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Clin J Pain. 1989 Jun;5(2):161-8.

Self-hypnosis in chronic pain. A multiple baseline study of five highly hypnotisable subjects.

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Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, New Zealand.


The efficacy of self-hypnosis in the treatment of chronic pain was evaluated using a multiple baseline design for five patients referred to the Auckland Hospital Pain Clinic. Subjects were selected for high hypnotisability using the Stanford Hypnotic Clinical Scale. Daily records of pain intensity, sleep quality, medication requirements, and self-hypnosis practice were completed. At four research interviews the Health Locus of Control survey, the McGill Pain Questionnaire, and the Illness Self Concept Repertory Grid (ISCRG) were administered. Subjects also reported on daily activities and quality of life. Postal follow-up assessment occurred after 2 years. Two subjects reported overall improvement, two demonstrated little change in condition, although self-hypnosis was effective on some occasions, and one subject experienced deterioration in her condition. The patients showed an increase in personal locus of control and a shift of self-concept away from physical illness on the ISCRG. The results suggest that self-hypnosis can be a highly effective technique for some patients with chronic pain but not for all. Selection criteria and clinical factors other than hypnotisability need to be considered in further research, since even highly hypnotisable subjects may derive limited benefit from self-hypnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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