A comparison of cognitive-behavioral and hypnotic treatments of chronic pain

J Clin Psychol. 1989 Mar;45(2):316-23. doi: 10.1002/1097-4679(198903)45:2<316::aid-jclp2270450221>3.0.co;2-5.


Twenty-seven chronic pain patients were assigned to one of three treatment groups: hypnosis, cognitive-behavioral, and an attention control. Hypnosis and cognitive-behavioral treatments were identical with the exception of the hypnotic induction. Scores on the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) and the Activity Log (Fordyce, 1976) were collected at pretreatment, posttreatment, and follow-up intervals. Analyses of changes showed significant increases in activity and decreases in pain intensity for the cognitive-behavioral treatment. Changes for the hypnosis treatment were noted only on the MPQ. Changes for both groups were sustained on the 1-month follow-up. Results of ANCOVAs showed that the cognitive-behavioral treatment resulted in significantly lower pain rating scores than those in the control treatment, but no significant differences were observed between the behavior and hypnosis groups. Findings support the superiority of the cognitive-behavioral treatment on behavior measures and equivalence to hypnosis on subjective measures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognition*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Male
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement