What are people's views on Hypnotherapy?

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Greylag
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What are people's views on Hypnotherapy?

Post by Greylag » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:46 pm

Hello everyone

I randomly thought I'd ask what people's perspectives on hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis are. Is it a genuine evidence-based intervention, an encouraging avenue for further study, irrelevant waffle, or potentially harmful pseudoscience? (or anything in-between)

I don't think I've ever come across a psychologist who practices it, and it generally seems to be grouped with alternative approaches, like acupuncture etc.

I'd also be interested in if anyone here has used or undergone it, or worked with/know others who have.

Thanks!

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AnsweringBell
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Re: What are people's views on Hypnotherapy?

Post by AnsweringBell » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:56 am

I haven't got strong or well thought out views, personally, so I'll leave that out... but just interestingly, I worked with a psychiatrist when I was an assistant in a community LD team, and she practiced hypnotherapy privately (and would often use it in her normal NHS work). She did a session for me once to work on interview anxieties. It was a lovely hour - very relaxing, if nothing else. :)

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workingmama
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Re: What are people's views on Hypnotherapy?

Post by workingmama » Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:43 am

I used it once personally for fear of heights which was limiting my rock climbing. It was absolutely excellent despite my raging scepticism and near refusal to even try it out. I expect the lack of regulation means that efficacy is extremely hit and miss.
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hawke
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Re: What are people's views on Hypnotherapy?

Post by hawke » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:30 am

I am generally a sceptic open to new evidence. My current view is that it's a form of deep relaxation, and its use very much depends on the context and the perspective. For example, for anxiety disorders - a cognitive therapist will tell me it's a safety behaviour that prevents us truly testing out our beliefs, a behaviourist therapist will tell me it's a necessary part of counter-conditioning, and a trauma therapist will tell me learning to relax a chronically stressed body is key. The evidence for hypnotherapy in IBS seems particularly strong, to the point where it is mentioned in NICE guidelines, and I suspect many more "physical health" problems will increasingly be seen as requiring a holistic mind-body response.

I see parallels with the way mindfulness is currently being used and misused. Mental health services/professionals seem as vulnerable to getting caught up in fads as lay people sometimes. (I don't say fad to mean that there is no evidence behind something, but when a technique becomes seen as a panacea for everything.) I know of a psychologist who offers private hypnobirthing courses. I also used to work for a 3rd sector organisation who had a hypnotherapist on the board who promoted it widely to staff, and staff who then tried to sell private services to very vulnerable service users. I ended up making a complaint because I didn't think it was appropriate, but that was more about the conflict of interest.

So I suspect all of the above may be true in different contexts.

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miriam
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Re: What are people's views on Hypnotherapy?

Post by miriam » Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:27 am

I've witnessed hypnosis a few times - both stage hypnotism (which mainly seems to be people playing along and suggestibility) and clinical hypnosis. A member of my clinical course cohort was hypnotised by a qualified CP teaching a session (with her consent, after we did a short induction to see who might be suggestible), despite them not knowing each other beforehand or the trainee being unusually submissive or gullible. I also had a friend who found all vegetables repulsive until he did a hypnotherapy session and was able to learn to think of them differently (I think he had an association with being force fed something he found disgusting) but now eats a wide variety without dislike.

There is also pretty good evidence of efficacy with pain, weight loss, smoking cessation and various other conditions, where hypnosis is recommended by NICE or said to be effective in cochrane reviews, either as an adjunct to therapy or in its own right.

This article is quite a readable summary: https://time.com/5380312/is-hypnosis-real-science/
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workingmama
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Re: What are people's views on Hypnotherapy?

Post by workingmama » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:27 pm

I think what surprised me about hypnosis was how much in control I felt. I was sure it wouldn't work for me because I'm pretty untrusting and have a cynical avoidance of 'woo'. Nonetheless I felt that I was choosing to allow myself to 'go with it', and I think that made all the difference for me.
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Greylag
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Re: What are people's views on Hypnotherapy?

Post by Greylag » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:42 pm

Thanks everyone, the approach has received a warmer welcome than I was expecting really. I didn't realise there was such evidence for IBS, and other (mainly physical) issues. I'll be interesting to see how it develops in the future and if it fades away, or if it becomes incorporated more into mainstream approaches.

Also, thank you for the article Miriam, it summarised it really neatly!

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