Understanding dissociation and insight in the treatment of shortness of breath with hypnosis: a case study.

American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 52(4):263 (2010) PMID 20499541

Training in hypnosis is particularly valuable for the physician seeking to better appreciate the interplay between mind and body. Through such experiences the physician can learn that presentation of symptoms often is affected by patients' psychological states, and that symptoms sometimes serve as solutions for patients' psychological dilemmas. The presented case study demonstrates how an 11-year-old's complaint of shortness of breath becomes an opportunity for an appropriately trained physician to provide treatment by helping the patient to engage his inner resources. The case illustrates the strength of hypnosis for accessing resources outside of conscious awareness and use of dissociative language to both support and alter the patient's defenses. We discuss the role of hypnosis when working psychodynamically with a patient, and whether and when insight is important or necessary for change of behavior.