Does Adding Hypnosis To Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Help Treat Acute Stress Disorder?
In my last couple of blogs I’ve written about the research suggesting that adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy tends to enhance the results achieved.
Or as Kirsch wrote, “The results of this meta-analysis indicates a fairly substantial effect as a result of adding hypnosis to cognitive-behavioural psychotherapies…hypnosis enhances the effects of cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy across a broad range of problems” (Kirsch et al, Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy: A meta-analysis).
I’ve written about how adding hypnosis can benefit weight loss results and about the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy with hypnosis for managing fatigue during breast cancer radiotherapy.
Today I’m writing about the benefit of hypnosis and cognitive behavioural therapy in treating acute stress disorder. And once again we have research to tell us about the added benefit of including hypnosis in the treatment.
Treating Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress disorder describes post-traumatic stress reactions that occur in the initial month after a traumatic experience.
It can include symptoms such as recurring, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event, flashbacks in which someone feels or acts as if the traumatic event(s) were recurring, difficulty experiencing positive emotions, avoidance symptoms (efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event), sleep disturbance, irritable behaviour and angry outbursts.
It’s estimated that about 80% of people who meet the criteria for acute stress disorder subsequently develop chronic PTSD.
In the research I’m talking about here today, participants were randomly allocated to six sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), cognitive behavioural therapy with hypnosis, or supportive counselling. The CBT included exposure, cognitive restructuring and anxiety management. The CBH with hypnosis included these elements with additional hypnosis elements.
And the findings from the research?
Both CBT and CBT with hypnosis led to marked reductions in PTSD symptoms compared to those who received supportive counselling (“fewer participants in the CBT and CBT-hypnosis groups met criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder at post-treatment and 6-month follow up than those in the SC group”). That is, both cognitive behavioural therapy on its own and CBT with hypnosis offered therapeutic benefit to those with acute stress disorder.
And whilst CBT with hypnosis participants did not enjoy greater clinical gains than those in the CBT group, those who received hypnosis as part of their treatment had fewer re-experiencing symptoms at post-treatment than those in the CBT alone group. That is, “combining hypnosis with exposure seems to have led to a faster reduction in re-experiencing symptoms, even though this difference was no longer apparent at follow up.”
So whilst both treatments led to therapeutic gains with fewer people meeting criteria for post-traumatic stress after treatment and at six months later, those who had treatment including hypnosis had a greater reduction in re-experiencing symptoms at post treatment than CBT. Hypnosis here led to a faster reduction in re-experiencing symptoms which suggest that hypnosis may be useful in the treatment of acute stress disorder.
Given the huge levels of psychological and emotional distress that can be caused by acute stress disorder and PTSD, anything that helps alleviate symptoms more effectively can only be a good thing.
To your success,
Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
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Reference: The Additive Benefit of Hypnosis and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Treating Acute Stress Disorder. By Bryant, Richard A.,Moulds, Michelle L.,Guthrie, Rachel M.,Nixon, Reginald D. V. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 73(2), Apr 2005, 334-340