The effects of hypnosis/guided imagery on the postoperative course of children

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1996 Oct;17(5):307-10. doi: 10.1097/00004703-199610000-00003.


Hypnosis, guided imagery, and relaxation have been shown to improve the postoperative course of adult surgical patients. Children have successfully used hypnosis/guided imagery to significantly reduce the pain associated with invasive procedures and to improve selected medical conditions. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of hypnosis/guided imagery on the postoperative course of pediatric surgical patients. Fifty-two children (matched for sex, age, and diagnosis) were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. The experimental group was taught guided imagery by the investigator. Practice of the imagery technique included suggestions for a favorable postoperative course. Significantly lower postoperative pain ratings and shorter hospital stays occurred for children in the experimental group. State anxiety was decreased for the guided imagery group and increased postoperatively for the control group. This study demonstrates the positive effects of hypnosis/guided imagery for the pediatric surgical patient.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Behavioral Medicine / methods*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Postoperative Care / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome