Hypnotherapy improves Quality of life for people with IBS

Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) who took part in hypnotherapy sessions reported reduced symptoms and improved quality of life, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Dr. Graeme D. Smith from University of Edinburgh studied 75 patients with IBS before and after they took part in four to five treatment sessions over three months.

He discovered that before the sessions, women were most concerned with quality of life issues such as diet and energy levels and that men had the highest levels of anxiety and depression and worried about their physical role.

The 20 men and 55 women who took part in the study reported that hypnotherapy brought about significant improvements in the physical and emotional symptoms related to IBS.

These included a 30% improvement in their emotional quality of life and a 25% improvement in energy levels.  Mental Health improved by 21% sleep by 18% physical health by 16% and diet by 14%.  Average anxiety levels fell by 12%and depression fell by 4%.  Men showed higher levels of both problems before the hypnotherapy sessions, but also reported greater improvements than women.

The people taking part also repored a 5% reduction in abdominal pain and 4% reduction in abdominal bloating.  Dr. Smith from the University's School of Health says, "it is extimated that between 10 to 15 per cent of adults may suffer from IBS and that the physical, emotional, social and economic consequences of the illness can be considerable.  Physical symptoms of altered bowel movments, pain and bloating, together with non-intestinal problems such as lethargy, problems sleeping and indigestion.  anxiety and psychosocial problems are also common and these can have a detrimental impact on quality of life".

The 75 participants underwent hypnotherapy sessions that focussed on creating images of their gut symptoms using visualisation techniques in conjunction with relaxation methods.  Self-hypnosis was taught at an early stage and patients were given audio tapes, that reinforced the effects of the hypnotherapy, to use at home.  They also completed detailed questionnaires before and after treatment and kept diary cards during the study.

The study shows tht hypnotherapy can effectively reduce symptoms and improve quality of life and underlines the valuable role that complementary therapies can play in modern healthcare.

This article can also be found on MedicalNews today.com

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How Fixed Ideas Control Behaviours


** The following is an excerpt from a book by Gil Boyne, Published by Westwood Publishing Co.

Behaviour is the expression of energy in a variety of forms.  Behaviour acquires its character from the underlying ideas that have become fixed in the subconscious mind.  Since most of our behaviour patterns are appropriate to the circumstance and situation, the therapist’s concern is primarily with fixed ideas that generate frustrating, restrictive, and counterproductive behaviours.  These behaviours are repeated and reinforced compulsively until the underlying fixed ideas are modified or replaced.

The combination of hypnosis and the techniques, methodology and philosophy of Transforming Therapy is the most rapid process known at this time for changing these fixed ideas. Transforming Therapy focuses on the intensification of the feelings which are linked to fixed ideas which are established through initial sensitizing events (usually in early childhood) and maintained by continuing secondary reinforcing events throughout a life time.  The goal is always to change the emotional and intellectual perceptions to develop heightened awareness and new understanding rather than simply acquiring intellectual insight.

Intellectual insight into the past can be somewhat educational.  But insight alone never changes the past and rarely triggers therapeutic change.  The best therapy is oriented to the client living today, next week, next year.

Age regression is a process used in trance to revive earlier memories with vivid emotional intensity so as to uncover early programming ideas and concepts that have become fixed ideas and have become the basis for frustrating, self-sabotaging behaviours.

It is accomplished by intensifying the underlying subconscious emotion which has been identified by the Hypnotherapist during the preinduction interview.  Then the subject is directed to go to an earlier time in which the same emotions were experienced. This allows the Hypnotherapist to begin an exploration to discover how traumatic experiences or incorrect interpretation of experiences developed fixed ideas that underlie inappropriate behaviours.  Often there is a highly-emotionalized abreaction followed by chathartic ventilation at which point the Hypnotherapist can begin the process of re-education and reprogramming the subconscious mind.

After the cathartic discharge of the repressed energy linked to the initial sensitizing and subsequent reinforcing events, combined with re-education (rewriting the script), it becomes possible to integrate the intellectual understanding with the new feeling tone attached to the behaviours.  This form of elimination resistance to change precipitates therapeutic change in a shorter time frame than any other approach to behaviour modification.

In Hypnotherapy, we change inappropriate interpretations through the uncovering and re-education methods that we use.  When an idea is presented to an adult mind, it is screened against the accumulation of knowledge, experience and the interpretation which is stored in the ‘critical factor of the conscious mind’.  Its function is to act as a filtering screen, so that when ideas are presented we have a way of analyzing them.  We look for the rational content and decide if it connects with material that we have previously stored.  If we are unable to make a connection or if the incoming ideas are irrational, then we reject them.  If it is a totally new idea, the tendency in the adult mind is to reject it unless there are very favourable circumstances involved in the reception of that new idea

For example, imagine a young man who doesn’t have any familiarity with classical music.  He speaks of opera as high-brow and boring.  Then he meets and falls in love with a young lady who is very devoted to classical music and opera.  In the minds of this love affair, she’s teaching him all about opera.  Soon he has learned a great many new things and he no longer finds opera boring.  He is changing his ideas because of the payoff at an emotional level.

With hypnosis, we can create a state of mind in which the critical factor becomes temporarily inactive.  It doesn’t disappear, it just stops analyzing for rational content and it stops evaluating in terms of previous knowledge or fictitious beliefs that we have previously accepted.

When we say ‘I just know that I can’t stand up in front of a crowd and give a talk, because I’ll be mortified’, that is a fictitious belief because we can.  We may need some conditioning to overcome fear responses in our body, but we can do it.  We only believe that we can’t.  What we are really saying is, ‘I won’t, because I don’t want to feel the feelings that occur when I do’.

When working in hypnosis we deliberately attempt to generate gullibility, which means the uncritical acceptance of ideas.  Why should anyone be willing to accept uncritically, the ideas, suggestions or directions that we present to them?  How can we acquire such significance in their psychic existence?

One reason is because they are desperate; they say, ‘Well I’ve tried everything else, so I’m going to try hypnosis’.  That’s when they’ve reached a po9int of ‘readiness for change’.  When clients have reached a point of readiness for change, there’s very little you can do to prevent them from changing.

It might take them years to get to the point of readiness for change but when they’ve reached it nothing can stop them from changing.  Change can only be perceived retroactively-after the fact.  ‘Wow’! Have you changed! It’s two years since I’ve seen you and I can see that you are really a different person’.

We can hope that we are ready to change.  We can plan to change but the only way that we are going to know that we have changed is through the ongoing, continuing expression of change.  Just as hypnosis is a mystery, change is a mystery-it can’t be predicted.  We can’t initiate  change by talking about change.  If we could, everyone would be changing all the time because we are always talking about it.  We can’t experience change because we long for it, any more than the desire and thought of food can fill an empty stomach.  The only way we can experience change is when we initiate a process of change, which means when we begin engaging in different behaviour.

As a therapist all I can do is to say, ‘Thank you Lord, for allowing me to play this part in the mysterious change process’.

The therapist can create conditions conducive to change, can attempt to motivate the client to change and can even provide a change-inducing experience, but change must occur within the client.  Change cannot be forced upon clients, and clients cannot be expected to change in ways that are inappropriate to their needs or foreign to their backgrounds.  Therapist must keep the burden of responsibility for change on the shoulders of their clients.  Since people can do any number of things against themselves and devise very intelligent ways to defeat or destroy themselves, you need to understand that if a person can destroy the self intelligently then they can also redirect their energies to build themselves up creatively.

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