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Table of contents
- Manual Chap: Hypnotherapy In Medicine
- Hypnosis, medicine and Freud
- About Scott Sandland, Clinical and Medical Hypnotist
- Handbook of Medical and Psychological Hypnosis
The use of autohypnosis usually enables the patient to use self-exploration to work out his problems more effectively. However, autohypnosis is seldom successful if the patient is not motivated to participate in the working-through processes. Difficulties in hypnotherapy are noted in the individual whose emotional resources are inadequate to cope with his problems. Often it is permissible for the therapist to assume the role of a paternal figure and deliberately foster dependency. This is especially helpful for those who have had a recent bereavement.
In others, who wish to cling to their symptoms, one can utilize symptom substitution, as described in other situations, to avoid therapeutic failure. In the case of the stutterer, for instance, anxiety was averted by teaching him to transfer his blocking to the twitching of one of his fingers.
There are other individuals who never can completely recover. For these, partial improvement based on limited goals is not a failure. In the case of the passive-dependent alcoholic, who can be controlled for short periods and who makes only a partial adjustment, some modicum of success is achieved. Other individuals rationalize their reasons for seeking hypnotherapy, and this results in failure. In one instance, a psychopathic male prostitute attempted to save his unhappy marriage through being hypnotized.
At first he presented himself with symptoms of insomnia and nervousness. During the anamnesis the real reasons for seeking hypnosis were revealed. He was advised to seek marital counseling. Another individual wished to learn autohypnosis, ostensibly to be able to concentrate on his work as a physicist.
Manual Chap: Hypnotherapy In Medicine
In reality, he felt wholly inadequate around women, and he had hoped that hypnosis would give him more self-reliance. He stated that he had been in psychotherapy for several years, but had heard that autohypnosis enabled individuals to overcome all sorts of psychological problems. A thorough personality evaluation was advised, together with a discussion of his various difficulties.
It is important for the therapist to recognize that overcoming inadequacies and lack of confidence requires learning how to handle the reasons derived in therapy. This takes a considerable amount of time. Difficulties occur when passive individuals, such as certain types of homosexuals, submit to hypnotherapy only to derive masochistic gratification from the all-powerful figure of the therapist.
Unless these neurotic motivations are understood, improvement will be retarded. A case in point is a homosexual male schoolteacher who was unable to carry out his sexual needs for fear of apprehension.
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As the result of his frustration, he utilized the hypnotic situation to yield to and to fight against authority at one and the same time. Failure was averted when it was pointed out how he was fulfilling his passive needs and also reenacting the same conflict he had had with other surrogate figures. He ultimately made a satisfactory recovery. To summarize, lack of motivation and inability to face life's problems are the commonest reasons for difficulties in hypnotherapy.
Those who have no desire to make an adequate adjustment to their situations, because they develop anxiety reactions, fall into this group.
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Those who have poor inner resources and are unable to tolerate frustration and anxiety usually do not have sufficient strength to receive help from any type of hypnotherapy. Another common difficulty is the secondary gain value of the symptom to the psychoneurotic individual. All these difficulties have been discussed in this book. In general, hypnotherapy should utilize the individual's own capacities to work out his problems.
If the therapist assumes an authoritarian role, the patient will never become completely free from authority, nor will his character structure be changed.
Hypnosis, medicine and Freud
Therefore, throughout this volume, the use of autohypnosis and sensory-imagery conditioning has been stressed repeatedly. Often the therapist may set standards that are too high for the patient to fulfill; this only causes further depression and anxiety. By such an approach the therapist does not give the patient enough motivation to seek further assistance; this only mobilizes hostility and usually results in discontinuance of the therapy.
Moreover, such a parental or authoritative approach never allows the individual to grow up and develop an acceptance of himself. He will remain dependent upon the therapist, requiring repeated reinforcement and support. If all these mechanisms are not understood, strong dependency always will be maintained. It is surprising how minor factors may produce difficulties due to the therapist.
About Scott Sandland, Clinical and Medical Hypnotist
The author recollects an interesting patient who had complained of menopausal symptoms of several years' duration. It is his custom after the third or fourth visit to call his patients by their first names. When this was done in her case, the patient broke off therapy, even though she was making good progress. If he feels some personal antagonism to the patient, he should not treat him. Or if he feels insecure with the method, he will, on the basis of subliminal cues, transmit his own insecurities to the patient.
Therefore, those therapists who think that hypnotherapy is fraught with dangers are undoubtedly transmitting their personal convictions. In this chapter, the author has attempted to present briefly some of the reasons for failures with hypnotherapy. Usually, successful cases are stressed for teaching purposes. The hesitancy to present failures or unsuccessful cases is understandable, but these are equally valuable for instruction. Admission of failure is a sign of intellectual and emotional maturity.
Hypnotherapy, while an ancient science, is still struggling against great handicaps because of irrational prejudice. The author has his share of failures and relapses following hypnotherapy. However, he generally attempts to analyze the reasons for them. He also is well aware that the placebo effect of any type of psychotherapy is over 60 per cent, and that many get better irrespective of the therapy.
There are also spontaneous remissions. It is the author's hope that this chapter will contribute to a better understanding of the role that hypnosis plays in psychotherapy. Also, it should be pointed out that one can over emphasize failures with hypnotherapy as well as sensationalize cures; neither should be told to patients. An increasing knowledge of its successful applications and the reasons for its failures eventually will accord this modality a secure position in medical practice and therapy.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the same measures may be utilized to avoid failures in hypnotherapy as in any other psychotherapeutic procedure. First, the nature of the patient's values as well as his motivation for recovery should be explored; next, the need for his symptoms in terms of their secondary gain value.
Such information can usually be obtained in the one or more evaluation sessions before hypnotherapy is instituted or even attempted.
Handbook of Medical and Psychological Hypnosis
To avoid failures, hypnosis should be used, in most instances, with reeducation, supportive and psychodynamic psychotherapy, behavior modification, group therapy, and other eclectic procedures, including drugs. Appendix An Interview with William S. Kroger, M. Yapko, PhD. This interview was first published in the Milton H. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of The Milton H. Erickson Foundation. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
The Society's address is: N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL.