Claustrophobia and Magnetic Imaging Resonance (MRI)

I had a lady come to me who was very worried about an MRI scan that she was going to have in a week. She had already experienced a MRI for her knee but this one was going to involve her torso so she would have to be totally inside the tube.  To make matters worse, it was going to be 40 minutes to an hour long. She did not want to take a sedative because that would mess up her whole day. She was dubious about using hypnosis but she could not think of any other way.

Per my standard protocol, I first taught her how to do self-hypnosis for stress. By helping her to control stress, the test did not scare her so much, plus, she was sleeping better at night. Also during the first session, I played a series of audio recordings of an actual MRI scanner in its various operational modes for short periods. She was able to relax. I had her practice her self-hypnosis for a couple of days and return for her second session. During this session I had her lying flat in a similar position. I placed ear plugs in her ears just like the actual scan and gave her suggestions that she would be able to relax, yet respond appropriately to the technician’s questions and instructions. I then played a full length MRI scan at full volume and had her note that each different sound only helped to relax her better than the previous sound.  After the session, she felt very confidant.

On the day of the scan, she told me that she was not worried at all and was actually looking forward to the test. She stated she “sailed right through it” with no difficulty at all. To her, the test seemed like only 5 minutes but had actually lasted 50 minutes. She was able to follow all the instructions. She was very excited because she now noticed that elevators no longer bothered her.

Mri scanners continue to evolve. There are standard bore and large bore models as well as the 2 different types of open MRI’s. However, sometimes people don’t have a choice and find that they will be in a smaller tube of a standard bore. By using hypnosis, the clients are able to “distance” themselves from the situation thereby relieving the stress. This client also felt more confident with herself  having successfully completing the test so easily. While not addressing claustrophobia directly, she experienced collateral relief which not unusual with hypnosis.

Frequently, long-held, unwarranted fears are easily resolved with hypnosis and clients frequently note other positive changes in their lives, as well.


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