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Clinical Hypnotherapy May Help Dementia Sufferers

Clinical hypnotherapy could help dementia sufferers improve their quality of life, suggests research from the University of Liverpool.

Forensic psychologist Simon Duff investigated how hypnotherapy could help dementia sufferers retain their existing quality of life in the face of the debilitating effects of dementia on the mind. Using three different groups of participants, Dr Duff studied the effects of treatment against six different criteria: concentration, memory, socialisation, relaxation, motivation and their ability to complete daily living activities.

According to Dr Duff's research, the group which received hypnotherapy showed an improvement in all six areas in comparison with the other two groups, one of which received standard treatment and one which received group 'talking' therapy.

Speaking in The Daily Mail, doctor Duff said that regular hypnotherapy sessions resulted in a "real improvement across all of the areas that we looked at". The other groups "showed a small decline over the assessment period."

His research indicates that dementia sufferers could retain their existing quality of life and to some extent, maintain their cognitive facilities, through regular hypnotherapy sessions. The results also suggested that such treatment could deliver small improvements over time.

Dr Duff says that one of the main benefits of hypnotherapy could be found in its ability to help sufferers focus on positive activities. Many people who become aware of the onset of dementia can become depressed or anxious at the gradual loss of their mental faculties.

Following this study, Dr Duff aims to conduct further research into the clinical uses of hypnotherapy for dementia sufferers. He says that he will investigate what benefits the treatment could offer in the long term, particularly as the onset of the disease advances.