Case of the Month #29: Using Hypnosis in Pain Management by Dr Sue Peacock

Published: 28/06/2023

Managment plan

Mr C was referred to the psychologist, part of the pain clinic team, for hypnotherapy. (The psychologist was also a qualified advanced hypnotherapist). The psychologist undertook a thorough assessment of his pain history, including triggers, pain patterns, and the impact on his daily life was completed. Additionally, they explored Mr C’s anxiety, low mood, and the nature and intensity of his needle phobia. Following a discussion about hypnosis and how it can be use in pain management, Mr C agreed to participate in hypnotherapy sessions.

Following assessment, the psychologist devised a tailored treatment plan addressing Mr C’s specific needs and challenges, incorporated the following components.

Pain Management: Through hypnosis sessions, the psychologist aimed to modify Mr C's perception of pain and enhance his ability to manage it effectively. Hypnotic suggestions focused on pain reduction, providing imagery and visualizations that encouraged relaxation, comfort and increased movement without fear of the pain increasing.

Sleep: Mr C's sleep disturbances were addressed through hypnosis, focusing on improving sleep quality and promoting relaxation. The psychologist guided Mr C in developing healthy sleep patterns and provided suggestions for deep restorative sleep.

Anxiety and low mood: Hypnosis sessions incorporated relaxation techniques, guided imagery, and cognitive restructuring to help alleviate Mr C's anxiety and improve his mood. The psychologist also worked with Mr C to reframe negative thoughts and promote a more positive resilient mindset.

Addressing the needle phobia: The psychologist employed hypnotherapy techniques, such as systematic desensitisation and suggestion therapy, to address Mr C's needle phobia. Hypnosis helped Mr C develop a more relaxed and positive response to needles, gradually desensitising him to the fear and discomfort associated with injections.

Mr C had face to face hypnotherapy sessions and was also instructed in self-hypnosis for his pain management, stress, anxiety management and needle phobia.