Examining the feasibility of a telehealth hypnosis intervention for stress reduction.


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Hypnosis interventions have shown promise in reducing chronic psychological stress. However, the few studies that have examined hypnosis as a treatment for stress have shown consistent problems, particularly related to feasibility of delivering the hypnosis intervention. Supported by evidence of positive outcomes from virtually delivered psychological treatments, it was hypothesized that a hypnosis intervention delivered via telehealth may overcome problems demonstrated in previous studies. No studies to date have examined the feasibility of live delivery of a hypnosis intervention via telehealth to treat chronic psychological stress in a population especially vulnerable to stress. The primary aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a telehealth hypnosis intervention for chronic psychological stress. A secondary aim was to examine possible mechanisms through which a hypnosis intervention may reduce psychological stress. The third aim was to determine the feasibility of data collection via telehealth and identify effects of a hypnosis intervention on psychological symptoms. Fifteen middle-aged adults (45 to 65 years old) with elevated psychological stress levels were enrolled in the single-arm study. Participants engaged in five sessions of a live telehealth hypnosis intervention and received five corresponding hypnosis audio recordings for independent self-hypnosis practice. The feasibility and acceptability of the telehealth hypnosis intervention was supported by results showing a high rate of participant retention, high rate of adherence to self-hypnosis practice, high satisfaction ratings, and positive qualitative feedback. Results of the second aim contribute to the growing body of evidence clarifying the mechanisms through which hypnosis may reduce stress. Mixed findings were observed related to the third aim, but participants reported significant reductions in psychological stress and anxiety at posttreatment and gains were maintained at follow-up. Despite limitations of the present feasibility study, quantitative and qualitative findings support the feasibility and acceptability of delivering a hypnosis intervention via telehealth to reduce chronic psychological stress in a middle-aged population.