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.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a hypnotically based intervention for pain and fear in women undergoing labor who are about to receive an epidural catheter. A group of 155 women received interventions that included either (1) patient rocking, gentle touching, and hypnotic communication or (2) patient rocking, gentle touching, and standard communication. The authors found that the hypnotic communication intervention was more effective than the standard communication intervention for reducing both pain intensity and fear. The results support the use of hypnotic communication just before and during epidural placement for women who are in labor and also indicate that additional research to evaluate the benefits and mechanism of this treatment is warranted.
The aim of this systematic review was to estimate the efficiency of hypnosis prior to medical procedures. Different databases were analyzed to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing hypnosis to control interventions. All RCTs had to report pain or anxiety. Eighteen RCTs with a total of 968 patients were included; study size was from 20 to 200 patients (14 RCTs ≤ 60 patients). Fourteen RCTs included 830 adults and 4 RCTs included 138 children. Twelve of 18 RCTs had major quality limitations related to unclear allocation concealments, provider’s experience in hypnosis, patient’s adherence to hypnotic procedures, and intention-to-treat design. This systematic review observed major methodological limitations in RCTs on hypnosis prior to medical procedures.
This case study reports on a 69-year-old African American male who presented with hot flashes following a diagnosis of prostate cancer and subsequent prostatectomy. Measures include both self-reported and physiologically measured hot flash frequency and sleep quality. The intervention involved 7 weekly sessions of hypnotic relaxation therapy directed toward alleviation of hot flashes. Posttreatment self-reported hot flashes decreased 94%; physiologically measured hot flashes decreased 100%; and sleep quality improved 87.5%. At week 12, both self-reported and physiologically measured hot flashes decreased 95% and sleep quality improved 37.5% over baseline, suggesting hypnotic relaxation therapy may be an effective intervention for men with hot flashes following treatment for prostate cancer.