The effectiveness of hypnosis for reducing procedure-related pain in children and adolescents: a comprehensive methodological review

J Behav Med. 2009 Aug;32(4):328-39. doi: 10.1007/s10865-009-9207-6. Epub 2009 Mar 3.


A comprehensive, methodologically informed review of studies of the effectiveness of hypnosis for reducing procedure-related pain in children and adolescents is provided. To be included in the review, studies were required to use a between-subjects or mixed model design in which hypnosis was compared with a control condition or an alternative intervention in reducing the procedure-related pain of patients younger than age 19. An exhaustive search identified 13 studies satisfying these criteria. Hypnosis was consistently found to be more effective than control conditions in alleviating discomfort associated with bone marrow aspirations, lumbar punctures, voiding cystourethograms, the Nuss procedure, and post-surgical pain. Furthermore, hypnosis was as at least as effective as distraction. Three hypnotic interventions met criteria as a possibly efficacious empirically supported therapy for reducing post-surgical or lumbar puncture pain. Several other hypnotic interventions would have achieved the status of a possibly efficacious therapy had studies used a treatment manual.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention
  • Bone Marrow Examination
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis, Anesthetic*
  • Imagination
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy
  • Spinal Puncture
  • Treatment Outcome