July 13, 2007

The Judiciary System

Recollection of knowledge via hypnosis has been used in many cases, but its effectiveness is disputed. Proponents claim that recovered memories have aided in the solving of many crimes, often corroborating with physical evidence which would have been impossible to obtain otherwise. Skeptics suggest that such successes are a function of simple chance, pointing to cases where its use on victims of rape or attempted murder to help them jog their memory in identifying an accused has caused sentences to be doled out to the wrong person. This is because the hypnotist might make suggestions that are more likely to be remembered as "truth". (See also false memory). Most experts recommend that the practice be used at most like a lie detector, to glean more information, and never as the smoking gun.

Hypnosis has proven beneficial, but not always in expected ways. During the Hillside Strangler trial, Kenneth Bianchi claimed a split personality carried out the crimes of which he was accused. Hypnosis was used extensively to argue that a second personality existed. However, due to faults in Bianchi's facade, it was proved that no other personalities existed and his insanity defense was discredited.

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Governmental authorities and qualifications

Governmental authorities, such as state licensing agencies, may establish minimum requirements for credentials that must be earned before one may practice hypnosis within their jurisdiction. Such credentials typically are called certificates or licenses.

In 1955, the British Medical Association, in 1958 the American Medical Association, and in 1960 the American Psychological Association all approved the medical uses of hypnosis. Even though they recognized the validity of hypnosis, medical schools and universities largely ignored the subject. As a result, the private sector became the provider of hypnosis training. This lead to a very interesting state of affairs; with so few physicians and dentists being able to train others in hypnosis, the private hypnotherapy school was born.

There was no authentic degree or diploma in hypnosis issued in either Great Britain, the United States, nor in any other country in the world. There was no such thing as a qualified hypnotherapist. There were only a few training courses for qualified doctors, dentists and clinical psychologists.

The World Health Organization has included hypnotherapy in procedure-based therapies of traditional medicine with an emphasis that hypnosis sits astride official and unofficial medicine.

Since the early 1990s two UK universities, Sheffield University and University College London, have sanctioned degree programs in hypnosis for medically, dentally, or psychologically qualified hands.

In 1998 there was great change in UK. It was the development of National Occupational Standards[6] [7]for hypnotherapy. The UK recognized hypnotherapy as a stand-alone therapy. There is a profession wide program of trying to secure National Qualifications Framework for hypnotherapy. City & guilds a national awarding body have been employed to accredit training program in hypnotherapy and counseling. In June 2002 NCFE,[34] a UK national awarding body, started external accreditation for the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma courses supervised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy.[35] They have to study the psychology and psychotherapy relevant to their subject. In their syllabus hypnotism is to psychology as surgery is to medicine. As a surgeon must be expert in medicine, a hypnotherapist must be in counseling psychology.

So there is an accredited qualification in UK, but the practice has not been yet regulated.

Things are the reverse in the USA. The practice is regulated to certain extent. But there is no an accredited qualification. There is an explicit law in 16 states of US that regulates the practice of hypnotism. They are California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington and Nevada (forensic hypnosis only). Connecticut, New York and Minnesota states have changed their status in 2006 or are undergoing change in the existing regulation.

But Hypnotherapy (hypnosis) is recognized as a legal stand-alone profession by the US Department of Labor. It is listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (079.157.010). The US Department of Education lists "Hypnotherapy-hypnotherapist" (9CIP 2000, 51.3603) under instructional programs. The Office of Administrative Law Judges Law Library lists "Hypnotherapist" as a "legal profession."

According to the Federal Dictionary of Occupational Titles published by the United States Department of Labor under Hypnotherapist 079.157.010 it is defined as follows: "Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior patterns: Consults with client to determine nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic state by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degree of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client, using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client's problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning". GOE: 10.02.02 STRENGTH: S GED: R4 M3 L4 SVP: 7 DLU: 7

In 2003, India also restricted the practice of hypnotherapy to Registered Medical Practitioners of recognized systems and appropriately trained personnel.[8]

In Ontario, Canada, the Hypnosis Act of 1964 was struck down apparently due to the ongoing difficulty of defining and proving hypnosis or a hypnotic state, rendering hypnosis and hypnotherapy an unregulated industry in the province.

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June 10, 2007

Depth Hypnosis, Soul Retrieval, and Addiction

There are many different understandings about the nature of addiction. In working with addiction through my practice of Depth Hypnosis, I have found that it is helpful to apply the diagnostic and restorative methods provided by shamanism to help resolve addictive issues permanently.

Depth Hypnosis is an innovative model which combines Shamanism, hypnotherapy, transpersonal psychology and Buddhism to effect change in a wide variety of imbalances. Depth Hypnosis takes the wisdom of the most ancient psychologies on the planet, shamanism, and applies it to a modern therapeutic context.

In shamanism, it is understood that imbalance is created by three possible conditions. These conditions are power loss, soul loss and energetic interference.

Power loss and soul loss both occur in reaction to trauma. The types of trauma which create soul loss can also create power loss. Trauma ranging from a car accident to emotional, physical or sexual abuse to negative internal self talk can create a state of soul or power loss. Soul loss is characterized by a loss of energy on a physical level, a lack of interest in life on emotional or spiritual level and a lack of focus on a mental level. Power loss is often recognized by the struggle or a series of events which appear to bad luck which occur in a person's life as he tries to overcome the exhaustion or depletion created by power loss.

In Depth Hypnosis, addictions are viewed as a medication for the state of soul loss or power loss. In my work, I have seen that people either use the addiction to try and reproduce the state of soul loss in a controlled way or use the addiction to try and erase the state of soul loss.

By taking an emotional biography of the person as well as a presenting biography of the addiction, it is surprising to see how predictable the onset of an addiction is in response to events which are viewed as producing soul loss or power loss. Divorce, death, abusive conditions in early childhood correlate with the roots of the addictive process. People will often say something like “Nothing was ever the same after that.” Or, they might say, “Everything has been hard since then.” These types of statements are tip offs that same major shift has occurred in a person's internal world. That shift is what shamans refer to soul loss or power loss.

In classic shamanic terms energetic interference is characterized by what is often called “possession.” That is, a person can become affected and even overcome by energy which is not his own. In shamanism, this can refer to as a possessing entity – or an energy which does not have a definable physical body. In Depth Hypnosis, energetic interference can refer to spirit possession, but it also refer to foreign energies such as introjects. Introjects are aspects of another person's personality which a person can adopt or which a person can be overrun by. This occurs frequently in parent-child relationships.

When speaking of addiction, one can easily recognize an addiction as something which has its own energy system and does not have a physical body. Addictions fulfill the main criteria of energetic interference in that they disrupt the flow of a person's life energy. By engaging in addiction and trying to either recreate the energy patterns underlying traumatic events in a controlled way or erase those patterns, a person loses choice over how he uses his life energy.

In shamanic terms, the remedy for the above situation is simple: remove the energetic interference and restore the part of the soul or power that was lost. But not necessarily in that order. Often a person must be restored to his power or his soul before he has the power or energy required to face down the depletion the energetic interference is compounding.

In traditional settings, the shaman does this work for the individual. By moving into an altered state, the shaman uses his relationships with what in shamanism are called ‘helping spirits' to find the piece of soul or power which is frozen outside of time. This part of the self is usually caught in the trauma, which created the soul loss – and it is as if the event is occurring in present time. By releasing the part of the self, which is frozen outside of time by entering into the event and with the help of his helping spirits, the shaman retrieves and returns the soul part or power, which has been lost.

