Mastering Your Mind: The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy
Updated: Mar 14
Curious about the effectiveness of hypnotherapy? You are not alone. The internet is full of disagreements and discordance when it comes to a "success rate". In the end however I have always found the success rate for any modality of therapy boils down to the success rate of the client. For those of you looking for some harder, scientific backed numbers though; In 1970, Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D. conducted a survey of scientific literature to compare recovery rates for various modalities of therapy. Here are his findings;
Psychoanalysis can be expected to have a 38% recovery rate after approximately 600 sessions.
Behavioral therapy (Wolpian reciprocal inhibition model) can be expected to have a 72% recovery rate after an average of 22 sessions.
Hypnotherapy can be expected to have a 93% recovery rate after an average of 6 sessions
Source: Barrios, Alfred A. “Hypnotherapy: A Reappraisal,” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice (1970)
TABLE OF CONTENTS -
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
According to an article in the Harvard University Gazette, Hypnosis Helps Healing, by William J. Cromie, Carol Ginandes and Daniel Rosenthal, professor of radiology at the Harvard Medical School, published a report on their study of hypnosis to speed up the mending of broken bones. The result stood out like a sore ankle. Those who were hypnotized healed faster than those who were not.
Six weeks after the fracture, those in the hypnosis group showed the equivalent of eight and a half weeks of healing!
Hypnosis has been shown to alleviate the subjective distress of patients with asthma: there were less frequent attacks, and less medication was required. 1
In another study comparing Hypnosis and relaxation therapy the improvement with the Hypnotherapy group was much greater. And only Hypnosis subjects showed an improvement in physiologic measures of respiration. 2
1 Maher-Loughnan, G.P. (1970). “Hypnosis and AutoHypnosis for the Treatment of Asthma.” International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 18, 1- 14.
2 Maher-Loughnan, G.P., MacDonald, N., Mason, A.A. & Fry, L. (1962). “Controlled Trial of Hypnosis in the Symptomatic Treatment of Asthma.” British Medical Journal, 2, 371-376.
Following Hypnotherapy, patients with arthritis achieved significant decreases in pain, anxiety, and depression, and an increases in beta-endorphin-like immunoreactive material.
Domangue, B.B., Margolis, C.G., Lieberman, D. & Kaji, H. (1985). “Biochemical Correlates of Hypnoanalgesia in Arthritic Pain Patients.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 46, 235-238.
The Harvard Medical School conducted research on the use of hypnosis to enhance physical healing. Twelve people with a recent bone fracture were divided into two groups. One group received hypnosis and the other group served as control. Both groups received standard orthopaedic treatment. The hypnosis group had individual hypnotic sessions and listened to audio tapes designed to increase bone healing. X-ray and orthopaedic evaluations were made during the 12 weeks of the experiment.
The results showed a faster healing for the hypnosis group at week 9 of the experiment. X-rays revealed a notable difference at the edge of the fracture at week 6 of the experiment. The hypnosis group also had better mobility and used less pain killers. The researchers conclude by saying that “despite a small sample size…. these data suggest that hypnosis may be capable of enhancing both anatomical and functional fracture healing, and that further investigation of hypnosis to accelerate healing is warranted.
Ginandes, CS, Rosenthal, DI.1999, “Using hypnosis to accelerate the healing of bone fractures: a randomized controlled pilot study”, Therapy Health Medicine, May, 5(2), pp.67-75.
Women with metastatic breast cancer who received group Hypnosis therapy were able to reduce their pain experience by 50% compared to a control group. 1
At a 10-year follow-up of these same women, the Hypnosis treatment group had double the survival rate of the control group.2
Both adolescent and adult cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have fewer symptoms of anticipatory nausea and vomiting following Hypnotic interventions.3
1 Spiegel, D. & Bloom, J.R. (1983b).”Group therapy and Hypnosis Reduce Metastatic Breast Carcinoma Pain.” Psychosomatic Medicine, 45, 333-339.
2Spiegel, D., Bloom, J.R., Kraemer, H.,C. & Gottheil, E. (1989a) “Effect of Psychosocial Treatment on Survival of Patients with Metatastic Breast Cancer.” Lancet pp. 888-891.
3Zeltzer, L.; LeBaron, S. & Zeltzer, P.M. (1984).The Effectiveness of Behavioral Intervention for Reduction of Nausea and Vomiting in Children and Adolescents Receiving Chemotherapy.” Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2, 683-690. Cotanch, P., Hockenberry, M. & Herman, S. (1985). “Self-Hypnosis Antiemetic Therapy in Children Receiving Chemotherapy.” Oncology Nursing Forum, 12, 41- 46. Zeltzer, L., LeBaron, S. & Zeltzer, P.M. (1984).
Hypnotherapy has been used successfully to prolong pregnancy and prevent premature delivery. 1
In Britain 55% of birthing women using hypnosis required no medication for pain relief, compared with 22% of women in non-hypnosis groups. In two other reports 58% of women using hypnotic analgesia required no medication. And five other reports quoted 60-79% of women using hypnosis required no medication. Check out http://www.easybirthing.com/science_and_research. In another study subjects given hypnosis reported reduced pain, shorter stage 1 labours, less medication, higher Apgar scores, more frequent spontaneous deliveries than other group. Some had lower depression scores after birth than the other groups.2
1Schwartz, M. (1963) The Cessation of Labor Using Hypnotic Techniques.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 5, 211-213.
2Harmon, T.M., Hynan, M., & Tyre, T.E. (1990). “Improved obstetric outcomes using hypnotic analgesia and skill mastery combined with childbirth education.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 525, 530, 1990.
Cognitive Hypnotherapy for Depression: An Empirical Study: To investigate the effectiveness of cognitive hypnotherapy (CH), hypnosis combined with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), on depression, 84 depressives were randomly assigned to 16 weeks of treatment of either CH or CBT alone. At the end of treatment, patients from both groups significantly improved compared to baseline scores. However, the CH group produced significantly larger changes in Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Beck Hopelessness Scale. 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. This study represents the first controlled comparison of hypnotherapy with a well-established psychotherapy for depression, meeting the APA criteria for a “probably efficacious” treatment for depression. 1
Alternative Treatments for Long-Term Depressed Mood: Meditation and Hypnosis The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness to two alternative treatments for long-term depressed mood: mindfulness meditation and hypnosis. The need to find effective treatments for those suffering from long-term low-to-moderate level depression has been known for over a century. Although, there have been some recent advances in the types of drug and psychotherapy treatments available for this condition, some people do not respond to such interventions, have considerable side effects (from the drugs), or are not satisfied for other reasons with these treatment options.
The present study represents an innovative investigation into two alternatives to traditional treatments for long-term depressed mood: mindfulness meditation (plus gentle hatha yoga) and hypnosis in a group therapy format. Although both meditation and hypnosis have shown success in treating stress, anxiety, and pain in studies of non-clinical populations, neither has been systematically investigated as a possible treatment for long-term depressed mood.2
1Assen Alladin and Alisha