The present study examined the effectiveness of a hypnotherapeutic treatment program for patients suffering from recurrent orofacial herpes infections. Twenty-one patients were randomly allocated to either an experimental group (n=10) or a control condition (n=11). During five weekly individual therapy sessions the participants received symptom-oriented treatment. In addition, they learnt how to improve their stress coping skills and their management of aversive emotions. The final assessment took place 6 months after treatment. Besides documentation of the frequency and intensity of symptoms, questionnaires were administered to assess stress coping mechanisms (SVF), skin disease-related subjective strain (MHF) and perceptions of control (KKG). A significant reduction of disease intensity could be confirmed. Individual scales of the SVF and MHF also revealed significant results. For an effective treatment of severe herpes infections a mere focus on physical changes appears to be insufficient. A common reflection of a person's sensuality and expectations of closeness and distance seem to influence treatment success remarkably.
Psychologisches Institut, Eberhard-Karls-Universitat, Tubingen.