Depth Hypnosis adapts this technique to create an environment where the person suffering the power loss or soul loss is assisted in retrieving the lost part himself. This is done through a variety of techniques, most of which are accomplished in an altered state. The Depth Hypnosis practitioner guides the client into an altered state where the person is able to perceive more about himself than he would normally be able to in a waking state. By following the path of the trauma through the effect it has on the body, the client is guided into entering the situation or circumstance where the trauma occurred and retrieving the lost part himself. The advantages of engaging the client in the process are numerous – not the least of which is that the person becomes empowered as an agent for his own healing and is not dependent on an outside source, such as the shaman.

Again, in traditional shamanic practice, it is the shaman, along with his helping spirits, who engages with the source of the energetic interference and moves it out of the person's energetic sphere. And again, this practice is adapted in Depth Hypnosis to engage the client in understanding the source of the interference, its effect and the ways in which the individual is participating in creating and maintaining the energetic interference. And again, the advantages are the same.

Case studies demonstrating the advantages of using Depth Hypnosis to address the issues underlying addiction are numerous. It is important to note that no two smokers or no two drinkers or no two heroin addicts have the same reasons for indulging in their habits. By using Depth Hypnosis methods such as insight inquiry, hypnotic regression and modified shamanic journeys the practitioner and the client embark into a process of discovery and healing.

One client, a 35 year old woman came for help with an eating disorder – bulimia. By exploring the role the eating disorder played in her life and following the energy pattern it presented, she was able to see how the overeating to vomiting was mimicking the soul loss and resultant overwhelm she felt at being left in charge of 2 younger brothers at age 12 after her mother left her father for another man. The vomiting created a valve which released the overwhelm from the food. This relief had not been available to her as a teen coping with trying to parent her siblings. Through the eating disorder, she was recreating the conditions surrounding soul loss (using food to overwhelm her) and correcting those conditions with vomiting.

By introducing her first to the power retrieval process wherein she encountered what in shamanism is called ‘ a helping spirit' and what in Depth Hypnosis is called ‘the part of the self with your highest good as its soul intent' she was able to receive internal stability she had not had before. With that stability, she was able to return to the part of herself which was frozen outside of time in the state of overwhelm through age regression. She was then able to effect a series of soul retrievals for herself. As her dominant internal state continued to shift from that of overwhelm to that of stability, her eating disorder subsided naturally. No behavior modification or suggestion hypnosis was necessary and the change in the eating disorder remains 9 years after treatment.

Another case of an addiction being permanently altered through shamanic means adapted to Depth Hypnosis methodology is in the case of a 45 year old man with a 25 year addiction to chewing tobacco. Through his work with insight inquiry and age regression, he was able to follow the pattern of his addiction to grade school. He had been a naturally brilliant student, but found that he could not maintain friendships if they other students felt he was smarter than they were. So he came up with a method of dumbing himself down – doing poorly on tests on purpose to keep him from getting better grades than the other students. The habit of undercutting himself continued when he left school through the use of tobacco. The tobacco left him irritable and unable to focus, so his high energy was depleted and his performance at work remained mediocre. This was a less effective adaptation to the social constraints, and he had not been able to stop chewing.

By effecting a power retrieval through the engagement with ‘the part of the self with your highest good as its soul intent' he was able to revel in the joy of being fully in his power for the first time in 30 years. During an age regression, he was able to restore this power to the 10 year old who had disowned it in favor of social acceptance. As an adult, he was so exhilarated at the prospect being able to function at full capacity, that it was easy for him to quit chewing – especially when he realized that the habit was reinforcing and deepening the pattern of self-sabotage he had so poorly understood before his work with Depth Hypnosis.

One last example is a 30 year old man who was addicted to several different types of ‘downers.' The state that all these drugs produced was the same – one of suspended animation where he could feel very little and thereby ‘relax'. In exploring the roots of his experience through Depth Hypnosis methods, it became clear that was recreating the state where he had spent most of his childhood. This was a state of numbing which had been able to produce for himself in response to severe neglect by his parents. In a way, it could be said that he was actually visiting this part of himself that was caught in the trauma the numbing was medicating by doing the downers. By doing a series of power retrievals, soul retrievals and removing the energetic interference of the numbed state, he was able to kick the drug habit permanently.

