WHEN a patient or friend asks about the medical use of hypnosis, he may have heard about it on television, may have talked with a friend who had hypnotic treatment, or may have witnessed a party stunt. The question may indicate his suspicion that there is an important psychosomatic component in his complaint, and he hopes that hypnosis can change things in his mind or body without the time, pain, and money required by more conventional treatment. He may see hypnotherapy as magic, a fantastic expectation that is often projected into this frequently misunderstood technique.
When a patient asks about hypnosis, first ascertain if some unspoken concern lies behind his question. Then reassure him that in the proper hands, hypnotherapy can be an acceptable treatment. Hypnotherapy has been recognized by the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association, as well as other professional groups. However,
Hall JA, Crasilneck HB. Hypnosis. JAMA. 1978;239(8):760–761. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280350084028