Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Gastric Band Hypnotherapy

From Yahoo! answers


has anyone had a gastric band fitted through hypnotherapy if so did it work?

Additional Details

i mean to make someone think they have had it im told the results are pretty good

My Answer:
Hi Barry

The idea behind gastric band hypnotherapy is a good one, and there's no reason why a good hypnotherapist should not alter a good hypnotee's reality such that they behave (unconsciously) as if they had a gastric band fitted.

Like many good ideas, it has been wrapped up in a lot of unnecessary packaging. I have read, for example, of a machine being used to make the therapy room smell like a hospital, and tapes being played of ambulances in the distance. If a hypnotee is good enough to accept the gastric band suggestion then they will also easily accept "and you can hear and smell the hospital around you."

But gastric band hypnotherapy isn't (or shouldn't be) used in isolation. (Please excuse me while I do the dull bit about therapy.)

It is not good therapy to take someone's crutch away without curing their lameness as you risk that they either fall over or find another crutch. Thus in therapy it is important to treat the person, not the problem.

People have weight issues for all sorts of reasons. Of course they eat too much and of the wrong things, and don't exercise enough, but why? Often it is for reasons of which they are not consciously aware. I've treated many people for morbid obesity and you would not believe the reasons why they behave the way they do.

Slapping a gastric band on someone, either surgically or hypnotically, will stop them eating so much. But it won't do anything about any extant psychological drivers that caused them to over-eat. You end up, then, with all the same motivations and needs for a behaviour without the ability to express it.

That is not good therapy.

It is important, therefore, to establish and resolve the drivers for the behaviour before going for the gastric band. And if the drivers are resolved then there's a very good chance that the behaviour will change anyway (because there's no psychological need for it any more) and the gastric band will not be necessary.

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist
Mindsci Clinic
Kingston Hospital
(NHS) Trust


From Yahoo! Answers
What do you think about hypnotherapy?
I'm a Christian and I WONDER of hypnotherapy would help me with my coordination. Any comments?

My Answer:

Being a Christian is not a problem. I've treated quite a few ordained ministers, both Anglican and Catholic. In fact, my Chaplain considers that he and I do similar jobs in that we are both doing our best to help people get through their lives as happily as possible.

Whether hypnotherapy can help you with coordination is another matter. I have treated people who simply could not tell left from right (their brains just didn't do it) and that has been successful. But if the problem stems from a profound neurological deficit then even if hypnotherapy could be used (to exploit the brain's natural plasticity and get a different bit of your brain to take over from the bit that isn't working) that could take too many sessions to make it economically feasible.

And then there's the usual caveat that hypnosis is a great therapy vehicle if you have a good hypnotist and a good hypnotee. It is not the case that anyone calling themselves a hypnotherapist could necessarily help any patient who wanted hypnotherapy, either with this, or with anything else.

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist
Mindsci Clinic
Kingston Hospital
(NHS) Trust

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Hypnosis: (The Power of) Words v. Intent

From the Gnostic HypnoPsychology Discussion Board

Hi Jeff

Words ... well, I think they are more important when you are doing conscious work than when you are doing non-conscious (hypnotic) work. And in both, I think there's a good chance that intent is more important than the words themselves.

Here's an anecdote. If you have time to read it, you might find it interesting.

There's a 'mentalist' called Derren Brown. He's on TV in the
UK quite a lot and is often very entertaining. I think mentalism is nothing more than conjuring tricks wrapped in psychobabble, but Derren is also a good hypnotist. One time, he hypnotized a popular radio DJ (called Jo Wiley) on her show and stuck her hand to the desk. Someone posted a transcript of the stuck-hands bit of the show in an on-line forum. Someone else posted that they'd learned the patter, tried it on their gf, and it didn't work.

Lot's of people wrote in saying that it wasn't just a question of getting the words right, you had to be a genius in the delivery of the words, getting the inflection just precisely right if it was going to work.

