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Presenter: Thomas Rostafinski, PhD
Nonmalignant pain is not necessarily benign pain. The permanence of chronic nonmalignant pain, and the losses that typically
accompany it, bring up existential issues that are different from, but no less poignant than, those of terminally ill patients. Hypnosis
is often recommended, and used, for helping chronic pain patients; the effectiveness with whom has been well documented. This
makes hypnosis a useful vehicle for dealing with the hopelessness and even despair, the anger and even rage, and the fears that
accompany chronic pain. Depression and anxiety are often diagnosed but the usual cognitive model for their treatment does not always fit
well. Both actual losses and dim prospects for the future are often objectively real in such cases, which makes attempts at the modification
of ?catastrophizing? usually feel unempathic to the chronic pain patient. A palliative-care model may be used here, with some modifications.
Techniques developed for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can be reinforced with hypnotic and post-hypnotic suggestions.
Acceptance of pain that cannot be eliminated serves as an antidote to counterproductive attempts to ?make the pain go away.? It can also
help the individual live his/her life to the extent possible rather than be tormented by comparisons with his/her life before the pain, or life as
he/she feels it should have been, or should be. Hypnotic inductions can do a great deal to