My review of empirical and case studies examines the psychological and physiological benefits of hypnosis as it is used in the treatment of cancer patients. Special emphasis is placed on levels of consciousness and the potential for hypnosis to influence involuntary action, such as the perception of pain and enhancement of the immune system. I propose that hypnosis be incorporated as a standard adjunctive therapy to the current practice of chemo- and radiotherapy. Hypnosis has been demonstrated to improve physical and psychological well being in cancer patients undergoing such unpleasant treatments.
This presentation discusses the nature of hypnosis, what it is and is not, and it’s potential to elicit physiological changes. The specific topics of pain relief, treatment of side effects, and psychological distress are considered; and means of immune function enhancement are discussed. Some mechanisms of the interaction between hypnosis and tumor reduction are investigated; and the issues of hypnotizability and suggestibility vs. distraction are addressed.
Nicholas Berger, ’01 Denver, CO
Major: Psychology and Philosophy
Sponsor: Alice Ganzel