Tim Brunson DCH

Welcome to The International Hypnosis Research Institute Web site. Our intention is to support and promote the further worldwide integration of comprehensive evidence-based research and clinical hypnotherapy with mainstream mental health, medicine, and coaching. We do so by disseminating, supporting, and conducting research, providing professional level education, advocating increased level of practitioner competency, and supporting the viability and success of clinical practitioners. Although currently over 80% of our membership is comprised of mental health practitioners, we fully recognize the role, support, involvement, and needs of those in the medical and coaching fields. This site is not intended as a source of medical or psychological advice. Tim Brunson, PhD

Hypnotherapy or medications: a randomized noninferiority trial in urgency urinary incontinent women.

BACKGROUND: Urgency urinary incontinence afflicts many adults, and most commonly affects women. Medications, a standard treatment, may be poorly tolerated, with poor adherence. This warrants investigation of alternative interventions. Mind-body therapies such as hypnotherapy may offer additional treatment options for individuals with urgency urinary incontinence. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate hypnotherapy's efficacy compared to medications in treating women with urgency urinary incontinence. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This investigator-masked, noninferiority trial compared hypnotherapy to medications at an academic center in the southwestern United States, and randomized women with non-neurogenic urgency urinary incontinence to weekly hypnotherapy sessions for 2 months (and continued self-hypnosis thereafter) or to medication and weekly counseling for 2 months (and medication alone thereafter). The primary outcome was the between-group comparison of percent change in urgency incontinence on a 3-day bladder diary at 2 months. Important secondary outcomes were between-group comparisons of percent change in urgency incontinence at 6 and 12 months. Outcomes were analyzed based on noninferiority margins of 5% for between group differences (P < 0.025) (that is, for between group difference in percentage change in urgency incontinence, if the lower bound of the 95% confidence interval was greater than -5%, noninferiority would be proved). RESULTS: A total of 152 women were randomized to treatment between April 2013 and October 2016. Of these women, 142 (70 hypnotherapy, 72 medications) had 3-day diary information at 2 months and were included in the primary outcome analysis. Secondary outcomes were analyzed for women with diary data at the 6-month and then 12-month time points (138 women [67 hypnotherapy, 71 medications] at 6 months, 140 women [69 hypnotherapy, 71 medications] at 12 months. There were no differences between groups' urgency incontinence episodes at baseline: median (quartile 1, quartile 3) for hypnotherapy was 8 (4, 14) and medication was 7 (4, 11) (P = .165). For the primary outcome, although both interventions showed improvement, hypnotherapy did not prove noninferior to medication at 2 months. Hypnotherapy's median percent improvement was 73.0% (95% confidence interval, 60.0-88?9%), whereas medication's improvement was 88.6% (95% confidence interval, 78.6-100.0%). The median difference in percent change between groups was 0% (95% confidence interval, -16.7% to 0.0%); because the lower margin of the confidence interval did not meet the predetermined noninferiority margin of greater than -5%, hypnotherapy did not prove noninferior to medication. In contrast, hypnotherapy was noninferior to medication for the secondary outcomes at 6 months (hypnotherapy, 85.7% improvement, 95% confidence interval, 75.0-100%; medications, 83.3% improvement, 95% confidence interval, 64.7-100%; median difference in percent change between groups of 0%, 95% confidence interval, 0.0-6.7%) and 12 months (hypnotherapy, 85.7% improvement, 95% confidence interval, 66.7-94.4%; medications, 80% improvement, 95% confidence interval, 54.5-100%; median difference in percent change between groups of 0%, 95% confidence interval, -4.2% to -9.5%). CONCLUSION: Both hypnotherapy and medications were associated with substantially improved urgency urinary incontinence at all follow-up. The study did not prove the noninferiority of hypnotherapy compared to medications at 2 months, the study's primary outcome. Hypnotherapy proved noninferior to medications at longer-term follow-up of 6 and 12 months. Hypnotherapy is a promising, alternative treatment for women with UUI.

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Feb;222(2):159.e1-159.e16. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.08.025. Epub 2019 Aug 23.

Mind-body (hypnotherapy) treatment of women with urgency urinary incontinence...

Full title: Mind-body (hypnotherapy) treatment of women with urgency urinary incontinence: changes in brain attentional networks.

