Often patients will exhibit concerns that they will be unable to give up activities proscribed by their medical-care team such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and eating certain foods.
If left untreated all these psychological factors could provoke a negative mind-set. Many studies have shown that a patient's outlook toward upcoming surgery as well as to the post-surgical period can greatly affect recovery outcome. Essentially, patients with a poor outlook may have a poor prognosis (it has also been shown that those patients who are socially isolated and come from the lower-income bracket are also at greater risk post-surgically). However, those patients showing an optimistic outlook recover more rapidly and show an increased survival rate.
Studies have shown that those patients undergoing hypnosis as an integral part of the pre- and post-operative procedure demonstrate an increased rate of recovery and decreased levels of post-surgical infection.
Hypnosis and Surgery As the patient should be set up for success from the beginning, pseudo orientation in time needs to be included during each session, taking the patient to a time in the future when they have successfully recovered from the operation. It goes without saying that the therapist must ensure that the pseudo-orientated future is realistic and achievable. As well as this, ego boosting should also be included during each session to help the patient create a positive mind-set and to enhance inner resources.
Reframing approaches should not be ignored. It is an undeniable fact that the patient’s lifestyle may have led to the reason they are in hospital at this time. Reframing the situation so that the patient perceives that they are taking control of their future thus ensuring a speedy recovery as well as living a long, healthy and productive life will be of obvious benefit to the therapeutic process.
Induction of Hypnosis
A word needs to be said about the induction process used with cardiovascular patients. Any induction will suffice. However, as part of the therapeutic process it is important to teach the patient how to relax, so progressive relaxation approaches should be the therapist's primary consideration as this will indirectly provide a format for the patient's own approach to relaxation.
Dealing with Fear
Many patients will understandably have a fear of the process of surgery and of their stay in hospital. Imagination techniques (a preferable term to visualization as asking someone to visualize implies that they have to 'see' and therefore does not take into account the other modalities of representation) should be used to take them through their hospital experience and beyond: being admitted to hospital; the pre-surgical stay; going to the operating theatre and receiving their pre-medication; undergoing the operation; their time in the recovery room; being taken back to the ward and their post-operative stay; leaving hospital; and making a full recovery.