Hypnosis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
by Maurice Kouguell, Ph.D., BCETS
This article is in response to one of our readers, a hypnotherapist, from Australia who is requesting help in finding scripts for helping sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating fatigue described as exhaustion, poor stamina (if any) and flu-like symptoms. The symptoms include extreme fatigue, general pain, mental fogginess and at times gastro-intestinal problems. It is also referred to as chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). In the past the syndrome has been known as chronic Epstein-Barr virus(CEBV).
The treatment of the syndrome is primarily in the province of the medical field and must remain in the good hands of an internist or endocrinologist. However, hypnosis or other forms of altered states such as meditation or guided imagery are a welcome addition to the welfare of the patient.
Perhaps one of the better sources for the understanding of CFS is a book by William Collinge, Ph.D. Recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is published by Putnam/Perigee in the US and by Souvenir Press in the UK and Commonwealth. This is an excellent source of insight and is recommended to patients as well as therapists.
ALTERED STATES AND HEALING
In cooperation and consultation with the physician, patients can benefit from one or all the approaches discussed below:
Patients with CFS may also have one or more of the following issues: depression, self-directed anger, poor self-esteem, loss of self-confidence, stress. All these can be approached by using standard protocols or inductions. Ego-strengthening and stress reduction and confidence building can all be approached with standard scripts.
(Although I appreciate that some hypnotists like to use other people’s scripts
or inductions, I choose to approach my clients with the idea that each person is unique and the reaction to each symptom is unique.)
LISTEN TO THE PATIENT
Listen to the patient’s verbal and non-verbal communication. The patient will reveal consciously what needs to be done in order to alleviate his discomfort and proceed towards health. Always access the patient’s unconscious, for there lies the key to the problem. If you are a psychologist you can of course use projective techniques.
Before hypnosis or guided imagery is initiated, 3 questions need to be considered:
1.Is hypnosis safe in this instance?
2.Is it indicated?
3.What do we know about the unconscious of our client?
One technique which can offer answers to the above is based on the house-tree-person test, the DAPTH.
Start by making the client comfortable and then you can use all or part or any
adaptation you wish from the following induction. Some modifications are left to your good judgment in order to incorporate the client’s symptoms.
“…Suspend your judgment…be accepting… I would like for you to take as much time as you need and…find your own place, your own space…make yourself comfortable and…before you enter an altered state of awareness, it is fine if you decide to move to make yourself more and more comfortable and only you know when you reach that state…that state of comfort which is…. necessary… for you…to start your journey toward achieving peace, relaxation, quietness.
Let your mind go wherever it wants to go…. Let your feelings go wherever they want to go, let your sensations go wherever they want to go….and….I would like for you to accept yourself… whatever your mind, body, spirit are doing. Should you be standing on top of the mountain, you may choose to imagine a soft gentle glow of a rainbow. And… for a moment…you feel that the rainbow contains all the answers you need…all the secrets of life… Giving yourself permission to take another deep comfortable breath, you find yourself drifting deeper and deeper… into a profound hypnotic sleep. And…you feel drawn towards the rainbow. In just a moment or so you feel you will finally fulfill your wishes of touching the rainbow, of accessing it, of enveloping yourself with its colors… and something very special will happen to you as I guide you through this wonderful healing journey…And now imagining, picturing yourself so light…so full of energy as you enter the rainbow…The first color you enter is the red band…the beautiful red band…feel it…experience it…feel it all around you enveloping you…feel the redness against you…breathe in the redness and begin to notice how good you are beginning to feel….REDNESS IS STRENGTH…. PHYSICAL STRENGTH… EMOTIONAL STRENGTH…MENTAL STRENGTH…the strength you call upon to replenish your strength, to achieve your goals of “______”(To hypnotist: fill in the blank as per the needs of the individual patient)….and now…from now on, anytime you need to replenish your strength all you need to do… is close your eyes and surround yourself, visualize yourself surrounded, enveloped by the color red of the rainbow…and…now, allowing yourself to go into a deeper level of mental relaxation, see yourself now…leaving the red band and entering the orange one….feel the color against your skin…as you breathe in…smell it, fill your lungs with it see it entering your blood stream….
ORANGE REPRESENTS HEALING…..Physical healing, mental healing and emotional healing….as a matter of fact, the healing process is taking place within you right now…..see and feel the orange molecules as millions of microscopic “Scrub Brushes” cleaning you of any impurities… stress… tension….anxiety… worry…. and discomfort…orange can heal you from any assaults that you may encounter in your life’s experience…by simply closing your eyes and breathing deeply into the color orange…Take one final breath of the color orange and allow yourself to float into the yellow band…as you enter the yellow band feel how warm the yellow is….feel how energetic you feel…feel this energy circulating through your body…the yellow represents…POWER….sense the power …and now combine the power of the yellow with the strength of the red and the healing of the orange…simply let it fill you…let it rejuvenate you…notice how much better you are beginning to feel… now… whenever you feel “run-down”…or you need your “battery” recharged… just close your eyes and breathe yourself into the power of the yellow…blending in the strength of the red…and the healing of the orange…and your needs will be met.
