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Am J Clin Hypn. 2017 Jul;60(1):33-49. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2017.1299678.

Cancer Palliation: Layered Hypnotic Approaches Mending Symptoms, Minding Hope, and Meaning.

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a Denver Health Medical Center , Denver , Colorado , USA.
b Jewish General Hospital, Segal Cancer Centre , Montreal , Quebec , Canada.


Advanced cancer often produces significant symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and cachexia; many symptoms require medication adjustments in dose and route of administration, and most patients have significant symptom burdens near the end of life. Treatment strategies that integrate mind-body approaches, such as hypnosis, to improve symptoms are increasingly being studied and utilized. The current article addresses the role for adjunctive hypnotic approaches to relieve suffering from pain and other symptoms, while fostering hope, even in the midst of advancing illness, similar to Snyder's (2002) metaphorical painting of "a personal rainbow of the mind" (p. 269). We describe specific clinical indications, technical modifications, and imagistic language used in formulating hypnotic suggestions in the face of illness progression. Furthermore, we specifically describe formulation of layered hypnotic suggestions with intent to intentionally weave suggestions to modify symptoms and link to suggestions to enhance hope and alter time perception. This approach offers the opportunity to transform an experience often defined by its losses to one in which hidden opportunities for growth and change emerge within this transitional life experience.


hope; hypnotic analgesia; indirect methods in hypnosis; layered hypnotic suggestions; palliative care; time distortion

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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