Health Psychol. 2009 Sep;28(5):579-87
Butler LD, Koopman C, Neri E, Giese-Davis J, Palesh O, Thorne-Yocam KA, Dimiceli S, Chen XH, Fobair P, Kraemer HC, Spiegel D.
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine., USA.
To examine whether a group intervention including hypnosis can reduce cancer pain and trait hypnotizability would moderate these effects. DESIGN: This randomized clinical trial examined the effects of group therapy with hypnosis (supportive-expressive group therapy) plus education compared to an education-only control condition on pain over 12 months among 124 women with metastatic breast cancer.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Pain and suffering, frequency of pain, and degree of constant pain were assessed at baseline and 4-month intervals. Those in the treatment group also reported on their experiences using the hypnosis exercises.
Intention-to-treat analyses indicated that the intervention resulted in significantly less increase in the intensity of pain and suffering over time, compared to the education-only group, but had no significant effects on the frequency of pain episodes or amount of constant pain, and there was no interaction of the intervention with hypnotizability. Within the intervention group, highly hypnotizable participants, compared to those less hypnotizable, reported greater benefits from hypnosis, employed self-hypnosis more often outside of group, and used it to manage other symptoms in addition to pain.
These results augment the growing literature supporting the use of hypnosis as an adjunctive treatment for medical patients experiencing pain.