An investigation of the feasibility of Mindfulness-Based Hypnotherapy for stress and anxiety.
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Olendzki, Nicholas A.
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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs have shown considerable promise for reducing anxiety and stress. However, group mindfulness interventions often involve 8 weekly 2 hour sessions and a one-day retreat, and mindfulness interventions have not generally been shown to be superior to alternative treatments. It is theoretically possible that hypnosis can be used to deliver a mindfulness-based intervention, reducing the total time required for sessions while maintaining or enhancing treatment gains. However, the feasibility of a mindfulness-based hypnotherapy intervention is not yet known since no feasibility studies have been conducted. The purpose of the present investigation was to evaluate the feasibility of implementing Mindfulness-Based Hypnotherapy (MBH), a novel intervention for anxiety and stress. Forty-two students with elevated stress levels participated in the study, and were randomly assigned to either MBH or waitlist control conditions. MBH participants each completed an eight-week intervention with each session lasting approximately one hour. Feasibility of the intervention was determined by participant satisfaction, treatment adherence, and a low rate of significant adverse events attributable to the intervention. Treatment effect outcomes were determined by measures of perceived stress, distress, and mindfulness. Hypnotizability was explored as a potential moderator as measured by the Elkins Hypnotizability Scale (EHS). Results indicated significant and large decreases in perceived stress and distress, and significant, large increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, spirituality, and meaning in life. Although further research is needed, the results of this study indicate that Mindfulness-Based Hypnotherapy is a feasible intervention that holds considerable promise as a treatment for stress and psychological distress.