Hypnosis is legitimately part of a comprehensive treatment plan

Posted on September 22, 2016

When "Comedy Hypnotist" Chris Jones invited celebrity judge Howie Mandel on stage and hypnotized him on the competition show "America's Got Talent," the performance brought the audience to its feet and even inspired a social media hashtag, #HowieShakesHands.

Mandel, who struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder, followed Jones' cues and for the first time in more than eight years, the germaphobe shook hands with his fellow judges. The seemingly instant transformation was so surprising, some viewers thought it was an act (Mandel said it was not).

But according to David Spiegel, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, not only is hypnotherapy legitimate, it's "literally the oldest Western conception of a psychotherapy."

Spiegel has been conducting studies about the benefits of hypnosis for more than 40 years and he said there is no doubt that hypnosis works as an effective therapeutic technique to manage pain and kick bad habits.

In 2000, Spiegel and his colleagues determined that patients using hypnosis as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan could significantly reduce drug use and procedure time.

"Lowering those two meant an average cost savings of approximately $338," Spiegel said. A 2007 article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute doubled that figure, finding that a hospital saved $772 per patient in the hypnosis group, mainly due to reduced surgical time. "Patients who received hypnosis reported less post-surgical pain, nausea, fatigue and discomfort," according to a release from the American Psychological Association.

Hypnosis has its skeptics, partly because while studies seem to show it has tangible benefits, it's most often used in tandem with other treatments; scientifically quantifying its success alone is difficult.

How does hypnosis work? Firstly, using verbal and nonverbal cues, a hypnotherapist will help the client quiet their peripheral, conscious mind, the part that's constantly stimulated by outside sources.

Clients will relax, their posture will adjust and they will usually become very still, according to Wesley Anderson, a practicing hypnotherapist for more than 20 years. "They're halfway between being completely asleep and completely awake," he explained.
In this trance-like state, the part of the brain responsible for the subconscious, nonlogical thoughts can become wide open to suggestions. "The normal adult filters and belief systems of what is and what isn't will start to fade," he said. "Clients become almost childlike." Hypnotherapists can then begin to use imagery and suggestion to help them start thinking about their bad habits or their pain differently.

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Source material from CNN

Mental Health News