I have just had the opportunity to interview Brian David, who is a qualified hypnotherapist with a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, awarded by The Essex Institute of Clinical Hypnosis in England.
As I am constantly researching Irritable Bowel Syndrome and ways to keep those symptoms at bay, I have recently learnt that hypnotherapy can be one of those complementary methods that can help IBS sufferers and Brian was very helpful in explaining the concept further and answer to some of my questions.
What is hypnotherapy?
Put simply, hypnotherapy is a skill which utilises the tool of hypnosis for the administration of many and various forms of psychotherapy. Or, put even more simply, hypnotherapy is a tool which utilises hypnosis to help the mind, and therefore the body, feel well. When we use the term ‘well’, we mean that the mind feels better balanced and is either more able to handle everyday living, as the problem you were experiencing has now gone away, or that the mind is now more focussed, allowing you to achieve some goal that you thought was hitherto unlikely or impossible.
How can hypnotherapy help people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Hypnotherapy can help people suffering from IBS to manage their symptoms to ease their suffering. In some cases, it’s possible to exert an influence over the muscles and nerves that are not functioning correctly in the bowel – the very things that cause discomfort in the abdomen. However, hypnotherapy greatest contribution is probably in relieving the stress and anxiety that many believe cause IBS in the first place, and which occur once IBS sets in. In addition, hypnotherapy can also be used to control pain and enable a patient to more readily accept any dietary changes that his or her doctor recommends. Finally, a hypnotherapist should be able to teach the sufferer self-hypnosis and other relaxation techniques which he or she can use whenever the need arises.
Does hypnotherapy work for all IBS sufferers or only particular individuals?
To be perfectly honest, the answer here would have to be ‘no’, but that is no different to any treatment prescribed by a medical doctor, or any medicinal drugs that may be taken to relieve or cure a particular set of symptoms. No treatment is 100% successful with 100% of people 100% of the time. However, hypnotherapy does have a very impressive track record in doing what it claims to do. When people come to see us hypnotherapists, they are usually at the end of their tether, having tried everything else, so they are usually, but not always (there are always people who deliberately sabotage their own treatment, but that’s another story) very compliant and open to whatever we have to offer. That state of mind makes it easier to work on their belief system and subconscious for a positive result.
How many sessions of hypnotherapy are recommended to cure IBS sufferers?
Cure is rather a strong word in this instance, and I would prefer to talk about significant relief and benefit. It very much depends on the individual and the symptoms they present. If one is going to go down the road of suggestion therapy, then between two and four sessions should be sufficient for most people. On the other hand, if hypnoanalysis is called for, we could be looking at anything up to six or eight sessions. Those figures are just averages, as it isn’t possible to be hard and fast without talking to the client in question.
What is the success rate on improving IBS with hypnotherapy?
It’s not possible to put a figure on it, but I would say that the success rate is as good for relieving the symptoms of IBS as any other treatment. I can’t say that everyone will feel the same degree of relief (refer to my answer to the third question), but provided a person goes into hypnosis, they should obtain some benefit. We have to remember that we are dealing with people and not machines, and everyone is different.
What can you say to people that are sceptical regarding hypnotherapy as a way to improve IBS symptoms?
If someone is adamantly negative and has a totally closed mind, there is really nothing I can do, as every fact or point I put forward will be countered with something the client erroneously believes is true, and an argument or discussion will not improve their IBS symptoms. They have to trust me and allow me to guide them to wellness.
I would like to thank Brian for having answered my questions regarding hypnotherapy, as possible help for IBS sufferers. As you know, I am also suffering from IBS and although I have managed to improve my symptoms with a low FODMAPs diet, a lot of other sufferers are not as fortunate as I am. I hope that by investigating other ways to cure or even just to reduce their IBS symptoms, they may also get the relief and help they deserve.
I am the kind of person who will seek natural, alternative or complementary medicine before taking prescription medication and I am a believer in hypnotherapy as I have successfully used the skills of a hypnotherapist in the past, to eliminate my frequent panic attacks.
Brian David currently works as a hypnotherapist in Portugal and can be contacted through his website www.hypnotherapyinportugal.com. Thank you Brian for your expertise and time.