BACKGROUND: Prior study of patients with urgency urinary incontinence by functional magnetic resonance imaging showed altered function in areas of the brain associated with interoception and salience and with attention. Our randomized controlled trial of hypnotherapy for urgency urinary incontinence demonstrated marked improvement in urgency urinary incontinence symptoms at 2 months. A subsample of these women with urgency urinary incontinence underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging before and after treatment. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine if hypnotherapy treatment of urgency urinary incontinence compared with pharmacotherapy was associated with altered brain activation or resting connectivity on functional magnetic resonance imaging. STUDY DESIGN: A subsample of women participating in a randomized controlled trial comparing hypnotherapy vs pharmacotherapy for treatment of urgency urinary incontinence was evaluated with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Scans were obtained pretreatment and 8 to 12 weeks after treatment initiation. Brain activation during bladder filling and resting functional connectivity with an empty and partially filled bladder were assessed. Brain regions of interest were derived from those previously showing differences between healthy controls and participants with untreated urgency urinary incontinence in our prior work and included regions in the interoceptive and salience, ventral attentional, and dorsal attentional networks. RESULTS: After treatment, participants in both groups demonstrated marked improvement in incontinence episodes (P<.001). Bladder-filling task functional magnetic resonance imaging data from the combined groups (n=64, 30 hypnotherapy, 34 pharmacotherapy) demonstrated decreased activation of the left temporoparietal junction, a component of the ventral attentional network (P<.01) compared with baseline. Resting functional connectivity differed only with the bladder partially filled (n=54). Compared with pharmacotherapy, hypnotherapy participants manifested increased functional connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a component of the dorsal attentional network (P<.001). CONCLUSION: Successful treatment of urgency urinary incontinence with both pharmacotherapy and hypnotherapy was associated with decreased activation of the ventral (bottom-up) attentional network during bladder filling. This may be attributable to decreased afferent stimuli arising from the bladder in the pharmacotherapy group. In contrast, decreased ventral attentional network activation associated with hypnotherapy may be mediated by the counterbalancing effects of the dorsal (top-down) attentional network.

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 May;224(5):498.e1-498.e10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.10.041. Epub 2020 Oct 26.

The use of hypnotherapy as treatment for functional stroke...

Full title: The use of hypnotherapy as treatment for functional stroke: A case series from a single center in the UK.

BACKGROUND: Functional neurological disorder is defined by symptoms not explained by the current model of disease and its pathophysiology. It is found in 8.4% of patients presenting as acute stroke. Treatment is difficult and recurrence rates are high. We introduced hypnotherapy as a therapeutic option in addition to standard stroke unit care. METHODS: This is an observational study of successive patients with functional neurological disorder presenting as acute stroke treated with hypnotherapy between 1 April 2014 and 1 February 2018. The diagnosis of functional neurological disorder was confirmed by clinical examination and computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging. Hypnosis was delivered by a hypnotherapy trained stroke physician using imagery for induction. A positive response was defined as a National Institutes of Health Stroke score reduction to 0 or by ?4 points posthypnotherapy. Costs were calculated as therapist time and benefits as reduction in disability/bed days. RESULTS: Sixty-eight patients (mean age 36.4 years, 52 (76%) females, mean baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke 5.0 (range 1-9)) were included. Two patients (3%) could not be hypnotized. Fifty-eight 58 (85%) responded, 47 (81%) required one treatment session, while 19% needed up to three sessions for symptomatic improvement. No adverse events were observed. Disability (modified Rankin Scale) reduced from a mean of 2.3 to 0.5 resulting in an average cost saving of £1,658 per patient. Most (n = 50, 86%) remained well without recurrence at six-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: In this case series, hypnotherapy was associated with rapid and sustained recovery of symptoms. A prospective randomized controlled study is required to confirm the findings and establish generalizability of the results.

Int J Stroke. 2021 Feb 27:1747493021995590. doi: 10.1177/1747493021995590.

Medical care: When the risk is greater than car accidents and gunshots

by Tim Brunson, PhD

As a professional who regularly talks to groups about hypnotherapeutic medicine, over the years I've encountered more than one medical professional who has deemed that I have crossed the line and ventured unjustly into an area where they most certainly have superior knowledge. While my expertise is in the area of clinical applications of hypnosis, I feel that everyone who serves in healing professions must be aware of their continued need for further exploration and that they must accept the fact that they are very far from being perfect. One word that quickly calms the most ardent medical heckler is the word "iatrogenic" – which literally means "physician-induced."


Hypnosis and the Medical Mystique

by Tim Brunson, PhD

The mystique, which surrounds the nature and practice of medicine, belies truthfulness in a way that reflects the vulgarity and ignorance of contemporary civilization. Indeed, the precision and accuracy with which a given society uses their linguistic intellect clearly demonstrates their stage of development. Unfortunately, how we address terms related to medicine and its practice too often involves pecuniary turf conflicts rather than focusing on the intended benefit to humanity. The role of hypnotherapy in medicine is but one example.


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