Pain may be controlled by suggesting an area of numbness produced by imagining a local anaesthetic has been administered. Another method previously mentioned is ‘glove anaesthesia’ which can be transferred to the pain area. For example, in dentistry, an anaesthetic gel can be used on a child’s finger. The child is then told that he or she has a ‘magic’ finger which can remove all the discomfort experienced during the procedure. The anaesthetic thus reinforces the therapist’s suggestions. This dissociation, or producing a feeling of separation from oneself, can be used to separate the pain from the person.

Dissociation can be achieved by imagining a pleasant scene. Perhaps a sunlit beach with warm, inviting sand or a cool green shady jungle scene where you can imagine shrinking small enough to fly away on the back of a butterfly! As you shrink, so does the pain.


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