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Cognitive change in patients undergoing hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome.

20 Apr

This study by Gonsalkorale et al investigated whether hypnotherapy improves negative cognitions - thoughts, ideas and assumptions about hypnotherapy. ns - about IBS, as well as helping with symptoms and quality of life.

A total of 78 irritable bowel syndrome patients completed a validated symptom-scoring questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) Scale and the Cognitive Scale for Functional Bowel Disorders (FBDs), before and after 12 sessions of gut-focused hypnotherapy.

The hypnotherapy intervention resulted in improvement of symptoms, quality of life and scores for anxiety and depression (all P''s<.001). IBS-related cognitions also improved, with reduction in the total cognitive score (TCS; P<.001) and all component themes related to bowel function (all P<.001).

The study correlated cognitions with symptom severity, because the most abnormal cognitive scores were observed in patients with the highest symptom scores (P<.001). Furthermore, a reduction in symptom score following treatment correlated with an improvement in the cognitive score (P<.001). Regression analysis confirmed that the cognitive score had independence from the other scores and did not serve solely as a proxy for symptom improvement.

The researchers conclude that symptom improvement in IBS with hypnotherapy is associated with cognitive change. It also represents an initial step in unravelling the many possible mechanisms by which treatments such as hypnotherapy bring about improvement in IBS.

Citation: Citation: Gonsalkorale WM, Toner BB, Whorwell PJ.Cognitive change in patients undergoing hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome.Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2004 Mar; 56 (3): pages 271-8. 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