Wednesday, October 10, 2007

World Mental Health Day

So, today is the day - World Mental Health Day. While I have been having my tea, I looked up some information on hypnosis and mental health. It seems like citing a few ways hypnosis is valuable to the realm of mental heath would be relevant to the topic.

Jeffrey W. Braunstein wrote a marvelous article called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Rape Victims: A Review of Cognitive-Behavioral & Hypnotic Treatment Approaches. The article describes PTSD, defines it and states how effective hypnosis can be for helping those who suffer from it.

Treatment for rape induced PTSD includes both psychotherapy in conjunction with hypnosis. During hypnosis, the patient summons the memory of the event and relives the trauma. This is known as "abreaction". The reliving while under suggestion allows the patient to discuss the rape verbally and discharge the emotions that cannot be released during the normal state of consciousness. Ebert (1988) reported that hypnotic suggestion can also be used to help patients sleep better. This aids in restoring some of the lost everyday functioning typically experienced by PTSD patients due to sleep disturbances.

Hypnosis also enables the therapist to change the recollections of terror, anxiety, and helplessness that are associated with the specific symptoms. While under hypnotic suggestion, the therapist can instead associate the symptoms with safer thoughts such as relaxation, confidence, and control. This allows the patient to recall the memory during normal consciousness. This enables the victim to deal with the memory and not avoid it, thus allowing them to express the emotions, discuss the event and conquer the trauma. According to Peebles (1989) the more active of a role a therapist takes in guiding the patient through the reliving of the rape, the greater the ability that the therapist has in changing the emotions associated with the trauma and allowing for easier and more manageable recall. Peebles (1989) quoting Freud and Bruer (1895/1955) stated that "each individual hysterical symptom immediately and permanently disappeared when we had succeeded in bringing clearly to light the meaning of the event by which it was provoked." (Peebles, 1989, p.201). Peebles (1989) stated "as verbal labels for her memories were provided in the abreaction, the patient no longer had the need for bodily symptoms for memory communication." (Peebles, 1989, p. 202).

Also according to an abstract from an article in International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, called Cognitive Hypnotherapy for Depression: An Empirical Investigation, cognitive hypnosis was effective in helping those suffering from depression. Using a base of 86 participants, they were assigned to either 16 weeks of cognitive hypnotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. Using the Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Beck Hopelessness Scale, the hypnosis group came out with higher changes.

Effect size calculations showed that the CH group produced 6%, 5%, and 8% greater reduction in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness, respectively, over and above the CBT group. The effect size was maintained at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups.
Just a few nice things to put in our minds.

Special thanks to Jeffrey W. Braunstein, who gave me permission to quote and cite his article. Please visit his web site at

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