Tag Archives: IBS

opinions of People with IBS towards hypnotherapy

Opinions of People with IBS towards Hypnotherapy (SAPC 2017)

Opinions of people with IBS towards Hypnotherapy

Recently I presented at the Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) Conference at Warwick University (UK).  Below is a short video covering some of the main points and below that is the written out full length presentation.

 Full Text – presented to clinicians 

Science or Magic! … well if you were asked which one you represented I suspect you know what you would say? … not so much for me … I’m a hypnotherapist … and none of us control my own image … So what I want to know is which do people see me closer to the scientific world, with a body of knowledge which can be taught, is structured and replicable … or the magical world where the ability to heal is not explicable … not strictly learnable … but comes from something unknowable

And why does this question matter, why is this question important to primary care?

Back in 2008 Hypnotherapy was accepted into NICE guidelines as a treatment for refractory IBS, refractor IBS is IBS which hasn’t responded to primary treatment and has developed an ongoing profile of symptoms.

There was good reason for this inclusion

·         IBS is a substantial problem with prevalence rates around 10% internationally, we don’t know exactly how many of those people are classified as ‘refractory’ but it could be as many as 1/3rd.

·         IBS is expensive for the NHS, with approximate 0.1% spent within the NHS being on IBS, 50 million of which alone is accounted for by anti-spasmodic and laxatives, the rest being in other forms of medication to controls symptoms, but one of the biggest expenses being in GP time.

·         And although it’s not life threatening it does make people’s lives a misery. Its effects their attendance at work, their ability to work (so called presentism) and they usually are paying out of their own pocket for treatments and remedies, some studies suggest the this is roughly equal to the amount the NHS spend.

So there is good reason to integrate any effective tool, particularly if it provides and actual cure, rather than just a control.

But to the best we can tell, people with IBS are not interested Hypnotherapy for their condition, they are not seeking it out either in the public or private sector and we wondered why. One of the things we considered was the image of hypnotherapy and the hypnotherapist, may present a barrier, specifically we were interested in seeing if the perception of the hypnotherapists was more medical or more magical?


I am conducting 1-2-1, semi-structured, qualitative interviews with adults with refractory IBS to find out their opinions about hypnotherapy. These will be analysed using the framework method for indications of what the Sociologist Weber characterised as the Bureaucratic and Charismatic,

·         Bureaucratic meaning reliable, teachable, learnable

·         Charismatic meaning having power from within

So far the main finding has been that it’s very hard to recruit for this stuff, possibly there are too many elements –  IBS, refractory, hypnosis but the one interview which I have conducted has raised some interesting findings  

Firstly, the phrase ‘Cluck like a chicken’ was used, a phrase I’ve heard a lot as a hypnotherapist, another one was “funfair comedy magician thing” suggesting that the musical hall associations of hypnosis are strongly present. This points to a third image which is not science nor magic but frippery, entertainment … and who’s going to consider using hypnotherapy for their IBS if they perceive it as an entertainment.

However, this should be balanced against another observation the interviewee made

“But I’ve not heard of hypnotherapy for an actual medical reason, it’s always been for phobia or … maybe depression, that what I associate hypnotherapy with”

So the connection with mental health appears established in her mind but not with physical health, and although it’s very early days on this research perhaps this is the true barrier to usage, People just don’t think of hypnotherapy for physical problems. They don’t see the connection.

Opinions of people with IBS towards Hypnotherapy 

IBS research – UK volunteers needed

Refractory Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) sufferer’s attitudes and opinions towards hypnotherapy as a treatment.

I am looking for people who have;

  • Received a formal diagnosis of Refractory IBS. Refractory IBS means that a person has been diagnosed with IBS and received prescribed medication from their doctor but is still suffering with IBS 12 months later.
  • Currently live in the UK
  • And who have not seen a hypnotherapist for their IBS.

If you fit this description I would like to invite you to take part in an interview based research study. Before committing please take a few moments to read the following and consider if this is something which you feel comfortable to participate in.

What is the purpose of the study?  

In 2008 the National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE), who decides on ‘best practice’ for the NHS authorized the use of hypnotherapy to treat refractory IBS. As part of my doctoral research I am interested in finding out sufferer’s attitudes and opinions towards hypnotherapy and its use within the NHS.

Do I have to take part?

Participation is entirely voluntary and much appreciated. Feel free to ask any questions at any time you like. You can withdraw at any time you like without having to explain.


What will happen to me if I take part?

If you agree to become involved;

  1. I will come to interview you at the location of your choice, your home or at the University of Birmingham for example.
  2. I will obtain your written permission to conduct the interview.
  3. The interview will last 45-60 minutes.
  4. With your permission I will record the interview.
  5. I will ask questions around your general experience of IBS and IBS treatment as well as attitudes towards hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
  6. After the interview the recording will be transcribed and any identifiable data will be removed.
  7. If you wish your details can be retained by me so that I can inform you of the findings of the study (this may be several months or more than a year after the initial interview)


Expenses and payments?

If as part of the study you incur any reasonable incidental expenses, such as travel, then these will be met. Please bring these to my attention prior to our meeting to enable budgeting and please retain any relevant receipts.


What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

As this research is based on an interview there are no risks to your health, however IBS can be a very personal topic and I advise you to consider how comfortable you will feel divulging personal experience to a relative stranger and in particularly to consider this when deciding where you would like me to meet you for the interview.


Is it confidential?

All information is confidential and will only be seen in full by myself and a transcriber who is bound by confidentiality. During the transcription phase identifying details will be removed to maintain your anonymity. Your details will be retained by myself for a period of 10 years in a secure locked file, after which they will be appropriately destroyed. Your data will not be used for any purpose other than those directly related with this study.


What if there is a problem?

In any study there are a number of possible problems which may arise. The most common of which is that you need to cancel or rearrange the appointment for the interview, in this eventuality please contact me (Matt) on 0739 295 7945.

In the event of a more serious problem or complaint you may contact myself (Matt 0739 295 7945) or if you would prefer to speak to someone else then please contact Professor Sheila Greenfield who is supervising this research on 0121 414 6493.

You are entitled to withdraw from the study at any point up to a month after the interview.


What will happen to the results of the research study?

The research is primarily for academic purposes and as such will be used, in an anonymised form, to help write an article for a peer reviewed journal and be used as part of my PhD thesis. Specifically, verbatim quotes may be used, these will not be identifiable.


Who is organising or sponsoring the research?

The research is being organised with the University of Birmingham and is receiving no funding from any other sources.


Further information and contact details:

Mobile 0739 295 7945

University E-mail  MJK599@student.bham.ac.uk


The Interviewer

Matt Krouwel is a Post graduate research student with University of Birmingham working towards a PhD in Health and Population Science.