Hypnosis is recognised by medical and psychological associations

Hypnosis is recognised by medical and psychological associations

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Hypnosis works. You do not have to take our word for it.

Many world-renowned medical associations have endorsed hypnosis again and again as an effective method. Thanks to more research in the field of hypnosis, an increased number of supporters for this safe and non-invasive method continue to bring in more evidence on the efficiency of hypnosis for chronic pain management, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and many more issues.

The American and British Psychological Medical and Psychological associations recognise that hypnotherapy can help people. Here is a brief overview.

In 1892, the British Medical Association commissioned a Committee to investigate hypnosis. The Committee reported unanimously in the British Medical Journal that they “satisfied themselves of the genuineness of the hypnotic state” and recognised that hypnotism was “frequently effective in relieving pain, procuring sleep, and alleviating many functional ailments.”

British Medical Association

In 1955, The British Medical Association commissioned another Subcommittee to deliver a second and more comprehensive report on hypnosis.

In 1955, The British Medical Association commissioned another Subcommittee to deliver a second and more comprehensive report on hypnosis.

It added that hypnosis is an effective technique in the treatment of neuroses, psycho-somatic conditions and physical pain:

The Subcommittee is satisfied after consideration of the available evidence that hypnotism is of value and may be the treatment of choice in some cases of so-called psycho-somatic disorder and psychoneurosis. It may also be of value for revealing unrecognised motives and conflicts in such conditions.

As a treatment, in the opinion of the Subcommittee it has proved its ability to remove symptoms and to alter morbid habits of thought and behaviour.

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The report also refers to the use of hypnosis in pain anaesthesia, analgesia for surgical and dental operations and pain management in childbirth.

The Subcommittee went on to recommend that undergraduates and postgraduates in medical and psychological sciences study the clinical use of hypnosis.

Two years later, in June 1957, a final paper, entitled “The Medical Use of Hypnotism”, was published in the British Medical Journal.

If there is a future for an objectively oriented training in psychotherapy, hypnosis might well play a useful though by no means exclusive part. …

It is on the whole a method which leaves few scars and makes no fundamental change in the personality that would not have occurred in the course of individual development.

In responsible hands it is a safe method of treatment which can be combined with others and seems rarely to prejudice their use later in other hands.

American Medical Association

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The American Medical Association followed suit in 1958 and commissioned a report about the efficiency of hypnosis. It recognised hypnotherapy as a form of medical treatment. The Council on Mental Health of the American Medical Association recommended the inclusion of hypnosis instruction in the medical schools programs.

In 1961, the same council recommended that medical students and doctors complete 144 hours of hypnotherapy training.

While the American Medical Association rescinded all policies related to diagnostic and therapeutic methods in 1987, it has not issued any official position on hypnosis, contrary to the American Psychological Association.

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American psychological Association

Today, the APA’s website fully endorses hypnosis as a valid form of therapy:

The American Psychological Association (APA) has also endorsed hypnotherapy. One of its division, Division 30 also called the Society of Psychological Hypnosis, focuses on advancing standard and research on hypnosis as well as changing scientific information.

Recent publications are aimed at educating the wider public on hypnosis. A page entitled “look beyond the media portrayal” encourages practitioners and therapists to spread the effective therapeutic benefits of hypnosis with their clients.

Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders. Hypnosis can also help people change their habits, such as quitting smoking.

The same publication mentions the efficacy of hypnosis in the following cases:

  • Treatment of pain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and phobias
  • Stress
  • Habit disorders
  • Gastro-intestinal disorders
  • Skin conditions
  • Post-surgical recovery
  • Relief from nausea and vomiting
  • Childbirth
  • Treatment of haemophilia and many other conditions.

British Psychological Association

Many other psychological associations have also endorsed hypnosis. The 2001 report on the “Nature of Hypnosis” states in its introduction that “Hypnosis is a valid subject for scientific study and research and a proven therapeutic medium”. It also adds that:

Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders. Hypnosis can also help people change their habits, such as quitting smoking.

The same report cites convincing evidence that “hypnotic procedures are effective in the management and relief of both acute and chronic pain and in assisting in the alleviation of pain, discomfort and distress due to medical and dental procedures and childbirth”.

The reports lists that hypnosis can also help for the following issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress, tension
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Asthma
  • Gastro-intestinal complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome
  • Skin problems (warts, eczema, urticaria, psoriasis)
  • Weight loss
  • Stop smoking
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