John Teleska, M.Ed., NBCCH
Integrative Medicine Department, Clifton Springs Hospital &
Private Practice, Pittsford, NY (near Rochester)
Hypnosis for Pain Relief
About John Teleska's practice
About John Teleska
Interview w/ Teleska
Teleska's hypno blog
Endorsements by colleagues
What is hypnosis?
What's it good for?
What will I experience?
How many sessions?
About hypnotic ability
...relief from anxiety
fears, and phobias
...birth & comfort
...recovering from trauma
(including sexual abuse)
...people with cancer
Evidence-based medical uses of hypnosis
Articles by John Teleska
Engaging hypnotic ability
Uses of hypnosis
Relief from migraines
Hypnosis and birth
About Milton Erickson
John Teleska's Music Site
“The pain didn’t decrease, it just felt better. It wasn’t on top of me. I’ve been more focused. I’m getting a sense of what to do with self-hypnosis.”
—B., learning to use self-hypnosis for pain relief
Short-term -vs- long-term (chronic) pain
I know from studies (see references, below) and experience that hypnotherapy is useful support for people learning to gain relief from recurrent pain and pain associated with birth, migraine headache, and post surgical recovery.
Unfortunately, it is also my experience that hypnotherapy is not useful in for an overwhelming majority of people with long-standing chronic pain, excruitiating chronic pain, or for people using opioids for chronic pain relief. Accordingly, I no longer accept such cases.
Learning self-hypnosis as a tool
Part of the work with clients seeking relief from pain is teaching them self hypnosis. In the course of their learning, I make a number of suggestions to their unconscious for how they might accomplish this. How each person actually goes about it is as surprising to me as it is satisfying to them.
The comments above and that follow are from clients who have learned to use their own version of self-hypnosis to regulate their pain and be more comfortable.
Recurrent pain relief
“Whenever the leg pain comes, I close my eyes, and go to a warm beach and stand in the waves up to my ankles. The pain drains away and then I feel better.”
—S., using self-hypnosis and her vivid imagination for relief of recurrent leg pain
“I don't know how to explain this... the pain is just as intense but it's 20 feet behind me... but now I have to consciously think about it to feel it.”
—R., using self-hypnosis to manage back pain
“When the pain starts up, I go to someplace else in my past when I really felt good, and my body remembers how to feel good. That’s it. Then I feel good.”
—J., using self-hypnosis to let his body remember how to feel good
Headache and migraine pain relief (more)
“First I make my lips numb like they feel at the dentist’s; then I touch them with my fingers and rub it on my forehead to make the headache pain go away.”
—E., describing her version of self-hypnosis for relief from headache
“I no longer worry about when the next headache will come. And if I start to get one, just relaxing usually gets rid of it; if not, I take medication, which is more effective than it was before these sessions."
—L., using self-hypnosis to relax and get rid of a migraine headache
Sometimes a shift happens during the session
...and, without further conscious effort on the client’s part, their subsequent experience is more comfortable. That was the case for these next two clients.
“It worked! I really thought the whole thing would be pretty horrible. And you said, “Would it be okay if you woke up in the recovery room and everything is fine?” and I took that right in. I was comfortable the night before, going to the hospital, going into surgery, waking up, just being there, coming home… and I haven’t had much pain at all.”
—J., after we worked together two sessions before her surgery
Birth comfort (more)
“When contractions came I just went with them. I had the sense that my body was talking to me and I was listening.”
—K., after we worked several sessions on behalf of a comfortable, healthy birth
“One of the top three easiest and shortest births I’ve experienced.”
——Sherry Sugrue Smith, doula & birth counselor referring to K., above
Bibliography: Hypnosis for pain relief
Copyright © 2016 by John Teleska. All rights reserved. Updated 10/24/16.