Research: FINLAY and JONES,

Listed in Issue 20


FINLAY and JONES, Holme Tower Marie Curie Centre, Wales write that although complementary therapies are increasingly in vogue in the management of patients with cancer, little formal evaluation has been undertaken.



The authors offered single sessions of hypnotherapy to 256 palliative care outpatients, 104 of whom were women, over a 2.5 year period. within a hospice day care setting. Only 13% (n=21) had 4 or more treatment sessions. Of the 52 patients alive at the time of the survey and mailed an evaluation sheet, 41 responded.


61% reported improved coping with their illness, 7% (n=3) reported harmful or negative effects from hypnotherapy. Of those whose coping was unchanged, many found the therapy a pleasant experience. 35 patients (85%) appended positive comments to their questionnaire.


Despite the limitations of a retrospective questionnaire, these results suggest that hypnotherapy used within strict guidelines in patients with advanced cancer, is a safe complementary therapy which enhances coping.


Finlay IG and Jones OL. Hypnotherapy in palliative care. J R Soc Med. 89(9): 4936. Sep 1996.

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