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Hypnosis in fertility treatment

| When does it make sense and how does it work?

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Hypnosis to quit smoking, for weight loss, as an aid to psychotherapy …
… to name just a few areas that hypnotherapy has been successfully applied to. But what about using this “tool” when dealing with unintended childlessness and during IVF treatment?

As a clinical psychologist at the IVF Zentren Prof. Zech I have for many years concerned myself very closely with this question. At our IVF centers, joint studies have been carried out into the issue. These studies were based on our general approach which is to focus on the personal and medical situation of the couple in order to find the best possible mode of treatment for them. Depending on the initial situation, supporting measures, such as hypnotherapy may be used.

Application areas of hypnosis in fertility treatment

On closer examination, the study findings as well as my own experience gained from treating patients suggest that the use of hypnosis could be a sensible addition to assisted reproductive treatments in certain situations:

  • Suspected mental block
  • Inner tension
  • Stress management, particularly prior to embryo transfer and, also in more general terms, for handling mental stress associated with unintended childlessness
  • Fear and anxiety:
    – about the impact of medicines
    – about producing “too few” egg cells
    – that the embryo might fail to implant
    – of a negative therapeutic outcome
    – that the body might reject the pregnancy
  • painful experiences encountered during previous fertility treatments or traumas experienced during childhood and adolescence, including the experience of abuse
Forms and effects of hypnosis

Hypnosis creates access to the subconscious mind of people. There are different forms of hypnosis which can contribute to improving the life situation – provided hypnosis is performed by a trained hypnotherapist.

Thus, for instance, hypnosis may help with mental and emotional processing, which also affects memories stored in our body. In fact as you know, our body’s memory “never forgets” anything. This form of hypnosis takes full advantage of the human brain’s excellent ability to process painful experiences. In this way, a relief effect will be achieved, thus altering the body’s memory, since the brain maintains a constant dialogue with the rest of the body.

Often I get asked the question, whether one is “completely gone” during hypnosis and could this have a harmful effect on health? In fact, however, hypnotherapy within the framework of fertility treatment is exactly tailored to the patient’s needs, i.e. the intensity of the hypnotic state is maintained at a level perceived as being comfortable. Proof of this is also provided by a great deal of positive feedback we have received over the last years.

In summary, anxiety, stress, inner tension, mental blocks and traumatic experiences have a particularly negative impact on women either prior to or during the fertility treatment. To counteract this, hypnotherapy may provide helpful support for these patients.

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