Hypnosis and HypnoAnesthesia for Pain Management
Ron Eslinger, RN, CRNA, APN, MA, BCH, CMI, OB, FNGH
Meeting the Client’s Needs – Personalizing the Pain Treatment Plan. 2 of 2
I wrote earlier about the need to meet the client’s needs by personalizing their treatment plan. In that article, I discussed how to use tools from the NGH certification course that allows you, the hypnotist, to give suggestions the client is willing to accept, or allowed to pass the critical factor, which is the cerebral cortex, the thinking part of the brain. The information is then sent to the subconscious mind to be acted upon. Your understanding as the hypnotist that the subconscious mind an integral part of a network of glands within the brain known as the Limbic system. Once we understand the involvement of hypnosis in the relationship between the cerebral cortex of the brain and the limbic system within the brain, we can see the simplicity and the power of simple suggestions, metaphors, and stories, the hypnotist suggest to the client.
In my 30+ years as a hypnotist I’ve found that what I know most, is how little I actually know. I found it interesting in my many years of teaching in a multitude of different arenas that those who are “good” at what they do whether it is anesthesia, nursing, sports or hypnosis fell into a do-nothing category. What I mean by that is a person who is good at what they do, does not want to be coached, mentored or learn from others. They already know it. These are the people, who when walking through the exhibitions at the NGH Annual Conference will look at another hypnotist’s product and say, ”I already know how to do that.” Lena my assistant, says, they just don’t know what they don’t know.
I came to realize hypnotist who are the “best” at what they do, are also the ones who want to be coached, mentored and constantly study hypnosis. This is the group of great hypnotist, who never say, “I already know how to do that.” The great hypnotist would be thinking, “I wonder how they do that? Wonder what I can learn for them?” What can I learn that will benefit my clients?
Hypnosis is Dose Related
Hypnosis like a medication is dose related. When you’re given a medication, you are also given directions on how much to take, and how often to take it. Unfortunately, in the same way that many people on 10 days of antibiotics quit taking those antibiotics on the third or fourth day because they feel better, also set the stage for those bacteria that would have been to become resistant. The same thing can happen with hypnotic suggestions.
Client compliance is a major factor in client success. I invest time in the client’s session preparing them for both self-sabotage and sabotaged by their family and friends. Self-sabotage can be so camouflaged by historical thinking that the client does not even realize they are doing it. Remember, a thought becomes a thing. Something as simple as a client thinking, “I hope this works” is planting a seed of doubt and with every such thought that seed is nurtured and it grows until the client is back to where they started from. An example is a client I saw the with severe painful blepharospasm. Blepharospasm can be a painful spasm and blinking of the eyelids and the spasms may leave the eyelids completely closed. In order to see, the client holes the eyelid open with the fingers which can become very painful.
I scheduled her for an intensive. Which is how I treat most long-term chronic pain Her first sessions were on Monday, two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Her eyes were not completely closed, but were blinking in a spasmodic way and she had no control, which made it impossible for her to have functional eyesight, as in driving. She responded quicker and better than I thought she would when compared to the first blepharospasm client I treated with hypnosis. During the interview she made a comment, and I can’t remember the context, but she told me her favorite hymn. That afternoon I went to my church and got a songbook and from that hymn I created her suggestions for her next session. This is an example of how I personalize my sessions to my clients.
Self-Sabotage – the next morning, I get a phone call. It is her. She called because she had decided to drive herself to the appointment. She had not driven in years. Halfway there she started thinking. What if my blepharospasm comes back? Then the panic, what would she do if it did. Guess what. It did. She called me while sitting on the side of the road explaining her dilemma. What would you do in a case like this? I just simply said take three of those relaxing breaths that I taught you how to take. With every breath visualize the relaxing oxygen moving into your eyelids, which I had done with her before. Now forget about what was, and what may be, and think about what your eyelids feel like when relaxed and comfortable. You can choose to drive on to the office, or Lena and I can come to you and I will drive you to the office. She drove herself and she did great. Very, very comfortably confident with herself.
Sabotaged by family and friends is extremely common. An example is a client that returned home after a weeklong intensive totally comfortable, following six years of agony, painful treatments, and medical failures. (See CRPS case report on my blog). She was so excited and happy about being normal again. Unfortunately, what she got was, “so it was in your head.” You can imagine what happened after that.
Emilé Coue, said, “Suggestions only become permanent with repetition.”