Mind-Body Medicine


Development of a Nurse-Led Hypnosis Service at a Comprehensive Cancer Center : A Report from the SCEH Meeting in Berkeley

Kate Kravits, Senior Research Specialist, City of Hope
Kate Kravits, Senior Research Specialist, City of Hope


School of Mind-Body Medicine Chair Donald Moss attended the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis meeting in Berkeley in October, where he taught a competency course in breath training as an adjunct to hypnosis and chaired a symposium on pediatric applications of hypnosis and biofeedback.  Dr. Moss is reporting in on relevant scientific programs at SCEH.

Kate Kravits, MA, RN, LPC, at the City of Hope in Duarte, California, provided a report on the development of a nurse-led service providing hypnosis for cancer patients on an inpatient and outpatient basis.  This is an excellent example of progress in integrating mind-body services into the mainstream of healthcare.  This program was initially inspired by Guy Montgomery’s research showing that hypnosis can not only moderate the symptoms and suffering of breast cancer patients, but also save money for the institutions serving these patients.   The City of Hope team contacted Dr. Montgomery, who agreed to serve as a consultant for the program.  Establishing their service, the team encountered many barriers, notably prejudices against hypnosis as a medical intervention.

The City of Hope team began with serving ambulatory cancer patients first, and then added inpatients with cancer. They created a dialogue within the medical organization and the medical specialties, to elicit cooperation and support.  The program is now established as a consultant service, requiring physician referral.   This program is an independent nursing practice, utilizing regular supervision of the hypnosis services.

The program has an average of 3-5 patients referred each month.  54% of patients are seen in clinic, the remainder in the hospital.  The top referring group is psychiatrists, next pain specialists, then hematology, medical oncology, and other groups.   27 patients have been referred to date. Four have refused hypnosis services – fearful that hypnosis is not safe.

Clinical outcomes: The majority of those patients with good follow up data have evidenced an immediate and a sustained response to hypnosis treatment.  Those patients who did best, actually had a higher baseline "Karnofsky Performance Status score," indicating a higher functional status at baseline.

Posted at 03:19 AM in

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