Clinical Hypnosis Treatment Has Proven Success for IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract often listed among the top ten presenting problems in primary care settings. Estimates are that 10-15% of adults in the United States suffer from IBS. A similar prevalence is seen in many other countries. Those suffering from IBS usually experience recurrent abdominal pain and changes in their bowel functioning such as diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both. The symptoms typically last for years once they come on, but are often intermittent. Women represent over 70% of IBS sufferers.

Why Clinical Hypnosis to Treat IBS?

While Clinical or Medical Hypnosis as it is sometimes called is not the only treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, many sufferers with chronic and severe IBS symptoms are finding a hypnosis protocol developed by Dr. Olafur Palsson, a clinical psychologist with the University of North Carolina School of Medicine to be an appealing option to be particularly appealing. It offers some significant advantages:

– It is one of the most successful treatment approaches for chronic IBS. The response rate to
this treatment is 80% and better in most published studies to date.

– The treatment often helps individuals who have failed to get improvements with other
methods (see for example: Whorwell et al., 1984, 1987; Palsson et al., 1997, 2000).

– It is a uniquely comfortable form of treatment; relaxing, easy and generally enjoyable.

– It utilizes the healing power of the person’s own mind, and is generally completely without
negative side effects.

– Along with the improvement in IBS symptoms, sometimes the treatment results in
improvement in other symptoms or problems such as migraine, anxiety or tension

– The beneficial effects of the treatment last long after the end of the course of treatment.
According to research, individuals who improve from hypnosis treatment for IBS can
generally look forward to years of reduced bowel symptoms.

HOW DOES It WORK? Is It for You?

Dr. Palsson’s protocol involves 15 private sessions with your therapist guide. You go through seven different healing narratives. At the end of each session you take home a flash drive with the narrative so you can listen to the induction each day at home between sessions.

You sit in a comfortable chair or sofa in a softly lit office and listen to your therapist with your eyes closed. As you listen you find your body relaxing more and more. Guided by the calm and confident voice, you allow your mind to let go and turn inward. You drowsily notice a mildly curious floating sensation in your body, as if you are not really sitting in the chair anymore, but rather floating – in the air, or in water. The voice talking to you gradually becomes more distant, and you even find yourself forgetting that it is there… but somehow the soothing voice continues to affect you, gently and almost automatically. As you relax even further, your awareness of where you are, why you are there, and who is speaking to you, recedes into the back of your mind. You just content yourself with effortlessly allowing the voice to act on you, and with enjoying this state of profound relaxation and deep calm… This is a typical experience.

As Dr. Palsson explains, hypnosis is one of the most intriguing phenomena in our mental functioning. It is full of seeming paradoxes: You are definitely not sleep, and yet you are not fully in a waking state either. It depends on attention and concentration and still is most often characterized by a process of relaxing and letting go. It is most easily achieved with a skilled trained professional using specific healing verbal cues and techniques, and yet the result is exclusively the creation of your own mental abilities. This method has been extensively investigated in a scientific manner over a period of sixty years and there is agreement among researchers and practitioners as to what typically occurs when a person experiences a hypnotic state and how being in that state can be used to help people with a variety of physical and psychological problems.


More than anything, else clinical hypnosis involves changes in a person’s attention and concentration. People typically experience both mental tranquility and physical relaxation under hypnosis. Relaxation is not a necessary condition for hypnosis, however; one can be both mentally and physically tense, and still be in a state of deep hypnosis. This and other changes that accompany the hypnotic state are what can make hypnosis a remarkable tool for mental and physical healing and make the various specialized hypnotic techniques possible. For example, hypnotic analgesia, the blocking of pain with the aid of hypnosis, depends on the mind´s ability to alter body perception in response to suggestion under hypnosis. Finally, healing posthypnotic suggestions are given while one in this profound state that affect the mind and body in positive ways after each session.


Clients I have guided through this program have had remarkably positive results so if you are interested in how this treatment for IBS could help you, please contact me. I have had in-depth training in clinical hypnosis, including having trained personally with psychiatrist Dr. Milton Erickson, one of the world’s most pre-eminent medical hypnotists.

I will be glad to talk with you and answer any questions you have. You’ll find answers to some of the most common questions people ask along with some background on the history of clinical hypnosis on my site at About Clinical Hypnosis. If you live out of the area I can assist you in locating a therapist near you. You can also find a list of some of these professionals and other helpful information on Dr. Palsson’s website, developed by Olafur S. Palsson, Psy.D. To assure accuracy this material has been excerpted with only minor modifications from Dr. Palsson’s website.