For today’s blog I have highlighted three studies linked with hypnosis. I will give some of my own comments on the applicability of the research in the work of hypnotherapy/hypno-psychotherapy in practice. It is my hope that these papers will help to give you a greater insight into the effectiveness of hypnotherapy.
Madrid, A. (2006) Helping children with asthma by repairing maternal-infant bonding problems. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Vol 48(2-3)
Abstract: Studies about the psychology of childhood asthma have revealed that parenting difficulties are related to the development of asthma in some children. Disruptions in maternal-infant bonding are highly correlated with pediatric asthma and are presented as a cause for these parenting problems. Bonding problems are known to be caused most often by physical separation at birth or by some recent trauma in the mother’s life. By using hypnosis to remove the pain of the separation or trauma in the mother, and by creating a new birth history in her imagination, some children’s asthmatic symptoms have been shown to remit or greatly improve. The hypnotic method for this treatment is described
Comments: note that this says that parenting difficulties are related to asthma in SOME children. Recently I have become more and more aware of a trend among hypnotists (and others!) to speak in absolutes. For example, I heard one hypnotist say that all people who are overweight are so because of emotional issues. We should always be aware of saying always! But back to the paper in question; this seems to offer a valuable way of working with an ever increasing problem. It should be noted that one should not work with this unless under the written referral of a medical practitioner.
Aviv, A. (2006) Tele-hypnosis in the Treatment of Adolescent School Refusal. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Vol 49(1),
Abstract: Few studies have presented the use of hypnosis in the treatment of school refusal. These studies haven’t approached the problem of self-hypnosis during the stressful morning hours. This paper introduces a therapeutic approach, which utilizes known hypnotic techniques, but rehearses them via the telephone, while the patient is at his/her house or on the way to school and the therapist is at the office. Twelve school refusal adolescents were treated with different hypnotherapy techniques. Equipped with cellular phones and with the therapist’s availability, these adolescents could benefit from hypnosis as an alternative coping strategy when the anxiety occurred. Results showed that 8 of the participants maintained full- time attendance, 3 showed partial improvement and 1 failed to improve his attendance. This study illustrates the benefits of self-hypnosis in the treatment of school refusal, while also enabling the patient to maintain the connection with the therapist so that the anxiety may be confronted when it arises.
Comments: I feel a little uneasy about the use of hypnosis over the phone, especially ‘œon the way’ to school, but presuming safety is given full consideration, this is an interesting idea. It seems to be a good idea to provide this extra link, which would help the child move to autonomy, and demonstrates that thinking outside the box can add a new dimension to the services we can offer.
Iglesias, A. & Iglesias, A. (2006) Hypnotic treatment of PTSD in children who have complicated bereavement. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Vol 48(2-3)
Abstract: Although conceptualized as a normal reaction to loss and not classified as a mental disorder, grief can be considered a focus of treatment. When grief complicates and becomes pathological by virtue of its duration, intensity, and absence or by bizarre or somatic manifestation, a psychiatric diagnosis is in order. Childhood PTSD in Complicated Bereavement is a condition derived from the loss of a loved one when the nature of death is occasioned through traumatic means. The traumatic nature of the loss engenders trauma symptoms, which impinge on the child’s normal grieving process and his/her ability to negotiate the normal grieving system. The 2 cases presented herein constitute single session treatment with clinical hypnosis of PTSD, a result of the traumatic loss of the paternal figures. The setting in which these cases took place was rural Guatemala. Treatment consisted of single session hypnosis with the Hypnotic Trauma Narrative, a tool designed to address the symptomatology of PTSD. Follow-up a week later and telephone follow-up 2 months later demonstrated the resolution of traumatic manifestations and the spontaneous beginning of the normal grief process.
Comments: As stated, grief IS a normal process, but one that can get stuck. I would not recommend hypnosis for grief unless the client has gone through the various phases of grief have occurred, and this study shows how effective hypnosis can be to create movement. Not everything is about resolution: movement is often the key. Movement must be ecological in that the client needs to move at a pace that is consistent with the health and integrity of his/ her mind and body.