Boston Beckons 12 August 2016

How Words Heal

I am delighted to be invited back to speak at the annual National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) conference in Boston again this year. Each year thousands of delegates from all around the world attend this major conference to update their knowledge base and share information.  Two years ago I presented the findings and insight gained from my research in the area of migraines and hypnosis. This year I am looking at how words affect our physiology and the capacity of words to heal pain. This includes an overview of  the neurobiological mechanisms of placebo and the neural mechanisms corresponding to hypnotic states.

With the relatively recent advent of neuroimaging we are gaining a greater insight in to how words affect our brain, our emotions and our responses to various situations. In the past twenty years the advent of MRI, PET and EEG have enlightened us on the changes in activity in the brain. While no one neural signature of the hypnotic state has ever been identified this is likely to remain the case because we now recognise that different suggestions delivered in the hypnotic state will have a selective impact on various parts of the brain. The imaging techniques have enabled us to understand that in the hypnotic state with hypnotic suggestions there are increases in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in the frontal cortices, in particular the left frontal cortex and increases in delta activity which are indicative of an alteration in consciousness which can facilitate visual imagery and a reduction in arousal (Rainville, Hofbauer, Paus, Duncan, Bushnell & Price, 1999). Hypnosis related decreases in rCBF in the same study were identified in the right inferior parietal lobule, the left precuneus and the posterior cingulate gyrus. As well as an overview of how words impact the brain in the hypnotic state the ensuing impact on perception and behaviour will be explored during the talk.

I have had the great privilege of working in a hospital environment for the past ten years and while explaining hypnosis to the medical community has had it’s challenges, it has been a worthwhile journey. This journey began with many progressive consultants interested in learning more about hypnosis, attending talks organised at the hospital and referring patients as a result. To conclude the talk I will be discussing how to maximise the effect of hypnosis sessions for clients and of course there will be time for a questions and answers section at the end.

For anyone who would like to attend the talk the registration number is 11098 and it is on Friday August 12th 2016 at 9am. The title of the talk is ‘How Words Heal’.

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