distress.

TTM involves recurrent hair pulling, resulting in a noticeable loss of hair. It includes compulsive and habitual pulling of eye lashes, eye brows, head hair, and pubic hair. Tension before the act and feelings of pleasure immediately thereafter are typical affect conditions. The obvious hair loss results in increased anxiety and often may lead to an avoidance of social situations and even intimate relationships. Reduced self-esteem is also a factor. Hypnotherapy is now seen as a valid clinical intervention for TTM treatment.

The occurrence of TTM is unknown, but seems to affect more women than men; with only about 1 in 10 trichsters being male. The average age people start hairpulling is 12 years old. The most common triggers are stress, boredom and anxiety. If the client is still at school check for bullying problems etc.

Too many doctors ignore young TTM sufferers as they frequently believe that they will eventually outgrow it. However, if they do not, the problem will last well into their adult years and waiting to see if the young person will outgrow it may prevent the individual from receiving adequate treatment during the period when it may be best and easiest to resolve.

TTM often tends to affect very intelligent and sensitive young people, and while it is a disorder, the behaviour itself may even be a reaction to boredom, due to that high intelligence. Even though TTM is believed to be a genetic disorder, the probability of a person with TTM having a child with the disorder, is still very small. Sensitivity issues are more likely to be passed on than the actual TTM behaviour.

While hair pulling and eyelash pulling is frequently believed to be either ADHD or an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) there are important differences between TTM and OCD. The term trichotillomania was formally incorporated into DSM-III (Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in 1987. It is still classified as an impulse-control disorder much like pyromania, and kleptomania. If the client has been diagnosed as having ADHD and TTM, this could be an example of the doctor not understanding the complexities of TTM and its attention related problems.

Considering the conditions when TTM occurs may be the key to truly understanding hair pulling and designing hypnotherapeutic interventions. Hair pulling often occurs in sedentary and contemplative situations while the client is sitting or lying down and absorbed in thought or concentrating on other tasks. Therefore, their acting out is often out of their awareness or in only partial awareness. Also, tension, boredom, anger, depression, frustration, indecision, lethargy, and fatigue states are also frequently occurring.

TTM is a learned behaviour that is programmed into the client’s brain during a period in their life when s/he does not have sufficient neo-cortical resources to understand and deal with threats. Therefore, it is somewhat of a defensive reaction that is programmed (i.e. habituated). Should the client not grow out of it, the resulting neural networks become so strong that they tend to resist any type of intervention.

The psychotherapeutic treatment of TTM needs to address empowerment, self-efficacy, the development of dissociative awareness, and habit replacement. Essentially, the client needs to develop the belief that they can change, awareness of hair pulling incidents, and replace their self-image and habitual behaviour. The re-focusing of their mind can help the neural networks associated with the problem to wither and strengthen new pathways.

Hypnotherapy is uniquely suited as an intervention for the treatment of TTM. This is for two primary reasons. First, the essential nature of hypnosis is to bypass resistance to change. This is often referred to as a bypass of pattern resistance, a bypass of the critical faculty, or splitting the symptoms from the cause. However, the primary fact here is that once a TTM sufferer becomes an adult, the associated neural patterns are extremely strong and, like any entrenched patterns, they will resist any efforts to change.

The second benefit of the therapeutic use of hypnosis is that it has the ability to create alternate neural pathways. Post hypnotic suggestions that a hair pulling incident will trigger a dissociated awareness are extremely helpful, as the client will automatically become aware and potentially able to find alternate behaviours. Additionally, hypnosis can be used to install new behaviours, to establish and reinforce the client’s belief that they have the power to alter affect responses, and to establish a more empowering self-image. The most beneficial therapy for clients with TTM is SOLUTION based, as research has shown clients rarely benefit from regression or past based therapies. Guided imagery, direct and indirect suggestions, parallel communication, and humour are among the variety of techniques available to a competent hypnotherapist.

With the use of hypnotherapy, it is important for the hypnotherapist to realise that treatment is not a short-term solution. A TTM hypnotherapy protocol should include several weekly or bi-weekly sessions with the hypnotherapist. These sessions should sequentially focus on self-empowerment, dissociative awareness, establishing alternate responses, and reinforcing new self-imagery. These sessions should be aided by having the client listen daily to self-hypnosis CDs that either focus on the specific topic of the previous visit or a multi-topic CD, which is specifically designed to address TTM.

TTM is a very resistant mental pathology. Symptom-based treatment alone is ineffective in the long-run. However many hypnotherapists have found that, especially for adult clients, to equate hair pulling with something negative, like nausea so that when the client feels the urge to pull out their hair, the negative feeling of nausea will help them to avoid it. While at the same time using a solution-based hypnotherapy treatment to attack the underlying entrenched patterns and thus attempt to establish alternate ones.

On the other hand trichotillomania comes in many stages of severity and it may be that symptom transference is initially needed. Here the patient is hypnotised and the ‘part’ causing the obsession is negotiated with and, for example, pulling hair from the scalp is traded down for pulling hair from the arm or leg, etc. It might even be possible to transfer the hair pulling ‘off site’ onto a doll / wig/ or piece of material.

Regardless of the techniques used the number of sessions required may vary depending upon the client’s particular situation and severity. Sometimes just 1 or 2 sessions are enough, however, sometimes a short course of treatment is required lasting maybe 2 – 5 sessions. The client should also be taught self hypnosis to practice between visits.

In conclusion although there are many psychotherapeutic avenues that may show significantly positive results, hypnotherapy appears to be the best and most successful.

Hypnotherapy and the treatment of IBS

Can Hypnosis Ease Chronic IBS Pain? – Bruni Brewin

What the study showed:

Regular sessions of hypnotherapy can markedly ease discomfort and improve the quality of life for most people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These were the findings of a 2002 audit carried out at a British hypnotherapy unit devoted solely to the treatment of this common bowel disorder; they were published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

How it was done…

The research was done at a new IBS Hypnotherapy Unit at the University of South Manchester. The first 250 people treated at the Unit filled out a questionnaire before starting the program and again after three months so that comparisons could be made.

Participants scored themselves on such items as presence and severity of IBS symptoms, quality of life, and level of anxiety and depression. All had suffered from the painful bowel disorder for two years or more and had failed to get real relief from other treatments.

Every week, each participant met with a hypnotherapist.    In all, 232 participants continued hypnotherapy and filled out a final set of questionnaires at the end of three months.

The researchers found that bowel habit (such as stool frequency and consistency) improved in 78% of patients. (It did not change in 13%, and it deteriorated slightly in 9%.) Many indicated that their sense of overall well-being soared. Anxiety and depression eased considerably. The only subgroup of participants that did not respond to hypnotherapy were males with diarrhoea. The reviewers could not explain why they improved far less than other patients.

Why it’s important…

The university’s specialized Hypnotherapy Unit was established in response to indications that hypnosis could make a big difference in the lives of people with IBS, a bowel disorder that causes millions abdominal pain, bloating, and other problems. Many miss weeks of work and are depressed as a result of their illness, and consider their quality of life quite poor.

This large-scale review confirms the wisdom of treating IBS with hypnotherapy. In just three months, symptoms such as pain and bloating, as well as the level of so-called “disease interference” with life, changed profoundly for most participants.

The findings also indicate that a mind-body technique such as hypnotherapy can be very cost-effective (especially compared to pricey medications and surgical interventions), and that relief from this notoriously hard-to-treat condition can be sustainable (improvements are long-lasting).

Bruni Brewin is the president emeritus of the Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association. She has a thriving practice in Chipping Norton, NSW.