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Hypnotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy of acute stress disorder

01 Jun

A study from New South Wales finds that when Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with or without hypnosis, is given to trauma survivors in the initial month after a traumatic event, they have fewer symptoms up to 2 years later.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, explored the long-term benefits of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for trauma survivors with acute stress disorder, by assessing patients 2 years after treatment.

Civilian trauma survivors (n=87) were randomly assigned to six sessions of either CBT, CBT combined with hypnosis, or supportive counseling (SC). Sixty-nine (79%) completed treatment, and fifty-three were assessed 2 years post-treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale.

Of the completer sample, 2 CBT patients (10%), 4 CBT/hypnosis patients (22%), and 10 SC patients (63%) met PTSD criteria at the 2-year follow-up. Of the intent-to-treat groups, 12 CBT patients (36%), 14 CBT/hypnosis patients (46%), and 16 SC patients (67%) met PTSD criteria at 2-year follow-up. Patients who received CBT and CBT/hypnosis reported less re-experiencing and less avoidance symptoms than patients who received SC. These findings point to the long-term benefits of early provision of CBT and hypnosis in the initial month after trauma.

Citation: Bryant RA, Moulds ML, Nixon RD, Mastrodomenico J, Felmingham K, Hopwood S. Hypnotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy of acute stress disorder: a 3-year follow-up. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2006 Sep;44 (9):pages 1331-5. Epub 2005 Dec 20. 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