Encouragement Of Practice And Active Employment Of Coping Strategies

In addition to incorporation in the patient's schedule of a time period each day for relaxing and enjoying pleasant images following self-induction of an hypnotic trance state, patients were encouraged to make active use of coping strategies during periods of pain or when they needed an extra boost to accomplish a difficult task. They were encouraged to view novel or difficult tasks, e.g., a new exercise-activity program or taking a plane trip, in a stepwise fashion and to use trance-induced coping strategies and images as means of simplifying complex tasks and reinforcing successful performance of each step. Although the approach described here is structurally very similar to techniques developed by self-control theorists and cognitive behavior modifiers (Meichen-baum, 1971; Turk, 1980), the emphasis on assisting the patient via the hypnotic environment to discover appropriate coping strategies is different. For example, "Imagine walking down the healthy path as you begin to walk the mile of prescribed exercise." "Focus on the pleasant and interesting sensation of air rushing past your limbs as you stand up, leave the house, and take your daily walk." Indeed, the patient actively participates in finding his own solutions.

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