…Begin to let yourself drift from the yellow into the green band…as you enter the green band let yourself drift deeper and deeper relaxed…now feel the green on your skin…it feels cool and refreshing…breathe in the green…feel the coolness in your body…green represents SELF-CONTROL…any time you find your temper and anger heating up…in your personal life…or in your work life…you need only to close your eyes and breathe yourself into the green…and you will feel your anger and temper cool with every breath you take.
…Take one final breath of the cooling color green…and let yourself float into the blue band…as you enter the blue you feel safe and secure…the blue represents PROTECTION…we are all exposed to times of trial…times of trouble…times of sadness…and times of stress…and sometimes we need to withdraw…in order to protect ourselves for short periods of time…so now, you have the ability to close your eyes…any time anywhere…whether alone or with others…and breathe yourself into the protective embrace of the color blue…you will discover that blue will protect you and aid you…as you continue to achieve your goals.
…I want you to prepare yourself for the most interesting of the colors of the rainbow…just let yourself now drift from the blue into the purple band…purple represents TRANSITION…purple will allow you to make the transition from your conscious mind’s dominance…into your deeper mind…the purple opens up a whole new world to you…new realizations in your mind…when you are in the purple band… your conscious mind is at rest…and your unconscious mind is free to achieve insights very quickly…so now, any time you wish to achieve insight into a problem…merely close your eyes and breathe yourself into the color purple.
The induction may be terminated here. Then say, “… At your own rate, allow yourself to leave the rainbow with all the wisdom… power and new knowledge… you have gathered… and take few moments of total peace…comfort….and tranquillity before you reopen your eyes.
If the hypnotist chooses to go on and reinforce the above, continue with…
“…allow your eyes to fall on the next mountain… and go beyond it towards infinity…be on the highest peak so that nothing obstructs your vision and begin to feel whatever you feel. Maybe you are becoming aware of slight changes within yourself, for there is nothing at this time between your vision, hearing, and sensations that requires your conscious participation and maybe you would like to choose to look at yourself experiencing this sensation. That’s right… letting go for a moment of those feelings… those experiences of being in communion with the universe you may wish to choose to imagine; visualize yourself the way you would like to be, the way you would like to feel when everything is comfortably getting together and offering a well deserved sense of balance. I will be quiet now for a period of 3 minutes of clock time… a good time for you to take all the time you need… slowly… comfortably.. for yourself…
And after you have created and found your peace the way you would like it to be… spiritually, physically, psychologically, take that imprint inside you… look at the horizon…beyond the fields of flowers or ….the horizon of the ocean, and in that journey which will begin in a few moments…allow yourself, allow your deeper mind, allow your intuition… to connect you to what you need to know. Now I will be quiet for the next 3 minutes…that’s right…you may wish to allow yourself, your being …your soul… your guide to dance a comfortable dance for you… you may find yourself smiling inside and out… feeling liberated and free and feeling comfortable and dancing and running and feeling free and liberated… feeling free and liberated mentally and physically and letting go of pain and hurt and feeling that you are allowing yourself to feel to just be you…. you may wish to take some more time to dismiss…. to slow down to turn your back to all the issues that are not necessary for you….
..with each out breath you may welcome releasing the pressures and taking as much time as you need allowing yourself to come back… free.. when your mind and body are reconnected once again you will feel a sense of well being… again I will stop talking and you may reopen your eyes knowing that you can always return to that journey…..
The following is based on HEALING IMAGERY from Dr. Friedberg’s book COPING WITH CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME:
Your healing can now begin, yes…your healing begins from within yourself… an inner radiance that begins as a mere speck of light…that’s right, an inner point of light and warmth….radiating strength and power…that’s right… warm and radiant…inner strength, physical strength. Feel it, experience it…fully, thoroughly… growing stronger… and now directing it to yourself, directing the healing towards your weakened system and watch it slowly….and surely gaining strength….gaining strength…becoming stronger and stronger, re-experiencing the vitality, the enthusiasm an the spark in every cell of your body…
Feel that inner sense of strength beginning, working within your body. Feeling revitalized, re-energized…strengthening as your inner radiance strengthens and energizes. Feel the warm, intense energy doing its work; reactivating, restoring your body….yes, restoring your body. Experience that strengthening fully, thoroughly, that inner boosting, growing even stronger now, stronger, more powerful than before. As you feel that strength, you believe in yourself and your ability to succeed in your goal of rebuilding your body. Yes, believing in the strength of your thoughts, images and the totality of your internal powers. You believe so strongly, feeling that boost even now, yes, yet remaining tolerant, letting time pass, knowing that any worthwhile goal takes time, any worthwhile goal. And you have resolved to accomplish your goal, believing that you can…re-energizing, boosting your system. You hold firmly to that belief; yes, so firmly…feeling less fatigued…and this message remains with you, far beyond these words, far beyond these words. Now, slowly bringing yourself back to wakefulness, eyes opening gradually, feeling relaxed and refreshed.