Clinical efficacy of a brief hypnotic intervention for hyperarousal symptoms in sexual trauma.
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Auringer, Melissa L.
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Women who have experienced sexual trauma frequently report anxiety symptoms that left untreated can develop into Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD can be particularly troublesome within treatment as they can impede therapeutic intervention efforts. An adjunct intervention that provides a quick and effective relief of these symptoms would be facilitative of ongoing trauma interventions. Clinical hypnosis has been found to be successful as an efficient and effective means of relieving patient anxiety in the medical field, but has been largely unexplored in this context within psychotherapy. The current study investigated the feasibility of a brief hypnotic intervention for treating hyperarousal symptomology in women (age 18 and older) who have experienced sexual traumatization at some point in their lives. The results of this standard care controlled study with women reporting sexual trauma (N = 40) indicated that this intervention was not only feasible but shows promise as an efficacious treatment of hyperarousal symptoms. In using a brief hypnotic recording over the period of seven to ten days, subjects reported statistically significant decreases in difficulty concentrating and overall hyperarousal symptoms. They also reported significant decreases in negative mood and overall anxiety. The feasibility of this intervention and the notable improvement in anxiety symptomology points to promise in using clinical hypnosis as part of therapeutic intervention for women with a sexual trauma history.