Despite the continued debate and lack of a clear consensus about the true nature of the hypnotic phenomenon, hypnosis is increasingly being utilized successfully in many medical, health, and psychological spheres as a research method, motivational tool, and therapeutic modality. Significantly, however, although hypnotherapy is widely advertised, advocated, and employed in the private medical arena for the management and treatment of many physical and emotional disorders, too little appears to be being done to integrate hypnosis into primary care and national health medical services. This article discusses some of the reasons for the apparent reluctance of medical and scientific health professionals to consider incorporating hypnosis into their medical practice, including the practical problems inherent in using hypnosis in a medical context and some possible solutions.
Hypnosis has been shown to alleviate symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatment. However, less is known about the use of hypnosis at the end of life in individuals with cancer. Our goal was to systematically review the literature on the use of hypnosis to manage the most common symptoms of end-of-life cancer patients: fatigue, sleep disturbances, pain, appetite loss, and dyspnea. EMBASE, MEDLINE, COCHRANE, PsychINFO, and SCOPUS databases were searched from inception through November 7, 2016. No studies met the inclusion criteria. It appears that hypnosis has never been rigorously tested as a means to ameliorate the most common symptoms in individuals with cancer at the end of their lives. This finding is troubling, as it strongly implies that a population most in need has been largely neglected. However, a clear future research direction is revealed that may have significant clinical impact.
Smoking cessation remains a major health priority. Despite public campaigns against smoking and widespread availability of smoking-cessation treatments, many people continue to smoke. The authors argue that the “problem of motivation,” that is, suboptimal or fluctuating motivation to resist smoking urges and to comply with the demands of treatment, commonly undermines treatment seeking and adherence, appreciably reducing the success rates of smoking-cessation programs. The authors describe the history of the Winning Edge smoking-cessation program and discuss ways to enhance motivation before, during, and after formal treatment. They illustrate how hypnotic suggestions, administered in the context of their program, can promote cognitive, behavioral, and emotional commitment to treatment and enhance motivation to live a smoke-free life.
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a psychophysiological disorder, characterized by the following: chronic sympathetic nervous activation; persisting perceptual/sensory vigilance for threats; recurrent distressing memories of the event, including intrusive memories, flashbacks lived as if in the present moment, and nightmares; and a persisting negative emotional state including fear and shame. The psychophysiological basis for this disorder calls for psychophysiologically based interventions. This article presents the case narrative of a 29-year-old national guardsman, exposed to combat trauma and later to civilian trauma in public safety work. His treatment followed the Pathways model, comprised of multimodal interventions, beginning with self-directed behavioral changes, then the acquisition of skills (including self-hypnosis), and finally professional treatment including clinical hypnosis and EMDR.
For many years, the therapy field was dominated by a focus on the past. In this context, many clinicians were trained to use hypnosis as a tool to explore the past, and there is a rich literature documenting the use of hypnosis as a tool to induce age regression and the uncovering of traumatic memories. This article presents a therapeutic paradigm that focuses on the future. Hypnosis is used to induce creativity, flexibility, and openness to the future. In the context of health care, hypnosis is used to explore the best possible treatment outcome, which may be pharmacological, surgical, or a combination of both as well as other nonsurgical interventions. This article elaborates on the effective use of a therapeutic hypnosis strategy and technique focused on the future.