Chapter 17. Hypnosis in Chronic Pain Management

  1. Graham D. Burrows2,
  2. Robb O. Stanley2 and
  3. Peter B. Bloom3
  1. Frederick J. Evans

Published Online: 28 DEC 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0470846402.ch17

International Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis

International Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis

How to Cite

Evans, F. J. (2001) Hypnosis in Chronic Pain Management, in International Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis (eds G. D. Burrows, R. O. Stanley and P. B. Bloom), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846402.ch17

Editor Information

  1. 2

    The University of Melbourne, Australia

  2. 3

    The University of Pennsylvania, USA

Author Information

  1. Pathfinders, Consultants in Human Behavior, Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 DEC 2001
  2. Published Print: 9 AUG 2001

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471970095

Online ISBN: 9780470846407



  • hypnosis;
  • pain;
  • chronic pain;
  • placebo;
  • dissociation;
  • self-control;
  • relaxation;
  • imagery;
  • ideomotor action;
  • outcome studies


Hypnosis has been shown to be clinically effective and cost efficient in treating chronic pain. Chronic pain is accompanied by emotional and psychological distress involving masked depression, trauma, anger, suffering, and daily dysfunction. The placebo components of the hypnotic context, fueled by the doctor-patient relationship, can reduce pain in even hypnotically unresponsive patients. The specific effects of hypnotic interventions in highly hypnotizable patients can often produce dramatic pain relief. The focus of hypnotic interventions for chronic pain is on the mind-body interaction, learning of cognitive mastery experiences and the hypnotic facilitation of self-control. Several hypnotic strategies, including relaxation, imagery, ideomotor action, dissociation, brief self control techniques, are useful in reducing chronic pain levels in the suffering patient.