Safe-place inductions are considered important altered states of consciousness (ASC) to be (re)installed during trauma-informed psychotherapy. Coregulation aimed at changing implicit relational knowing and increasing integration and coherence through relational work and hypnotic techniques is crucial, as clients’ abilities to self-soothe and regulate have become seriously impaired. Thus, resource-oriented metaphors as inner strength imagery is advocated. Also, methods such as creative-arts therapy and neurofeedback will induce ASCs, as most methods used with complex traumatized clients, due to their high hypnotizability. When positive or soothing imagery or relationally held suggestions for changed attentional focus are added to both psychodynamic psychotherapy and CBT, a hetero-hypnosis will be induced—a prerequisite for phase-specific trauma therapy aimed at changing inner schemas and scripts.
This proof of principle study examined the potential benefits of EEG neurofeedback for increasing responsiveness to self-hypnosis training for chronic pain management. The study comprised 20 individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) who received 5 sessions of self-hypnosis training—1 face-to-face session and 4 prerecorded sessions. Participants were randomly assigned to have the prerecorded sessions preceded by either (a) EEG biofeedback (neurofeedback) training to increase left anterior theta power (NF-HYP) or (b) a relaxation control condition (RLX-HYP). Eighteen participants completed all treatment sessions and assessments. NF-HYP participants reported greater reductions in pain than RLX-HYP participants. The findings provide support for the potential treatment-enhancing effects of neurofeedback on hypnotic analgesia and also suggest that effective hypnosis treatment can be provided very efficiently.