Ambulance Attendants and Hypnosis

AmbulanceIn crisis or life-threatening situations (e.g., cardiac trauma, automobile accidents), patients typically enter spontaneous trances, fixated in their attention on their body and immediate environment. Unfortunately, negative suggestions are often made in emergency situations by bystanders, ambulance attendants, police and medical personnel. For instance, patients may hear: “You’d better hurry, this guy may not make it!” “Is this guy going to make it?” “Wow, look at that blood all over the place. This woman’s a mess.” At an annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Wright presented results of an experiment where patients were randomly assigned to experimentally trained ambulance attendants versus untrained attendants. Crews trained to give positive suggestions had significantly fewer patients who were dead on arrival and their patients had a quicker recovery rate. This is a vitally important topic for further confirming research.

It is believed that emergency personnel should be trained in giving positive suggestions, even to uncommunicative, stuporous patients.

These suggestions, the first paragraph of which are reprinted from Dr. Wright’s book, illustrate suggestions used in his study. {Ed.)


[Ambulance attendants may be taught to give the following types of suggestions, speaking in a rather low-key manner, close to the ear of the patient.] You are in good hands now. You will be at the hospital shortly. Everything there is being made ready to help you. Let your muscles relax, let your mind begin to feel more secure and quiet. . . . Wherever this may be needed, let your blood vessels adjust to keep the blood circulating inside your blood vessels and to seal off leaks if they occur. . . . Wherever your skin is tight and tense, let it relax and permit the body’s healing processes to begin to work. . . . As you listen to my voice, you will find yourself gradually becoming calmer. . . . Your breath will move in and out of your chest more freely and more regularly. . . . Your body has already begun to mobilize its healing powers and started to repair your hurt. . . . Everything that can be done to help you right here is now being done. Soon you will be at the hospital. The medical team has been told that you are on your way in. The team will take over with the hospital’s resources to help you. . . .   EMTs

[Other, similar suggestions were modeled by Dr. Wright in his scientific meeting talk:] Let your body concentrate on repairing itself and feeling secure. Let your heart, blood vessels, everything, bring themselves into a state of preserving your life. Bleed enough so that it will cleanse the wounds and let the blood vessels close down so that your life is preserved; your body weight, your body heat, everything is going to be maintained, and things are being made ready at the hospital. We are getting there as quickly and as safely as possible. You are now in a safe position. The worst is over. We are now taking you to the hospital.


[Focusing on the body movements that are still there:] How good it is that you can focus and listen to me. There are a lot of things that we’ll be able to talk about in the next week of learning when you can begin exercising, when you can begin to . . . [you lay out a program of future action, rather than a focus on the debit, the losses that have taken place. Now what you are offering is very limited and realistic in terms of what will be done.]

[By setting a framework of anticipation, the individual first detaches himself from the anxiety about the self and the number of secondary assaults so that the aftershock is lessened because you suggest that the heart, through learning how to make use of itself, is like it is shedding a load:] The attack has been a heavy load and it may shiver a little bit, but that is all right. [Thus, whatever may happen, you anticipate it so that you do not give rise to a new set of fears.] – M Erik Wright PhD MD, Dec. 2015

What the mind conceives, the body achieves!


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