Mary-Joan Gerson, Ph.D. and Charles D. Gerson, M.D. of the Mind-Body Digestive Center have presented at Digestive Disease Week 2010. The research paper is "Gut-Focused Hypnotherapy in a Group Format Significantly Reduces Symptoms in Refractory Irritable Bowel Syndrome". The study looks at the effectiveness of gut-directed hypnotherapy in a group setting.
The study involved 75 patients who received seven 45 minute hypnotherapy sessions, one every other week, led by a clinical psychologist specifically trained in an IBS hypnotherapy approach. Group meetings included a brief opening discussion of the experience of having IBS in work and relationship life. Patients listened to the hypnotherapy tape at home between sessions. Data regarding symptom improvement was gathered at the end of treatment, as well as three, six, and twelve months.
The results indicated that the treatment was effective in reducing IBS symptoms by the end of treatment and throughout the year following treatment. Patients shifted their categorization of IBS as being "severe and moderate" to "mild and inactive".
The study also sought to determine what characteristics would be predictive of treatment success. It was found that that patients who were more likely to attribute their symptoms to emotional factors experienced less symptom improvement. Patients whose symptoms were more severe at baseline experienced greater symptom improvement.