Hypnosis is focused attention. It is a natural process experienced by all of us in our daily lives without realizing it. Any time you day-dream, zone out, or are totally in the zone -with sports or running, for example; any time you are so focused on a task, book or movie that you become less aware of your surroundings; any time you drive along a familiar route on “automatic pilot” and arrive at your destination and can’t remember the journey, that’s hypnosis.
Clinical hypnosis is focusing attention on purpose with a therapeutic goal in mind.
Clinical hypnosis is the use of hypnosis by a trained professional in order to assist a client or patient to make the changes they wish to make in order to relieve physical pain or emotional distress, change habits or behaviours, or improve skills or performance (generative change), or to obtain new perspectives. It can be combined with various other types of counselling such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or energy psychology techniques. It can also be used as a type of procedural anaesthesia to reduce discomfort during dental or medical treatments or childbirth.
In our office Clinical Hypnosis is used by Dr. David Bowler to reduce discomfort during treatment procedures, to manage or eliminate chronic pain that has not responded to conventional measures, or to treat phobias or anxiety.
Clinical hypnosis is about helping you take control of those parts of your life that don’t have to be out of control any more. Patients experience clinical hypnosis as a pleasant, relaxing, and conversational process while sitting or reclining comfortably. They remain aware of their surroundings and are free to move or adjust posture if they need to in order to feel even more comfortable. In this process your mind will be active and alert the entire time. You’ll hear what is said, and remember as much as you would from any normal conversation. You will be encouraged to use your imagination and to find resources within yourself of which you may not have been previously aware.
Medical hypnosis is clinical hypnosis used to treat or reduce the symptoms of medical conditions within a health-care setting, or by a professional once appropriate medical evaluation has been completed. It is not a substitute for effective conventional treatments but can be a useful adjunct, or to reduce the symptoms if no safe, effective or acceptable treatment is available.
Who might benefit from clinical hypnosis?
Anyone with chronic pain that has been thoroughly evaluated to rule out treatable or serious conditions and for whom no effective acceptable conventional therapy is available, or to enhance the effectiveness or reduce the side-effects of other therapies.
Before experiencing hypnosis for chronic pain you need to have had a thorough history, physical examination, and appropriate investigations completed. The notes provided by your own referring family physician or specialist are reviewed and supplemented with a medical consultation which may involve further investigations.
What sorts of conditions might this be useful for?
Hypnosis has been demonstrated in peer-reviewed published studies to be useful for chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety disorders, past trauma, warts (that’s right!), for reduction in nausea and other symptoms of chemotherapy, for post-operative pain, and to reduce pain during surgery or interventional procedures (hypnotic procedural anesthesia). I have used it to reduce arthritis pain while patients wait for their hip replacements, to treat sciatica in someone who was not fit for surgery, to reduce pain from metastatic cancer in a patient whose cancer was controlled by chemotherapy but still had pain. I have also used it for phobias and post-traumatic stress. I am not currently offering weight management, smoking cessation, or addiction treatments as my special interest is in chronic pain, however it can be effective for those objectives too.
Another very effective use of hypnosis is in reducing anxiety related to pregnancy and the discomfort of labour. “Hypnobirthing” or “Hypnobabies” courses can be taken by expectant parents and may be offered by their midwives. I don’t provide that service but in my office I have had several patients referred to me to relieve post-traumatic stress symptoms resulting from previous obstetrical complications.
Hypnosis or self-hypnosis can be very effective during dental procedures.