Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of the Chronic Nocturnal Use of a Dental Splint Prescribed for Bruxism
A behavioral medicine case is described in which the patient was treated with a combined approach involving both hypnoanalytic and hypnobehavioral techniques. A 55-year-old man with bruxism was referred after 10 years of craniomandibular treatment because of his dependency on a dental splint prescribed for nocturnal use. A projective hypnoanalytic exploration helped to uncover and consequently resolve an earlier conflict that had been reactivated in the patient's work situation and which had become a constant source of mental and muscular tension. The hypnoanalytic exploration was followed by a cognitive-behavioral hypnotic intervention that was tape-recorded and prescribed for bedtime practice. Pre- and posttherapy psychological, physiological, and self-report measurements corroborated the patient's sense of well being that came with his newly found ability to sleep without the dental splint. The importance of considering multiple etiological factors in the treatment of such psychosomatic disorders as bruxism is discussed.