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Changing old mumpsimus to new sumpsimus: incorporating hypnosis into everyday practice.

It was in the 1400s in England when a priest saying daily mass used the term 'mumpsimus.' After 40 years of saying mumpsimus, a younger priest confronted him and said "there is no such word as mumpsimus, it is sumpsimus." The old priest said "You keep your new sumpsimus and I'll keep my old mumpsimus." Today, the term mumpsimus has been used to describe when someone holds on to old beliefs despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Many health care professionals still believe that hypnosis has no place in traditional mainstream medicine and that's just mumpsimus!

Hypnosis takes the power of belief and expectation and mixes it with imagination to create an incredibly effective, yet greatly misunderstood and underutilized resource for health and healing. Hypnosis can offer patients in pain intrinsic skills rather than pills; empowering them to tap into their own inner resources to help them help themselves. Hypnosis may not cure the disease, but it can have a profound impact on the illness. Hypnosis is the essence of mind-body medicine, enabling the mind to direct the body how to react and adjusting the messages the body sends to the brain and modifying how they will be interpreted.

Decades of research has shown that surgical patients who use hypnosis as an adjunct to anesthesia, recover faster, experience less pain, nausea and blood loss and have a shorter hospital stay. Mothers who utilize hypnosis during childbirth can increase uterine blood flow, increasing oxygen perfusion through the placenta improving outcomes for the baby. Mothers report an increased sense of calm and feelings of comfort when using hypnosis during labor. Pediatric patients are highly hypnotizable and can be taught self-regulatory strategies and self-hypnotic techniques to help themselves with a variety of emotional, physical and behavioral problems.

Robert Ader in 1975 first coined the term psychoneuroimmunology which refers to the interaction of the psychological processes of the brain with the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Psychological and physical stress has a negative biological impact impairing immune system functioning. Herb Benson who first described the relaxation response, believes that 60 to 90% of health care visits are for stress related symptoms. Hypnosis cannot control the amount of stress in a patient's life, but it can affect how someone deals with the stress.

As pharmacology, technology and surgery have evolved we have forgotten the words of Hippocrates from centuries ago, "The natural force within each of us is the greatest healer of all." Perhaps, the most effective pharmacy of all lies between our ears. In the 20th century, Carl and Stephanie Simonton were pioneers in utilizing self-hypnosis and guided imagery to mobilize intrinsic healing and immunologic stimulation directed against malignancy in cancer patients. In addition to stimulating immune function and increasing the effects of chemotherapy, hypnosis has also been used successfully to relieve chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting, decrease radiation burns, improve comfort, decrease suffering and depression and when necessary help the patient prepare for death.

Patients in hypnosis are typically in a deeply relaxed state in which their mind is highly focused and ready to accept suggestions to help them accomplish their goal. In a patient who is motivated to take control over their behavior, hypnosis can be very useful in helping them quit smoking, decrease hair pulling, thumb sucking, bed wetting and other habits including tic disorders. Anxiety disorders, fears and phobias are very amenable to hypnotic treatment. Hypnosis can be used successfully to help a patient overcome a needle phobia or fear of entering a MRI machine. Hypnosis is now considered the treatment of choice for patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

In the 1990s the National Institute of Health declared that hypnosis was neither complementary nor alternative health care, but rather was part of mainstream medicine. Unfortunately, most health care professionals have not been trained in these effective techniques. Perhaps you should consider adding a new dimension to your clinical work. Learn how to incorporate hypnosis into your practice to help empower your patients/clients to help them help themselves with anxiety, fears, phobias, habit disorders or manage acute, chronic or procedural pain. A 20 hour Basic Hypnosis workshop, that is approved by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, will be offered in Burlington, Vermont beginning on Friday November 13, 2009 and continuing through Saturday and Sunday November 14 & 15. This workshop is open to health and mental health care professionals with a masters or doctoral degree who are licensed to practice independently by their respective State Board of Registration or Professional Licensure. This includes physicians, dentists, counselors, social workers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives, and anesthetists. Nurses and other health care professionals with a bachelors who are licensed and employed by a health care institution or health care delivery setting under the supervision of someone in the first category are welcome to attend. Students in a masters or doctoral program in any of those professions, who have not yet completed the above requirements, are also invited to register for this workshop.

This 20 hour workshop will provide a framework for understanding and utilizing hypnosis in clinical practice. Topic areas in health care which will be covered include anxiety management, ego strengthening, pediatric uses, acute, chronic and procedural pain, habit disorders, self-hypnosis and self-regulation.

This is an intensive workshop which is designed to prepare clinicians to immediately begin to incorporate hypnosis into their practice. Participants should be prepared to personally experience hypnotic trance phenomenon and extensively practice trance induction in supervised small groups. Learning hypnosis requires mastery of both theoretical material and practical skills. This workshop includes 12.5 hours of lecture and demonstration and 7.5 hours of practicing hypnotic skills in small groups closely supervised by senior faculty.

Nurses have always practiced holistically, concerned about the whole person, not just the disease entity. It is what we do, what we have always done and what we do better than anyone. Who better to learn hypnotic skills, language and techniques than nurses. Consider adding a new tool to your armamentarium. This Basic Hypnosis workshop has been approved for 20.5 CEUs by the Vermont State Nurses Association. For more information, contact Dr. Linda Thomson, PhD, APRN at or Maureen Turner, MED, RNC,LCMHC, LCSW at mturner@motivationhypnosis. com or go to and click on Hypnovation. Enrollment is limited.

Dr. Linda Thomson, PhD, MSN, APRN, ABMH
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Author:Thomson, Linda
Publication:Vermont Nurse Connection
Date:Nov 1, 2009
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