(This blog was originally posted on September 7, 2016)
John Kappas, Ph.D., conceded that treating a client who has schizophrenia is a touchy legal issue in that schizophrenia is a medical and psychological illness which is out of scope for hypnotherapy. “You can spend all your time trying to cure the condition and it won’t work,” the founder of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute told his hypnotherapy students. Indeed, many physicians accept that schizophrenia is based on a neurochemical imbalance. Medication can help control the symptoms but psychotherapy won’t “cure” the person, he said.
The California Business and Professions Code 2908* allows hypnotherapists to provide complementary and alternative health care to these patients if they have a referral from a licensed medical or mental-health professional. However, people who have schizophrenia generally don’t come in for help in the first place, Dr. Kappas said. However, those individuals who do allow themselves to be hypnotized to deal with other issues in their lives may show good results in terms of behavioral correction, he said.
The hypnotherapist found that many individuals who have schizophrenia also had low blood-sugar levels, which can induce hyper-suggestibility and paranoia. Dr. Kappas said that explaining the relationship between low glucose levels and suggestibility, and teaching the client how to control his or her blood-sugar level through diet, could reduce panic and sensory sensations caused by fear.
If the client has paranoid schizophrenia and reports hearing voices, it may be possible to use hypnosis to teach the individual to control some of these thoughts, he said. “The behavior will get rid of the voices for a long period of time, then they’ll come back and stay there.” Ultimately, hypnosis and hypnotherapy cannot be employed as a cure of schizophrenia and the client must receive medical treatment.
*Business and Professions Code 2908: California law allows access by California residents to complementary and alternative health care practitioners who are not providing services that require medical training and credentials. The purpose of a program of hypnotherapy is for vocational and avocational self-improvement (Business and Professions Code 2908) and as alternative or complimentary treatment to healing arts services licensed by the state. A hypnotherapist is not a licensed physician or psychologist, and hypnotherapy services are not licensed by the state of California. Services are non-diagnostic and do not include the practice of medicine, neither should they be considered as a substitute for licensed medical or psychological services or procedures.
Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.