Clinical hypnosis, mindfulness and spirituality in palliative care

In this article, I do not intend to present the many and well-known treatments for relieving pain and distress symptoms of the physical body, damaged by terminal diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis. In this article, I’d rather focus my attention on clinical hypnosis for subjects who, freed from physical pain, thanks to palliative care, are open to receiving comfort and support for their psychological and spiritual suffering. The intent of this article is to express how clinical hypnosis can harmoniously integrate psychological and spiritual aspects so that the terminal patient can make peace with his/her past, with the people who have hurt him/her, and with the people who will suffer because of his/her death. This article will present some hypnotic suggestions inspired by universal wisdom of the Stoics, by positive psychology of Mindfulness, by laws of nature regarding changes, differences and mysteries. The basic assumption of the suggestions presented is that, if disease is an enemy to fight, death is an inevitable part of life: it cannot be avoided, or postponed or exchanged with anybody. It arrives when we have finished living. When death is preceded by an incurable disease, palliative care can offer a mantle of compassion and acceptance of what cannot be avoided. The words palliative comes from the Latin pallium-mantle. This article also presents some suggestions I have utilized several times with my patients. These suggestions have demonstrated their efficacy in alleviating patients’ suffering in coping with their disease and in facing death.

Keywords: Palliative suggestions; clinical hypnosis; mindfulness; spirituality.

Clinical hypnosis for palliative care in severe chronic diseases: a review and the procedures for relieving physical, psychological and spiritual symptoms

Hypnotic treatment in severe chronic diseases, for pain and symptoms relief, has proven efficacy as adjuvant therapy, and should be offered to any individual, who expresses an interest in this method. While some theorize hypnotizability as a changing attribute of the individual, there is a growing body of literature that indicates hypnotizability may be characterized as a constellation of potentially modifiable attitudes and skills, which are strongly influenced by related factors, as suffering, in severe chronic diseases. In this article, I briefly review representative studies recognizing how clinical hypnosis in medicine is an effective complementary therapy, for pain and symptom’s relief in severe chronic diseases and in palliative care. This paper highlights: (I) a scientific review to underline how clinical hypnosis has an important impact on the treatment goals and integration in relieving pain and symptoms; (II) the advanced techniques for effectively relieving pain and symptoms.

Keywords: Palliative care; anxiety; hypnosis; pain; symptoms.

Hypnosis in palliative care: from clinical insights to the science of self-regulation

Palliative care spans a wide-ranging spectrum: from pain-management to spiritual support. As the demand for end-of-life care increases, so does the demand for innovative, effective, interventions. Mind-body techniques seem especially advantageous in a palliative context. Here we show that hypnosis serves an excellent adjunct therapy in palliative care to boost the efficacy of standard treatments. With the overarching goal of bridging clinical and scientific insights, we outline how five core principles of hypnosis can benefit the diverse needs of palliative care.

Keywords: Palliative care; clinical application; hypnosis.


Casula C. Clinical hypnosis, mindfulness and spirituality in palliative care. Ann Palliat Med. 2018 Jan;7(1):32-40. doi: 10.21037/apm.2017.07.07. Epub 2017 Sep 28. PMID: 29156894.

Brugnoli MP. Clinical hypnosis for palliative care in severe chronic diseases: a review and the procedures for relieving physical, psychological and spiritual symptoms. Ann Palliat Med. 2016 Oct;5(4):280-297. doi: 10.21037/apm.2016.09.04. PMID: 27806624.

Landry M, Stendel M, Landry M, Raz A. Hypnosis in palliative care: from clinical insights to the science of self-regulation. Ann Palliat Med. 2018 Jan;7(1):125-135. doi: 10.21037/apm.2017.12.05. PMID: 29402094.