|THE USE OF HYPNOSIS FOR PAIN CONTROL AND HEALING
PAUL G. DURBIN, Ph.D.
DIRECTOR OF PASTORAL CARE AND CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPY
PENDLETON MEMORIAL METHODIST HOSPITAL
5620 READ BLVD NEW ORLEANS, LA 70127
There are two general classifications of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain is associated with¤the sudden outset of pain such as a broken arm, a cut finger, a burn on the hand and is generally more intense than chronic pain. Chronic pain is usually of an ongoing nature such as back pain, arthritis, and intensity may vary. The experience of pain is a combination of the type of pain, tension, fear, and anxiety. Often tension, fear and anxiety can intensify the experience of pain. Pain causes tension and tightening up¤of he affected area of the body. Our normal response to pain is to resist the pain by tightening up even more and becoming more tense. This increases the severity of the pain experience.
By relaxation of the body there is a natural reduction of pain. By proper suggestion in the hypnotic state, the experience of pain can be reduced or eliminated for periods of time. I teach the client self hypnosis and imagery so that the client can use it when needed. To explain my use of hypnosis for pain management and to enhance healing, I would like to share with you two case histories.
My mother was in a hospital in Shreveport, La. for the removal of a cancerous growth on her jaw. She had surgery and had returned to her room. I stayed with her from about three in the afternoon until about ten the next morning. The nurses were very responsive to my mother's calls for the longest that she had to wait for a nurse to come was about three minutes. I consider that excellent response time. The first thing that each nurse and her doctor said when they came into the room for whatever reason was, "Mrs. Durbin are you hurting?" Until about nine that night my mother had not needed anything for pain and I wondered, "Would she have needed any pain medication at nine, had the question been different." What if the nurses and doctor had said something like, "Mrs. Durbin, are you comfortable?" "Mrs. Durbin, how are you feeling?" Instead the suggestion that they were reinforcing with each visit was that my mother should be experiencing pain.
During that same hospital stay, the IV in my mother's left hand needed changing to the right hand. The nurse who came to make the change said, "Mrs. Durbin I wish I had an anesthetic to give you so that this would not be so painful." I said, "Oh you can give her an anesthetic." She responded, "No, no, I would get in trouble for I do not have a doctor's order for an anesthetic." I replied, "Just watch and see." I took my mother's hand and said, "Mother Look at me while the nurse works on your other hand. In a moment, the nurse will apply an antiseptic swab to your other hand. You feel the cold antiseptic as it is applied. The cold antiseptic causes a numbing effect so that you feel only pressure." As I talked to my mother, the nurse completed her mission of inserting the IV. When I stopped talking, my mother turned her head toward the nurse and said, "When are you¤going to begin?" The nurse looked surprised and said, "Mrs. Durbin, I have already put the IV in¤your hand and I am now putting the tape on to hold it in place." I said, "I told you that you could administer an anesthetic without a doctor's prescription." No formal hypnotic induction was used, but my mother was able to go through what could have been a painful experience with feeling only pressure.(In the words of Judy Hamilton)
In early April 1997, I was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in the left kidney. This took me totally by surprise as I had gone to the doctor for a totally different reason. During testing for the other problem, this tumor showed up. The doctor said that the only treatment for this was removal of the kidney. Surgery was scheduled for two weeks away. I was very distraught and despondent at this point as it came on so suddenly. I knew I needed a boost. Being a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelors in Hypnotherapy, I know that the mind is a powerful tool. I tried self hypnosis, but wasn't very successful. At this time, I also called upon Chaplain Paul Durbin. He had previously worked with me to successfully stop smoking. I trust him implicitly. I got a referral from my doctor, who was a little apprehensive and said he had never given a referral for hypnosis before. Paul and I scheduled a session and he taped the session for me. He included in the suggestions for Pre-Op and suggestions for healing. He told me to listen to the tape for the week that I had before the surgery was to take place and then for a time afterward for healing.
I had surgery Thursday morning. By that evening I was awake and alert. The next morning I was sitting in a chair and by Friday afternoon I was walking the hall of the hospital. The surgeon was amazed at the progress, mobility and recuperation that was taking place. He even stopped Paul in the parking lot of the hospital and told him how amazed he was. The nurses said how great I was doing and one other doctor that stopped in said she thought I was a pre-op patient instead of a post-op patient until she saw the bandages. The wound stayed dry and clean with no infection and no blood was administered to me during or after surgery. The pain medication that was allowed me was used minimally for a couple of days and it was discontinued. I was released from the hospital on the following Tuesday, 5 days later which was sooner than expected and I continued to heal beautifully each day with little discomfort. The Pathologist report revealed that all the cancer was contained within the kidney and no follow up treatment was needed. I had a lot of people praying for me and I know God responded with the help of the doctor, Chaplain Paul G. Durbin, other friends and myself. I know hypnosis as an adjunct to medical help is an invaluable "tool" in the process of surgery and healing and many other areas of life. I know the power of suggestion has helped me trough this so successfully. My husband of course, I thank, for standing by me, and for the love, help and support he has given me throughout this period.
P.S. Judy wrote a letter to Mr. Fred Young, Jr. President and CEO of Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital and my immediate supervisor contain much of the information written above. She concluded the letter, "I know that GOD and the Surgeon played a most important role in all of this. But, I also know that the mind is a powerful tool. I feel that you have an invaluable person in Chaplain Paul Durbin on your staff. I feel that the hypnosis sessions had a lot to do with the ease with which I pulled through all this. I just wanted to let you know that I think that Paul Durbin is an asset to your hospital as Chaplain and Hypnotherapist.
Mr Young's answer, "Thank you for your letter of May 2, 1997, I am glad to hear that you¤are progressing well. I too continue to be impressed with the wonderful work that Chaplain Durbin does in the area of hypnosis. Our medical community continues to partner with him on many occasions for these type of services and we continue to experience the things that you described in your letter. Thank you again for taking the time to write, and for making Methodist your hospital. Sincerely, Fred Young, President. The suggestions I used with Judy before surgery were:
Relaxation, imagery and hypnosis tends to decrease fear and bring about an attitudal change. Hypnosis can effect physical changes, enhancing the person's own immune system, decreasing tension and stress, and provides the patient with hopeful expectation. These methods along with traditional medical treatment and faith in the God who cares can help in healing. Even for those illnesses and injuries which cannot be healed, these methods bring about an improved quality of life.