By adapting the ancient methods of shamanism into the modern therapeutic context, addiction can be overcome permanently and relatively painlessly. By challenging the client to participate in his own healing at the roots of the dysfunction, addiction can be successfully abated through Depth Hypnosis.

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Applications of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

It seems that it never ceases to amaze people the wide range of symptoms and circumstances that can successfully be dealt with using hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

However, before hypnosis and/or hypnotherapy can be applied successfully, there are a number of conditions that must be met for this to take place. The therapeutic alliance is paramount to the success of any application of hypnosis, where trust and rapport should be established before any hypnosis takes place. Also highly dependent on the success of the treatment is the BICE model, which relies on the individual's Belief, Imagination, Conviction and Expectation.

It can be argued that part of the hypnosis protocol is dependent on the placebo effect, where if a client expects their condition to improve, there is a good chance that he or she will be successful. However, hypnosis is more than that. It allows the conscious and subconscious to work together without conflict on the same idea at the same time and since conflict between these parts of the psyche results in anxiety, the root of many disorders, the therapist can utilise this tool to successfully overcome many problems the individual is experiencing. As a result, good results can be achieved when an individual's subconscious starts working for them rather than against them.

Before continuing however, it is necessary to distinguish between hypnosis and hypnotherapy: whilst all hypnotherapy employs the use of hypnosis, not all hypnosis employs the use of hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis, in itself, will only induce a trance state and, other than relaxing the client, is not of much use on its own. However, aided with the use of suggestions, the hypnotist can bypass the critical faculty of the mind to implant behavioural change into the client's subconscious. These suggestions can be effective for anything between three minutes to three weeks.

For example, if an individual is suffering from anxiety, it is possible to remove this block using a powerful suggestion, although this solution may be relatively short-term if the anxiety has been caused by an event, or series of events, earlier in life, as the client's belief about self will not have been altered.

Suggestion therapy is also useful for habit control. Whilst it is necessary for the subconscious to maintain certain habits, such as getting washed and dressed in the morning, it also holds on to all the other habits we have learnt throughout our life, including the unwanted ones. Example of these include smoking, and nail biting, and it is hoped that by the time the suggestion has worn off, a new habit will have been formed, and replaced the old habit of say, smoking.

Additionally, suggestion therapy can be useful in improving performance, including sports, exam nerves or driving test worries to name a few, by instilling confidence within the individual.

Hypnosis has also been employed in the alleviation of physical pain, often with great success, as demonstrated by James Esdaile in India , where he was able to perform amputations without anaesthetic, due to the absolute faith his patients had in his ability to heal them – something that he was not easily able to replicate in Britain. However, this deep state is now often referred to as the Esdalle or coma state, where the individual shows signs of anaesthesia and does not respond to suggestion. Whilst this is only achievable in a relatively small percentage of individuals, it is a very valuable treatment for those undergoing surgery.

Hypnosis can also be used in emergency situations where a person may have suffered terrible injury and is in a great deal of pain. Hypnotic suggestions can be applied whilst waiting for the emergency services to arrive, which can also serve as a distraction mechanism. Where there is significant pain, glove anaesthesia techniques may also be employed.

On the subject of pain, hypnosis is also now being used during childbirth, a method known as hypnobirthing, to minimise discomfort to the mother. Similarly, hypnosis is employed in dentistry, allowing some patients to undergo treatment without anaesthetic, or to allow them to feel more comfortable about visiting the dentist.

Far from the clinical setting is the application of hypnosis used on the stage, whereby the hypnotist's main aim is to provide maximum entertainment for the audience. In such instances, the hypnotist will carefully select the “best” participants, who will be willing and extroverted individuals, and often if the stage hypnotist is very well known, individuals may go into hypnosis with very little effort!