Others wrote in saying that you had not only to get the words right but, also, be a genius at observing the subject's body language so you could time the delivery of the words just precisely right if it was going to work.

I wrote and said "But if you're a hypnotist you can do it silently in a blindfold."

I got rocks.

I wrote that in hypnosis it wasn't about the words, the inflection or the timing; it was about the intent.

I got more and bigger rocks. Many of them had 'Put up or shut up,' pasted over them.

So I picked a patient I thought could stand it (i.e., not be psychologically scared by being involved in an experiment she knew nothing about) and set up a video camera before she arrived. I let her in without saying anything, took her through to my consulting rooms, put on a blindfold, sat her down, and ...

Well, I had quite a lot to do. Not only did I need to get her to do a double hand levitation, and get the hands stuck together without saying anything (stuck hands, silently in a blindfold) I also had to get her to give a running commentary, without asking for it, because otherwise (being blindfolded) I'd have had no idea what was happening.

It worked. (Of course it worked or I wouldn't be writing about it here.) When it was over I explained what it was all about, as I have done here. I gave her a copy of the clip so she could show her husband and decide whether I could post it on YouTube for a week so those who had said 'Prove it,' could see the proof.

They agreed and the clip was posted. Some said "Wow!" Some said "You did what you said could be done." And some said "That's not possible. It must have been staged."

It wasn't staged. Actually I think it's easy to tell from the hypnotee's reactions that it isn't staged.

Anyway ... in hypnosis, at least, it really isn't about the words. It's about the intent.

So even when you are relaxed and telling yourself that ... "from now on ... you only ever want to eat and ... only ever do eat ... just the right foods in ... just the right quantities at ... just the right times for ... just the right reasons and ... you are completely content and ... satisfied with that ... naturally," don't just say it, mean it. Intend it so that ... "you become slimmer ... fitter ... healthier and ... happier ... naturally". 

Best Wishes

Barry Thain

Friday, 4 June 2010

Neurology meets Psychotherapy

At the neurobiological level the aim of all psychotherapy is to alter connections in the brain so that real or imagined stimuli no longer evoke the stress response.

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist

NICE, Hypnotherapy and Refractory IBS

From the message board of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis

I was just wondering how many hypnotherapists here have actually treated anyone for refractory IBS? I have. Once.

I ask because two hypnotherapists wrote to me last month about NICE ‘recognising’ hypnotherapy as a ‘psychological intervention’, and the last BSCH newsletter referred to Bill Doult’s excellent blog on the same subject.

Several things strike me as curious about this.

Firstly, why now?

The NICE guidelines were published in February 2008 (not Feb 2010). They say:
 1.2.3 Psychological interventions Referral for psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT], hypnotherapy and/or psychological therapy) should be considered for people with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months and who develop a continuing symptom profile (described as refractory IBS).
1.2.4 Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) The use of acupuncture should not be encouraged for the treatment of IBS. The use of reflexology should not be encouraged for the treatment of IBS.”*

Secondly, I think we ought to be quite careful how we choose to interpret this.

On the strength of the extract from the guidelines above, I have seen it argued that “… hypnotherapy is not classified as a Complementary Therapy by … the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)”. Is that really what it says? Surely, the thing it isn’t being classified as is a complementary or alternative “medicine”. Surely we’ve never thought of ourselves as purveyors of medicine, have we? Under “Psychological interventions” it lists CBT, as well as hypnotherapy and psychological therapy. I do not imagine that caused all the cognitive behavioural therapists to go off and proclaim that they are no longer complementary or alternative anything but are now psychological interventionsists. CBT is CBT. It was before February 2008 and it is now. And hypnotherapy is hypnotherapy. Nothing has changed.

Thirdly, so what? I admit it’s speculation only on my part but my guess is that refractory IBS is a tiny, insignificant part of the average hypnotherapist’s caseload. What I’m not guessing at is that no PCT in the country is going to pay for anyone here to treat it. Unless you are, or work for, Prof Whorwell the NHS will not finance the treatment of refractory IBS (for reasons which have been rehearsed elsewhere on this board).

