Cognitive hypnotherapy for psychological management of depression in palliative care
The prevalence of psychiatric disorders in palliative care is well documented, yet they often remain undetected and untreated, adding further to the burden of suffering on patients who are already facing severe physical and psychosocial problems. This article will focus on depression as it represents one of the most common psychiatric disorders treated by psychiatrists and psychotherapists in palliative care. Although depression in palliative care can be treated successfully with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy, a significant number of depressives do not respond to either medication or existing psychotherapies. This is not surprising considering depression is a complex disorder. Moreover, the presentation of depression in palliative care is compounded by the severity of the underlying medical conditions. It is thus important for clinicians to continue to develop more effective treatments for depression in palliative care. This article describes cognitive hypnotherapy (CH), an evidence-based multimodal treatment for depression which can be applied to a wide range of depressed patients in palliative care. CH, however, does not represent a finished product; it is a work in progress to be empirically validated and refined by advances in cancer and clinical depression.