Suggestive therapy is probably the oldest of all therapeutic methods and the history of hypnosis dates back as far as recorded history. Currently, hypnosis is widely, and often successfully, used in a variety of paediatric disorders to modify and sometimes eliminate symptoms, behaviour and perceptions. In this talk a) our current understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms of hypnosis will be presented drawing mainly from the research of mechanisms of hypnotic analgesia in adults and b) the current research literature regarding the use of clinical hypnosis in paediatric care will be reviewed.
Neuroimaging studies in adults have shown that hypnotic suggestions can target specific areas in the brain, depending on the content of those suggestions, although frontal areas of the brain appear to be involved across different hypnotic treatments and suggestions. A growing body of evidence in paediatrics supports the effectiveness and safety of the intervention. However, current evidence comes mostly from case reports and uncontrolled studies. Clinical hypnosis is a powerful therapeutic technique for the management of acute and chronic paediatric pain, although the quality of evidence for its efficacy varies, depending upon the type of pain. Hypnosis is an evidence-based intervention for procedure-related pain and appears promising in the management of chronic pain.
In paediatric care in general, clinical hypnosis is a highly
effective tool for helping children in many areas, both physical and emotional.
However, large, well-designed, high-quality RCTs are still needed to develop a
firm research evidence base.
Chair in Paediatric Psychology at the University of Southampton and an Honorary Consultant Paediatric Psychologist, at the Paediatric Chronic Pain Clinic, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, UNITED KINGDOM. Professor Christina Liossi has worked as an academic and clinician in the UK and abroad and has cared for children with various chronic medical conditions including cancer, cystic fibrosis, chronic kidney disease, epidermolysis bullosa, and sickle cell disease. Christina’s randomized controlled clinical trials have been critical to the establishment of hypnosis as an evidenced-based intervention in the care of children with cancer. Christina has contributed to national and international evidence-based guidelines on acute and chronic paediatric pain, pain in epidermolysis bullosa, pain in children with cancer and sedation in children. She is currently Deputy Chair of the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network-Children, Pain and Palliative Care Clinical Studies Group. Christina has written a book on procedure-related cancer pain in children, and is a content author on the NHS e-PAIN project http://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/pain-management/.