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A New Technique for Attention Management and Somatosensory Processing in Hypnotherapy: Mental Access/Somatosensory Access (MASSA)

DOI: 10.4236/ojmp.2023.124012, PP. 192-230

Keywords: Attention, Somatosensory Stimulation, Imbedded Suggestions, Create and Verify Principle, Mental Access/Somatosensory Access (MASSA), Hypnosis

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Abstract:

The author introduces a new hypnotherapeutic technique termed “Mental Access/Somatosensory Access” (MASSA). MASSA is designed to utilize an external somatosensory stimulus in the context of hypnotherapy, based on a Bottom-Up/Top-Down Paradigm, which complements and mutually reinforces hypnotic inductions by using imbedded suggestions. The intervention’s algorithm includes a combination of real-time stimulation through one of the following somatosensory modalities: sensorimotor activation of the palms, visual, auditory, vibration, thermal, olfaction or oropharyngeal. These modalities are accompanied by guided hypnotic dissociation and suggestions. Somatosensory stimulation amplifies patients’ engagement in the procedure, focusing their attention on a stimulus and on the hypnotic experience during the intervention. A stream of closed questions with imbedded suggestions, presented by the therapist, is designed using suggestive presuppositions, termed by the author “The Create and Verify Principle” (CVP). This principle facilitates effective pacing and helps transform patients’ sensory and mental experiences. Imbedded suggestions followed by real-time stimulation, maintain a focus on the somatosensory content, boost the hypnotic experience, and gradually combine awareness of the somatosensory stimulation experience (Bottom-Up regulation) with memory, imagination, emotions and meanings, for mental access of resources and adaptive coping (Top-Down regulation). In the first part of this article, the author briefly introduces the neurophysiological mechanism behind the suggestive, somatosensory, attention-management intervention and provides an example of a basic algorithm of the MASSA technique. The second part includes clinical samples with scripts of successfully treated patients, who experienced tension headache, psychogenic balance disorder, tinnitus.

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