Childbirth is one of the most intense and demanding events that a woman is likely to experience, and both physical and psychological resources must be mobilized to cope with the labor process. Meaningful and adequate support must be given to the woman undergoing labor and delivery because the costs for society and the individual of a negative childbirth experience may be substantial. Negative and traumatic birth experiences have been associated with an increased risk of both short-term and long-term consequences. Hypnosis can have a positive impact on the childbirth experience. Hypnosis can be provided as antenatal training and during labor and delivery as self-hypnosis or as guided hypnosis. Attention should be paid to ego-strengthening, reframing the labor and childbirth process, and helping the pregnant and laboring woman to keep a positive focus. Basic hypnotic strategies such as progressive relaxation and securing a safe place can be very useful.
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This chapter discusses the types of depression in which hypnosis can be useful and explains the technique of using hypnosis as an explorative and therapeutic tool in the treatment of depression. The symptoms of depression may manifest in the form of depressed mood, excessive sadness, crying spells, or aches and pains in various parts of the body. The patient’s depression represents an underlying, unresolved grief or a form of pathological, prolonged, incomplete mourning reaction. The new trend has gradually shifted away from the exploration of a history of a past trauma or unresolved memories of childhood abuse and instead has focused on the patterns of maladaptive cognitions and behaviors that are associated with depression. The use of hypnosis in patients with depression is best done by therapists who are well-trained in psychodynamics and in the care of suicidal patients.
In 1965, John Hartland proposed that before practitioners undertake direct symptom removal through hypnosis, it was advantageous to engage in a preliminary process of ego-strengthening. Ego-strengthening represents both an autonomous treatment approach and a strategy that can supplement other treatments. Since Hartland first introduced the ego-strengthening model in 1965, many patients with mental health and medical disorders have shown significant improvement in their overall well-being, and in some cases reduction in their presenting symptoms as well. People still have access to a wide range of verbatim scripts for ego-strengthening suggestions, but they also have the newer approaches using guided imagery, the inner strengths model, the process of age progression, and the mobilization of helpful ego states. At this time, in a world of damaged egos/selves, entire communities with traumatic psychological injury, and individuals battling addictive behavior, ego-strengthening psychotherapy and ego-strengthening hypnosis provide an approach applicable in most clinical practices.
Prostate cancer is the second most common malignancy among men: Approximately one in six men are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Depending upon treatment needs, hormone therapy is often utilized to reduce overall androgen levels or the chances of androgens reaching cancer cells. The goal of antiandrogen hormone therapy, which can be chemical or surgical in nature, is to shrink or slow the growth of Prostate Cancer Cells. Cancer of any type is often accompanied by uncomfortable physical symptoms and symptoms of psychological distress, such as feelings of anxiety, sadness, irritability, and nervousness. In addition to the distress associated with any cancer diagnosis, a diagnosis of prostate cancer often produces a unique and significant set of distressing physical and emotional challenges related to urinary, erectile, and bowel dysfunctions.
Hot flashes are the most prevalent symptom associated with menopause and are characterized by sudden warmth, primarily in the face and chest, sweating, chills, anxiety, and irritability. Hot flashes can disrupt sleep and result in discomfort and distress, which can negatively affect quality of life. The onset of hot flashes coincides with a decrease in estrogen levels that occurs during the menopausal transition; therefore, hormone replacement therapy has been the most commonly used treatment for hot flashes. Menopause, the cessation of the menstrual cycle, typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 when the release of estrogen and progesterone declines dramatically. The transition from premenopausal to postmenopausal is around four years and begins with changes in the normal menstrual cycle, culminating in amenorrhea. Hypnotic relaxation therapy can be adapted to effectively treat hot flashes both the frequency and severity of the hot flashes.
Sexual self-image plays a crucial role in healthy sexual functioning. More clinical studies are needed to evaluate hypnosis as a treatment for the improvement of sexual self-image. The use of hypnosis to improve sexual self-image should only be conducted by trained clinicians who understand the complexities and vulnerabilities of patients presenting negative sexual self-schemas and sexual dysfunction. It is important for the trained clinician to be aware of both the physical and psychological manifestations of sexual dysfunction and for proper diagnosis to be made prior to treatment, particularly the need to assess for sexual trauma and abuse. Once a diagnosis is made, it is then crucial for a treatment plan to be established that develops trust and rapport between the clinician and the patient. Treatment plans should include suggestions that are appropriate for the patient as well as suggestions for relaxation, anxiety reduction, and self-acceptance.
Major advances have been made in preventing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in patients receiving chemotherapy. A variety of highly effective antinausea medications are currently available and customarily employed. Certain chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin and dacarbazine, given without antinausea medications, have a 90” chance of causing acute nausea and vomiting (N&V). Other chemotherapy drugs, such as vinblastine, have less than a 10” incidence of N&V even without the concomitant use of antinausea medications. Highly effective antinausea medications, such as ondansetron, olanzapine, and granisetron, called 5HT3 antagonists, and aprepitant, called substance P antagonists, often completely prevent CINV. Hypnosis is a well-established and highly valuable resource for patients undergoing chemotherapy. Hypnosis prevents anticipatory nausea and reduces the need for antinausea medications and their side effects. Even when nausea and vomiting do occur, it reduces the physical and emotional effect of the experience.
Loin pain hematuria is a medical condition that can cause the following symptoms: recurrent or persistent unilateral or bilateral flank pain, loin tenderness, microscopic or macroscopic amounts of blood in the urine, low-grade fever, painful urination, and abnormal amounts of protein in the urine. These symptoms can be severe and often result in excessive use of pain medications and significant interference with activities of daily living. Additionally, psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, have been associated with the condition. To the author’s knowledge, only one case study has been published examining hypnotherapy for the treatment of the physical and psychological symptoms associated with loin pain hematuria. The results reported in this case study indicate that hypnotherapy may be useful in addressing the physiological discomfort, emotional distress, and lifestyle interference associated with loin pain hematuria. Additionally hypnosis provides a medically benign and conservative alternative to surgical interventions and narcotic med.
Hypnosis today continues to be contaminated by unfortunate misappropriations or misattributions of its core healing qualities based on how it has been practiced and/or understood throughout its history. A solid appreciation of professionally accredited training opportunities is an important step for any clinician seeking to incorporate clinical hypnosis into her or his therapeutic armamentarium. There exist well-defined pathways to acquire training in clinical hypnosis through professionally accredited organizations, though what “professional accreditation means” in today’s world can be another instance of what people might call “professional truthiness”. The accredited organizations that this author views as legitimate maintain well-delineated criteria defining clinical academic and experiential foundations in clinical practice that must exist prior to seeking training in hypnosis. Prior to engaging in practice using clinical hypnosis, accredited professional organizations require clinician to be licensed to practice in his or her relevant health professional discipline independent of subsequent training in clinical hypnosis.
Parkinson’s disease is a severe neurological disorder that results in the progressive diminishment of the physical and mental health of those affected. The disease attacks neurons located in the basal ganglia and substantia nigra of the brain. Damage to these brain structures, along with the subsequent decrease in dopamine availability, leads to the hallmark symptoms of the disease, which include rest tremor, rigidity, and slowed or difficult movement, also known as bradykinesia. Another common symptom, involuntary muscle movement, or dyskinesia, is brought about by the long-term usage of levodopa, which is the most commonly prescribed treatment for the disorder. Apart from these motor complications, Parkinson’s disease is associated with a number of severe psychological concerns as well. In fact, over 60” of patients with Parkinson’s disease either report or display neuropsychiatric symptoms. Common symptoms include anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and impulsiveness.