bowel syndrome

A Standardized IBS Treatment Protocol Available to
Licensed Health Care Professionals

Although hypnosis treatment has been found highly effective in the treatment of IBS in several research studies to date, the exact length and nature of the treatment varies considerably depending on the clinicians conducting the treatment. It has become clear that some clinicians who are using highly individualized treatment approaches which deviate significantly from the empirically tested methods (for example, use insight-oriented hypnotherapy approach, which is generally neither necessary nor advisable with this condition) sometimes achieve much less progress and lower success rate, and may even cause exacerbation of symptoms. For this reason, it is advisable that clinicians adhere to the kind of methods which have been repeatedly demonstrated to have high success rate in empirical studies, such as Whorwell et al's (1984, 1987) gut-directed hypnotherapy or the Palsson et al's (2000) protocol. In order to faciliate the availability of hypnosis treatment for IBS in the U.S, the fully standardized seven-session treatment protocol tested by Palsson, Whitehead et al. in their studies (achieving over 80% success rate in both studies) is provided without charge to any clinicians who are licensed by their state as health professionals and are properly qualified to conduct hypnosis treatment for medical problems.

Qualified clinicians are encouraged to e-mail us for permission to use the Protocol in their practice. Please note that this protocol is only made available to medical and mental health care professionals,and that they must be currently state-licensed to practice their health profession (for example, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical social workers, or physicians) and have training and experience in clinical hypnosis.

IBS sufferers who are seeking hypnosis treatment for their IBS problem may be able to find a clinician using the protocol in their geographical area by consulting the ever-growing nationwide clinician list. Otherwise, it is often possible for people with IBS to find a licensed health professional in the surrounding community who is trained in hypnosis and are willing to obtain and use the standardized protocol.

The published report on the finding of the first two studies conducted with this protolcol is:

Palsson, O.S., Turner, M.J., Johnson, D.A., Burnett, C.K., & Whitehead, W.E. (2002). Hypnosis treatment of severe irritable bowel syndrome: Investigation of mechanism and effects on symptoms. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 47(11): 2605-2614.

The experience to date with this kind of treatment is also described in these online articles by Dr. Palsson:

The effects of hypnosis on gastrointestinal disorders.

Hypnosis treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

The evidence and potential of hypnosis for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders is described in an editorial in the journal Gastroenterology:

Palsson, O.S. & Whitehead, W.E. (2002). The growing case for hypnotherapy as adjunctive therapy for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Gastroenterology, 123(6):2132-2147. Editorial, available online by clicking here.

For a brief summary of studies on hypnosis treatment for IBS, click here.


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