Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common GI disorder. Up to 20% of the population in London suffer from this condition. Clients who come for hypnotherapy often complain that they have a number of symptoms--diarrhoea, constipation, feelings of being bloated, stomach pain and frequency. IBS can be classified as follows:
IBS-A=Alternating constipation and diarrhoea
IBS-O=Other abdominal symptoms
A useful approach is gut-directed hypnotherapy--that is to say the Manchester approach (Whorwell, Prior and Faragher, 1984). After induction and deepening, guided imagery is used together with the river metaphor to help the client to take control of his or her feelings; the process is combined with the direct application of hand warmth on the stomach. Some hypnotherapists also use the tree metaphor--this is a particularly powerful technique because the tree represents strength and solidity--and content free therapy. Again, this help clients to gain control. In addition, self hypnosis is often taught to clients.
Most patients have shown a remarkable improvement and this has had a knock on effect on their lives. Hypnotherapy reduces tension and anxiety; it also reduces depression, and thus has a good effect on IBS symptoms.
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