Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dealing With Headaches During Hypnosis

(This blog was originally posted on October 4, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

Occasionally, clients develop headaches while they are in hypnosis. The headache, which can last for two or three hours, is usually an abreaction to the subject being addressed during the hypnotherapy session. This is especially true if the individual doesn’t want to let go of the feeling or behavior.

According to Hypnosis Motivation Institute founder John Kappas, Ph.D., headaches are a subconscious device (body syndrome) to protect our emotions. The majority of headaches experienced during hypnotherapy are tension headaches. However, if the headache is caused by another factor, such as a food allergy, the hypnotherapist should check out whether there is an issue the person cannot or will not face (crying syndrome). For example, migraine headaches—which start out as a bilateral tension headache and migrate to one hemisphere—start out as a bilateral tension headache and then migrate to one hemisphere. Symptoms include excruciating pain, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. 

Before working with a client who is suffering from a headache or other kinds of pain, the hypnotherapist must get a medical referral* to ensure that the person doesn’t have an underlying medical problem that requires treatment. Once the physician verifies that there is no etiological cause for this discomfort, the hypnotherapist can help the client relieve the headache by moving it to another part of the body. At this point, the hypnotherapist can use hypnotic suggestions to dissipate the pain from this area. 

“Train the body to accept [the pain] elsewhere,” Dr. Kappas said. It is also important to increase your tolerance of stress and learn to relax, he added.

*California law allows me to provide hypnotherapy as a complementary or alternative treatment to help you manage/control pain as a way to achieve vocational and avocational self-improvement goals (Business and Professions Code 2908). However, I must receive a referral from a licensed medical doctor or mental-health professional in order to work with you on this issue. I would also need a medical referral if your pain gets worse or your condition changes during the therapy, or if your wakes you from sleep.

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
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