There are some other aspects of the NICE findings that may be of interest to members.

“Hypnotherapy: A deep state of relaxation is achieved through focused attention.”**

Oh well. As the report wasn’t written by hypnotherapists I don’t suppose we can complain too much that they think hypnotherapy is a deep state of relaxation but, apparently, no state of hypnosis. (I know – a lot of hypnotherapists think that too.)

“Psychological interventions: The treatment of any condition by psychological means. This may utilise insight, persuasion, suggestion, reassurance, and instruction so that patients may see themselves and their problems more realistically and have the desire to cope effectively with them. There are many different psychological interventions, these include psychotherapy, biofeedback, cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, hypnotherapy, interpersonal therapy and psychodynamic therapy.”**

This looks like woolly thinking to me. Isn’t psychodynamic therapy a subset of psychotherapy? It’s like saying ‘Pets include fish, dogs, cats, poodles, birds, Labradors …’ Of course, patient’s seeing themselves and their problems more realistically is an entirely conscious activity and doesn’t require hypnosis (communication with the non-conscious mind) at all.

“The costs of hypnotherapy were based on the mean number and duration of sessions used in the Whorwell (1984) and Galoviski (1998) studies, weighted by their contribution to the meta-analysis. This gave a mean duration of 3.6 hours of hypnotherapy. As there were only two studies used to estimate the RR, the cost range was based on the range from the various studies included in the clinical effectiveness review (2.2 – 4.9 hours). This gave a total cost for hypnotherapy of £171, (range £105 - £237).”**

So, even if we were going to be paid by the NHS to treat refractory IBS, we’d be paid £171 for 3.6 hours (£47.50/hour) to relieve a condition that 12 months traditional NHS treatment had not helped. I wonder how realistic this is.

In summary then, I suspect that NICE’s acknowledgement of hypnotherapy as a possible long-shot in the treatment of refractory IBS is something of a red herring. One might argue that NICE recognition for anything takes us out of the mumbo-jumbo smoke and mirrors closet and into the professional light. If that were true, however, hypnotherapy would be recognised as a frontline intervention in a whole host of physiological and psychological issues for which NICE ignores hypnotherapy completely.

The question, therefore, isn’t so much ‘what can we do to leverage NICE’s recognition of hypnotherapy as a treatment for refractory IBS?’ but ‘what can we do to get NICE to recognise all the other conditions for which hypnotherapy is a reasonable treatment option?’

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist

* NICE clinical guideline 61 “Irritable bowel syndrome in adults. Diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care.”

** Clinical practice guideline - Irritable bowel syndrome in adults: Diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care. National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care, commissioned by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, February 2008

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Hypnosis and The Bottle

From the Archives

An actress called me. She was a 20 year AA veteran. She didn’t want to stop drinking. She wanted to be able to enjoy the first glass or two and then stop.

I told her that was not possible. I told her she had to quit for good and stay quit because if she had a glass or two she’d lose her inhibition brake and wake up the next day not knowing what she’d done the night before.

She agreed to quit altogether and made an appointment.

As I was taking her case history it became utterly clear that she had no desire to stop drinking. She wanted to have the first glass or two and then stop. I told her it wouldn’t work and then, against my better judgement, tried to make it.

I couldn’t hypnotise her. I tried too hard and worked too long, all through her session, through my admin time, and through my lunch break at the end of which I knew nothing had worked. I felt like cr@p.

Instead of my usual “I need to see you in a week … how’s your diary?” I wimped out completely and said, lamely, “Give me a call in a couple of weeks and we’ll see how we go from there,” convinced I’d never hear from her again.

Two weeks later, she called. “Barry. I can’t thank you enough. Since I saw you I haven’t had more than two drinks on any day. I went to the BAFTAs and there were trays of champagne but after two it was like a switch went and I wanted water. It’s like it’s some kind of miracle.”

