Tim Brunson DCH

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Hypnotherapy: fact or fiction: a review in palliative care and opinions of health professionals.



CONTEXT: Complementary medicine like hypnotherapy is often used for pain and palliative care. Health professionals vary in views about hypnotherapy, its utility, value, and attitudes. AIMS: To understand the opinions of health professionals on hypnotherapy. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: A semi-qualitative method to survey opinions of the health professionals from various disciplines attending a programme on hypnotherapy was conducted. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The survey form consisted of 32 statements about hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Participants were asked to indicate whether they agreed, disagreed, or were not sure about each statement. A qualitative feedback form was used to obtain further views about hypnotherapy. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: Percentage, frequency distribution. RESULTS: The sample consisted of 21 participants from various disciplines. Two-thirds of the participants gave correct responses to statements on dangerousness of hypnosis (90%), weak mind and hypnosis (86%), and hypnosis as therapy (81%). The participants gave incorrect responses about losing control in hypnosis (57%), hypnosis being in sleep (62%), and becoming dependent on hypnotist (62%). Participants were not sure if one could not hear the hypnotist one is not hypnotized (43%) about the responses on gender and hypnosis (38%), hypnosis leading to revealing secrets (23%). CONCLUSIONS: Despite patients using complementary medicine services, often health professionals are unaware of the issues associated with these services. These myths may interfere in using hypnotherapy as therapeutic tool in palliative care. It is important for health professionals to have an appropriate and evidence-based understanding about the complementary therapies including hypnotherapy.

Indian J Palliat Care. 2011 May;17(2):146-9. Desai G, Chaturvedi SK, Ramachandra S. Department of Psychiatry, Nimhans, Bengaluru, India.

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