The hypnotic trance is a state of heightened and focused concentration.
Hypnosis can be a useful adjunct in the management of cancer pain and pain associated with invasive procedures.
One third of cancer patients are not hypnotizable and other approaches will be needed for them. Of those who are hypnotizable three principles underlie the use of hypnotherapy for pain:
- use self-hypnosis
- relax and do not fight the pain
- use a mental filter to ease the hurt in pain.
The main disadvantage of hypnotherapy for cancer patients is that it requires more attention capacity than many of them have.
In pediatric patients hypnosis and cognitive behavioral skills are effective in managing pain associated with invasive procedures.
Breitbart W, Payne D, Passik SD. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, 3rd edition. London. Oxford University Press, 2005, page 432.
Hypnosis is a set of techniques designed to enhance concentration, minimize one's usual distractions, and heighten responsiveness to suggestions to alter one's thoughts, feelings, behavior, or physiological state. Hypnosis is not a type of psychotherapy. It also is not a treatment in and of itself; rather, it is a procedure than can be used to facilitate other types of therapies and treatments. People differ in the degree to which they respond to hypnosis.
Among the benefits associated with hypnosis is the ability to alter the psychological components of the experience of pain. Depending on the phrasing of the hypnotic suggestion, the sensory and/or affective components of pain and associated brain areas may be affected (as shown by the brain imaging research of neuropsychologist Pierre Rainville, PhD, and collaborators in 1999).