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At this time, hypnotherapy is available only for inpatients (those who are hospitalized) and not on an outpatient basis. To request hypnotherapy while hospitalized, talk to your physician, physician's assistant or nurse practitioner. You must first be seen by a UC San Diego psychiatrist or psychologist.

Contact Patient & Family Support Services at 858-822-5381 for more information.

UC San Diego Health cancer patients who are currently hospitalized may be eligible to receive clinical hypnotherapy treatment. Hypnotherapy can help a person to learn new methods of relating to the world by looking inward at their own emotions and behavior while in a balanced, relaxed state. It can be used to treat:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Anger
  • Phobias (such as fear of needle sticks)
  • Other distressing symptoms including tremors, elevated blood pressure, shortness of breath, vomiting, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea

After an assessment and recommendation for hypnotherapy by a UC San Diego Health psychiatrist or psychologist, a specially trained and certified clinical hypnotherapist will conduct further assessment. The patient and therapists will work collaboratively to determine which techniques will be most effective for the patient's individual needs.

The patient and therapist may develop personally tailored practice assignments that will help to empower the patient to bring back balance and peace of mind, as well as to let go of physical tension between sessions. This may include learning self-hypnosis. This combination of teaching, guidance, and practice can be an especially effective compliment to all other treatments.

Additional techniques that may be used during hypnotherapy sessions as appropriate include guided imagery, mindful breathing, energy work, mantra work, and progressive muscle relaxation.

Clinical hypnotherapy allows for a relaxed state with increased awareness of surroundings. It does not cause unconsciousness or unwanted behaviors, and the patient stays in complete control of their actions and choices. Popular representations of hypnosis and mind-control in the media and on stage are misleading and have nothing to do with clinical hypnotherapy.