At the other end of the spectrum, hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to apply various forms of psychotherapy to the client. Hypnotherapy can successfully treat those individuals suffering from neurosis, as opposed to psychosis or other forms of mental illness, such as Borderline Personality Disorder and schizophrenia. Often neuroses can be dealt with successfully if the onset was after the age of 3 ½ years, and not part of the client's fundamental conditioning, which may be much harder to deal with.

Hypnotherapy can be used to reduce the emotional stacks within an individual that have been built upon over months, or even years, and help to restore their confidence. Depression, which often involves feelings of low self-esteem, can be treated, although it would be necessary to ensure that the client was receiving the necessary medication before beginning therapy. This works two-fold: it can tell the therapist whether he or she is dealing with lethargic depression, rather than bi-polar disorder which is classed as psychosis, and also reduce the risk of suicide if the therapy on its own was to motivate the client enough to begin making future plans.

Since our immune system is controlled by our subconscious, psychosomatic and psychogenic illness is also another area where hypnotherapy can be of great help, although it is essential that the client is referred to a GP to rule out any physical or organic cause. Whilst a cure can never be promised, often the client's illness can become more manageable, with less frequent symptoms, providing them with a better quality of life. Examples of such illnesses include migraines, arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and skin conditions.

Where certain hypnotherapy techniques are not proving effective at alleviating the individual from their symptoms, hypnoanalysis can be applied. This works by using techniques, such as regression, and can also include ego states therapy and time track therapy, to uncover the cause and effect of deep rooted issues within the client's subconscious that may have been repressed to protect the client from trauma.

Regression to cause may be adopted for those suffering from one particular symptom, maybe affecting just one area of their life. Free association, originally devised by Freud, can be combined with hypnosis to assist individuals displaying a wide range of symptoms; for example, a depressed individual who may be showing signs of general anxiety, low-self esteem and suffers from migraines.

Often analytical work has the benefit of often achieving faster results than psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and is frequently used from the outset with problems such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, tinnitus and psychosexual difficulties.

Hypnotherapy cannot completely change a person's entire personality, although the Ancestral Memory approach can be applied effectively to assist individuals in bringing out their best qualities and adapting to a variety of situations they may encounter. This can also assist in inter-personal relationships with others, and take away with them a greater understanding of why people act the way they do.

The use of hypnosis isn't just restricted to those working as hypnotherapists, hypnoanalysts and stage hypnotists as their main profession. It is being adopted by people from a whole range of backgrounds, including counsellors, reiki healers and even managers of corporations who want to use self-hypnosis within the workplace to reduce stress and encourage both themselves and employees to be more productive.

One of the huge benefits in using hypnosis is the fact that there are no unwanted side-effects. Whilst some individuals may feel worse after a few sessions of therapy, a sign of subconscious resistance, or experience abreactions during a session, even these are positive events, leading the way to healing.

It is hoped that, with increased awareness from the public, together with tougher regulations to practice, more people will understand the various applications of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, and turn to them more frequently as complementary approaches to traditional medicine.

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The Use of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Functional Dyspepsia

In this article, I shall review the evidence that suggests that the æ tiology of functional dyspepsia has a significant psychological component, and the evidence that suggests that hypnotherapy is effective in its treatment, with the aim of meriting the implementation of further clinical trials and the involvement of professionals skilled in hypnosis in the management of the condition.


Dyspepsia, commonly known as ‘indigestion', is a non-specific term used to describe symptoms of abdominal discomfort that are episodic or persistent and are thought to originate from the upper gastrointestinal tract. Such symptoms may include abdominal pain, heartburn, bloating, belching, nausea, and vomiting. It is an extremely common cause of morbidity in the UK , affecting over 25% of the population each year. Of the organic causes of dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease accounts for approximately 20% of all cases of dyspepsia, and approximately 80% of these cases are thought to be attributable to infection by Helicobacter pylori . Other organic causes of dyspepsia include reflux œsophagitis, which is responsible for approximately 10% of cases, and upper gastrointestinal malignancy, which is serious but accounts for fewer than 2% of cases. However, in up to 60% of all cases of dyspepsia, there is no evidence of organic disease on investigation. These patients are said to have functional dyspepsia.

