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CBT Plus Hypnosis Reduces Fatigue from Radiation Therapy

28 Jun

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York tested the effectiveness of a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and hypnosis (CBTH) to ameliorate radiotherapy-related fatigue.

Women (n = 42) scheduled for breast cancer radiotherapy were randomly assigned to receive standard medical care (SMC) (n = 20) or a CBTH intervention (n = 22) in addition to standard medical care.
 
Participants assigned to receive CBTH met individually with a clinical psychologist, receiving training in hypnosis and CBT. Participants assigned to the SMC control condition did not meet with a study psychologist.

Fatigue was measured on a weekly basis by using the fatigue subscale of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT) and daily with visual analogue scales.
 
For weekly FACIT fatigue data, there was a significant effect of the CBTH intervention on the reduced fatigue (p < .05), such that on average, CBTH participants' fatigue did not increase over the course of treatment, whereas control group participants' fatigue increased linearly. Daily data corroborated the analyses of weekly data.

The results suggest that CBTH is an effective means for controlling and potentially preventing fatigue in breast cancer radiotherapy patients.

Citation:  Montgomery GH, Kangas M, David D, Hallquist MN, Green S, Bovbjerg DH, Schnur JB. Fatigue during breast cancer radiotherapy: an initial randomized study of cognitive-behavioral therapy plus hypnosis. Health Psychol. 2009 May;28(3):317-22. 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