Term Paper: Hypnosis in Medicine Proven

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[. . .] Yet, it is clear that one question that was often answered was that it was effective and some of the most respected clinicians of psychology and medicine came to see it as a valid and useful tool for the treatment of diseases and/or symptoms that could not otherwise be easily or quickly treated by more traditional means.

In the initial clinical use of hypnosis as a tool it was closely associated with psychoanalysis as a tool used to extract information from a patient in the accompaniment of other more traditional long-term psychoanalysis, in the form of what was known as Hypnoanalysis.

Hypnoanalysis is the utilization of hypnosis in connection with the long-term treatment that is usually associated with psychoanalysis. It may use hypnosis as an uncovering technique, taking advantage of the hypnotic condition to supplement the more typical free association technique of psychoanalysis; or it may use hypnosis to advantage as it facilitates ego strengthening in cases of character problems or maladaptive human relationships.

Yet, the resulting respect Hypnoanalysis garnered as an individually effective treatment soon led to its use independent of traditional long-term therapy. Though not always well received as a viable singular treatment and first questioned as a good long-term solution it was nonetheless embraced in many treatment environments and especially in those psychological treatment centers that felt obliged to provide a more socially and economically accessible form of treatment.

The issues of hypnosis and self-hypnosis were sometimes even acknowledged a better and a more cost effective alternative to one of the only the traditionally accepted forms of psychotherapy, namely psychoanalysis. Freudian psychoanalysis had long been considered the best treatment for psychological disturbances and disorders effecting both clinically psychotic patients and those who simply had reduced social functioning due to psychological factors. Yet, it was clear that traditional psychoanalysis was not only a very long-term and economically demanding prospect it left countless patients completely out of options for psychological care.

Psychoanalysis in its theory took years to elicit desired responses of behavioral improvement and psychological stability and it was also eliminated as an option for many by the astronomical economic cost that accompanied many years of daily and then weekly sessions of treatment. In addition to this the simple length of time it took for a marked response in the patient often left patients and psychoanalysts themselves challenged by the process and caused a general lack of overall and long-term patient compliance, a problem seen even today in a much more rapid medical practice involving sometimes instantaneous results from drug therapy. Human nature is governed by the desire for instant results and then once achieved has a difficult time following through.

Though the roots of psychological treatment laid strongly in the developed profession of psychoanalysis places like the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis felt a certain practical duty to locate a treatment form that would not only elicit quicker results but would find a welcome audience of less financially stable patient base. The Chicago school developed a body of work that was, "...the result of a clinical research study that focused on a search for a shorter and more efficient treatment than psychoanalysis had heretofore allowed, by attempting to extract from analysis its basic therapeutic principles." Though hypnosis is a very respected and integral tool for psychoanalysis even in its most modern form the question of its use as a singular or even just central therapy regimen was in question by practitioners.

Psychoanalysis from its beginning demanded a financial commitment that many patients were unable or unwilling to continue in an environment that elicited only very long-term and sometimes limited quantifiable results in their lives. Though, it can be said that psychoanalysis and therefore psychological treatment may have been reluctant to allow efficacy to be placed upon the use of hypnosis as a viable singular therapy the significant input the exploration had on the eventual acceptance of hypnotherapy developed through these explorations was significant.

Erika Fromm and others determined the therapeutic value of hypnotherapy for certain troubling manifestations in both physical and psychological forms and also began to compile evidence to determine in what cases the treatment was not effective and why.

Direct hypnotic suggestions seem to be particularly effective in the treatment of somatic and psychosomatic symptoms in patients with a moderate to high responsivity to hypnosis. The irrelevance of hypnotizability in the hypnotherapy of obesity and smoking can be understood in various ways. Problems such as pain, warts, asthma and so on are involuntary phenomena. Problems such as obesity and smoking have a stronger voluntary component of self-initiated behavior (Bowers, 1981; Perry, Gelfand, & Marcovitch, 1979).

Fromm and her colleagues learned through systematic scientific exploration that the body of knowledge about psychological treatment through hypnotherapy alone was large and that the effects on certain types of circumstances were documented.

In the treatment of somatic and psychosomatic problems such as pain and asthma, an alteration of subjective experience will suffice to reduce or eliminate the problem to a considerable extent. In the case of habits such as obesity and smoking, subjective alteration does not guarantee therapeutic success. These behaviors can be seen as over-learned responses under tight social and physiologic control (Perry, Gelfand, & Marcovitch, 1979; Wadden & Anderton, 1982).

Through these types of scientific literary explorations Fromm and her colleagues determined the value of and focus of future experimentation in hypnotherapy for both physical and psychological uses.

More currently hypnosis has continued to be used as a viable treatment for everything from destructive human behavior such as severe overeating and smoking to helping children overcome enuresis.

Hypnosis is especially useful in those cases when repeated reminders of the therapeutic experience can assist the patient with more long-term treatment without their having to do anything more than put an audio recording into a personal audio player and at least partly relive the hypnotic experience.

One particularly troubling symptom of nearly every kind of medical treatment and disease and in fact the number one reason that most people seek treatment for any reason is associated with pain. Pain is not only a subjective experience that is hard to quantify, it is also associated with poor recovery time and many other outcomes-based factors of medical treatment. Pain is a motivating factor for treatment and recovery and the stress associated with pain can make or break the outcome of care and patient compliance.

Intractable pain can be one of the most long-term effects of surgery and/or disease and can result in poor recovery and sometimes even the ultimate poor recovery, death. People who experiencing pain they cannot control or who endure pain over the long-term are much more likely to succumb to the disease process or even go as far as committing suicide to alleviate their suffering. One very promising historical and current use for hypnosis is in the development of patient centered pain management.

Though the patient may still be experiencing pain, the level of control he or she can develop over the somatic and/or psychological effects of that pain the more likely the patient is to achieve a more stress free recovery. Though it is clear that the ultimate and first goal achievement attempted for pain sufferers is the complete and actual alleviation of pain yet, this is not always possible with drug treatment therapy.

Psychological treatment starts with individual sessions focused on personal, family, and workplace stressors with an emphasis on problem solving and stress management. Group lectures on stress management, relaxation, meditation and self-hypnosis, biofeedback, pain and mood changes, pain and relationships, and self-efficacy and self-control are scheduled over the course of the program. The focus of psychological care is on behavioral change, cognitive restructuring, and education.

One of the most ancient and fundamentally sound uses for hypnosis is alternative pain management treatment. Patients are either unwilling or clinicians are unwilling to subject patients to the sometimes long-term use and effects of pharmacological resources for pain management and in some cases the trials of such things are proven ineffective for the patient. Pain management is such an integral aspect of patient care that it is one of the first aspects of holistic focus in the medical industry and it boasts one of the longest traceable historical connections to hypnosis. We know it works not only because patients today report it working but also because history too tells us it works.

Through the rediscovery of all the ancient uses of holistic alternative treatments for disease and discomfort, we may soon see fundamental changes in the health care delivery system. We have already seen changes in the ways in which insurance companies look upon alternative therapies such as chiropractic care and other types of care. We have also seen increasing numbers of studies that address issues such as spirituality in the recovery process and the use of therapeutic touch in both surgical… [END OF PREVIEW]

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