Psychological factors in the ætiology

Although the pathogenesis of functional dyspepsia is unclear, epidemiological studies have shown the condition to be strongly associated with psychological factors. Anxiety, neuroticism, somatisation, and depression, have been found to be commoner in patients with functional dyspepsia compared to healthy controls, and in some cases of functional dyspepsia, symptoms have been known to coincide with identifiable causes of stress. 1 Abnormal illness behaviour has also been observed in sufferers of functional dyspepsia. Furthermore, studies have shown that psychological factors can produce alterations in gastrointestinal physiology. 2 This evidence suggests that psychological factors play a rôle in the ætiology of functional dyspepsia, and, as we shall see, this has implications on how it responds to different treatment methods.

In addition to psychological factors, visceral hypersensitivity, or an augmented perception of visceral pain, is thought to be a factor associated with functional dyspepsia. Studies have shown that patients with functional dyspepsia are more sensitive to gastric distension by the inflation of an intragastric balloon, and to intraduodenal acid infusion, compared to healthy controls. 3 However, this was only found in a proportion of patients with the condition, and so visceral hypersensitivity cannot be considered to be a universal feature of functional dyspepsia. Nevertheless, this too may have implications on the responsiveness of the condition to different treatment methods, particularly hypnotherapy.

The rôle of hypnotherapy

Over recent times, there has been a growing interest in the use of psychological interventions, such as hypnotherapy, to treat functional dyspepsia. This is, perhaps, justified, considering that psychological factors, as I have discussed, have been shown to play a rôle in the ætiology of the condition. In other words, since the underlying mechanisms of functional dyspepsia may be susceptible to modulation by the mind, there is reason to suggest that the condition might be amenable to treatment with psychological therapies that target the mind, such as hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a physical and mental state in which the body is relaxed and the mind is intensely focused and receptive. In this state, therapeutic suggestions can be made, in order to assist the patient to take control of a condition. Such a process is called hypnotherapy . Different specific protocols have been developed for different conditions, and the term clinical hypnosis is used when referring to the use of such a specific protocol in a medical framework to treat a specific condition.

Hypnotherapy has been shown to be effective in the management of another functional gastrointestinal condition, namely irritable bowel syndrome. Like functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome is not associated with any underlying organic disease, and is strongly associated with psychological factors. The results of the first formal research study on the use of hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome showed that the patients who received hypnotherapy showed marked improvements in their condition compared to the patients who received psychotherapy and placebo tablets. 4 The effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome begs the question of whether it may also be effective in other functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as functional dyspepsia.

The hypothesis that some patients with functional dyspepsia have an increased visceral hypersensitivity also supports the idea that functional dyspepsia may be amenable to treatment with hypnosis. Studies have shown that hypnosis can modulate the cognitive appraisal of pain, in such a way that although the patient still registers the sensation, the perception of unpleasantness is reduced. They found that the activity of the anterior cingulate cortex and prefrontal cortex, two cortical areas involved in the cognitive appraisal of pain, increases during hypnotic suggestion for the control of pain. 5 This may be one of the mechanisms that underlie the ability of hypnosis to produce analgesia in patients. Since the visceral hypersensitivity that is sometimes associated with functional dyspepsia is, in essence, an augmented sensitivity to visceral pain, it is not unreasonable to suggest that it may respond to treatment with hypnosis.

Considering the rôles of psychological factors and visceral hypersensitivity in the ætiology of functional dyspepsia, an appropriate clinical hypnosis protocol for use in the treatment of the condition may include suggestions of abdominal comfort and warmth, confidence, greater self-control, and an ego-strengthening script with a physical emphasis. These can aim to modulate the cognitive appraisal of pain, achieve a greater awareness and control of gastrointestinal physiology, and manage any internal stressors that may be underlying the symptoms.