“OK,” I said, somewhat bemused. “We’d better make an appointment for a consolidation session. And we did.

Just before the second session she left a message on my answer machine saying she had to cancel as she had an audition, but would call back and reappoint.

She never did.

Six months later I was archiving files, saw her name, and wondered. I sent her an e-mail. “Hi. You slipped off the radar. I just wondered how you are getting on.”

“Dear Barry, I owe you an apology. I lied to you. When I cancelled my last session, there was no audition. But the first session had been so powerful I was afraid to come back. I’m sorry. Since then I sometimes go a whole week without a drink and haven’t had more than two in a single day since I saw you, so I hope you’ll forgive me.”

Hypnosis and Recovered Memory

From Yahoo! Answers

Make someone remember with hypnosis?
Is it possible to make someone remember a part of a trauma that he/she have experienced, but dont remember, with hypnosis?

Your Answer:
Hi Lindor

Yes, is the short answer.

But if the patient is not aware that it happened (which must be the case if hypnosis is required for them to remember it) then the therapist would not know to go looking for it.

It is possible that something might pop-up spontaneously in hypnosis, but in that case it might not be clear whether it was a recollection of an actual event or a confabulation (a sort of unintentional fabrication).

Also, bear in mind that memory is not stored like a video that can be replayed and remain dependably accurate. memory is stored in lots of little bits that have to get put back together again so all recollection is an act of reconstruction.

Revisiting traumas is not always either desirable or necessary. Where it is appropriate it should be possible to do it non-traumatically.

In terms of recovering memory generally I've helped people remember when they put their new shoes, their sister's wedding dress, a gun, their name, and a language (all of which have their own stories).

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist

Hypnosis and Brainwashing

do you think "Hypnosis" is used to "Brain wash" people mainly? when ,where, and how developed this "technique"?
and why so many say that it "helps" a person to remember vividly past memories that were painful that they have bottled up emotions about and why on earth would basically "RETRAUMATISING" them about this again be helping them ? how long they are suppose to refeel these emotions again before thinking normal and better again and is this a one time thing or how "Hypnotherapy" is said to work?

and gain, when, why and how became popular today? and where?

My Answer:
Interesting question.

As a clinical hypnotist I flinch at the association with brain-washing as it has such negative, non-consensual connotations. But I suppose it depends what you mean by brain-washing. If someone comes to me with a phobia and goes away without it because I hypnotised them and took it away, is that brain-washing? Maybe it is but, if so, it is benign and consensual brain-washing.

As for 'retraumatising' patients, I don't think many therapists believe that's either necessary or desirable these days. It may be appropriate to look back at events that lie at the root of a patient's present-day neuroses but most therapists would do this in a way that was not traumatic. Making people re-experience difficult emotions might be done some some hypnotherapists just as it is done by a few psychotherapists of all sorts of different flavours of psychotherapy that AREN'T hypnotic. any therapist who is going to use that as a tool ought to warn the patient about it beforehand and let the patient opt out if they choose.

Others have pointed you to Google, for a history of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. I think it's become popular since the advent of television. Whilst there are plenty of eminent and reputable therapeutic hypnotists in the history of hypnosis, none of them are well known to the general public.

People come to me, and others like me, not because of Erickson, or Spiegler, or Braid, but because of Svengali and Paul McKenna. They see a stage hypnotist make a volunteer fall in love with a mop and conclude that I can make them fall out of love with their cigarettes. They see a stage hypnotist make a volunteer shed their inhibitions and believe I can make them shed their anxieties. And they are right. I can.

Hypnotherapists can get very sniffy about stage hypnotists but (speaking as a clinical hypnotist who does quite a lot of work in mainstream hospitals) I think it is the stage hypnotists who have popularised hypnotism over the last 40 years.

Best wishes

Barry Thain
Clinical Hypnotist