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Self-hypnosis relapse prevention training with chronic drug/alcohol users.

02 Aug
In one randomized, placebo-controlled study with 261 substance abusing vets, a self-hypnosis protocol did not effect the rate of relapse, but it did help with self-esteem, serenity and levels of anger & impulsivity.
Ronald Pekala and fellow researchers from the Biofeedback Clinic of the Coatesville VA Medical Center in Coatesville, PA, studied the effectiveness of a self-hypnosis protocol with chronic drug and alcohol patients in increasing self-esteem, improving affect, and preventing relapse against a control, a cognitive-behavioral (TCB), and a stress management (attention-placebo) group.

Participants were 261 veterans admitted to Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs (SARRTPs). Participants were assessed pre- and post-intervention, and at 7-week follow-up.

Relapse rates did not significantly differ across the 4 groups at follow-up; 87% of those contacted reported abstinence.

At follow-up, the participants in the 3 treatment conditions were asked how often they practiced with the intervention materials provided them. Practicing and minimal-practicing participants were compared against the control group for each of the 3 interventions via MANOVAs/ANOVAs. Results revealed a significant Time by Groups interaction for the hypnosis intervention, with individuals who played the self-hypnosis audiotapes "at least 3 to 5 times a week" at 7-week follow-up reporting the highest levels of self-esteem and serenity, and the least anger/impulsivity, in comparison to the minimal-practice and control groups.

No significant effects were found for the CBT or stress management interventions. Regression analyses predicted almost two-thirds of the variance of who relapsed and who did not in the hypnosis intervention group.

Hypnotic susceptibility predicted who practiced the self-hypnosis audiotapes. The results suggest that hypnosis can be a useful adjunct in helping chronic substance abuse individuals with their reported self-esteem, serenity, and anger/impulsivity.

Citation: Pekala RJ, Maurer R, Kumar VK, Elliott NC, Masten E, Moon E, Salinger M. Self-hypnosis relapse prevention training with chronic drug/alcohol users: effects on self-esteem, affect, and relapse. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 2004 April; 46 (4): pp. 281-97. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award