The Wythenshawe trial

The first formal research study on the efficacy of hypnotherapy for functional dyspepsia was a randomised controlled trial, performed by Dr Calvert and his team in Wythenshawe Hospital , Manchester , England , in 2002. 6 The study investigators recruited patients with dyspepsia who had showed negative results on upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Patients with symptoms of reflux œsophagitis, a past medical history of peptic ulcer disease, recent gastrointestinal surgery, current infection by Helicobacter pylori , or who were regularly using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, were excluded from the trial, to rule out anyone whose symptoms may have had an underlying organic cause. The remaining 126 patients, who fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for functional dyspepsia, were randomised to receive hypnotherapy, supportive therapy plus placebo medication, or medical treatment with ranitidine in an oral dosage of 150mg twice a day, for 16 weeks. The short-term and long-term percentage changes in symptomatology from baseline were assessed after 16 weeks and 56 weeks, respectively. Quality of Life scores were also measured as a secondary outcome. A total of 26 hypnotherapy, 24 supportive therapy, and 29 medical treatment patients completed all stages of the study.

The results showed that symptom scores improved significantly more in both the short-term and the long-term for the patients in the hypnotherapy group compared to those in the supportive therapy or medical treatment groups. The Quality of Life scores also improved more significantly in the short-term for the patients in the hypnotherapy group compared to those in the supportive therapy or medical treatment groups. In the long-term, the Quality of Life scores improved significantly more for the patients in the hypnotherapy and supportive therapy groups compared to those in the medical treatment group, but a number of the patients in the supportive therapy group commenced taking anti-depressants during the follow-up. In addition to this, no patients in the hypnotherapy group commenced medication during the follow-up compared to 82% of patients in the supportive therapy group and 90% of patients in the medical treatment group, and the patients in the hypnotherapy group made significantly fewer visits to their general practitioner or gastroenterologist compared to those in the supportive therapy or medical treatment groups.

This study makes a strong case for the use of hypnotherapy in the treatment of patients with functional dyspepsia. Not only does it show that hypnotherapy is highly effective in the short-term and long-term management of functional dyspepsia compared to supportive therapy and medical treatment, but it also suggests that medical treatment with ranitidine is no more effective than supportive therapy in the management of functional dyspepsia. This not only merits the use of hypnotherapy in the treatment of the condition, but also suggests that pharmacological intervention with ranitidine may, in fact, be inappropriate for patients with functional dyspepsia. Thus, the study suggests that it may be appropriate to favour hypnotherapy over unnecessary pharmacological intervention in the treatment of functional dyspepsia.

The study also suggests that treating functional dyspepsia with hypnotherapy reduces medication use and consultation rate in the long-term compared to treating it with supportive therapy or medical treatment. Therefore, the use of hypnotherapy for functional dyspepsia may have major economic advantages over the use of medication. This further merits the use of hypnotherapy to treat functional dyspepsia.

The future

The Wythenshawe trial was a promising initial study on the use of hypnotherapy for the treatment of functional dyspepsia. Unfortunately, it is also, to the author's knowledge at the time of writing, the only formal research study on the use of hypnotherapy for this condition that has been published. Further similar trials are required to see if they support the findings. In these further trials, it may be helpful to assess the effectiveness of hypnotherapy compared to medical treatment with drugs other than ranitidine that are used to treat functional dyspepsia. If the results of these trials support the findings of the Wythenshawe trial, additional trials to investigate the effectiveness of hypnotherapy when combined with medical treatment may be appropriate. However, given the high prevalence of functional dyspepsia and the safety of hypnotherapy as a treatment, it seems entirely justifiable to begin involving professionals skilled in hypnosis in the care of patients with functional dyspepsia.

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