I reproduce here our line on hypnotherapy taken from the FAQ section of our website.
The UKPT very cautious about hypnosis as a treatment for paruresis for two reasons:
1. We get people on our workshops who have tried hypnosis at some cost to no avail, and in some cases it has been a painful experience
2. Our former honorary advisor, a chartered psychologist, who was also a registered psychotherapist and a hypnotherapist, told us hypnosis was not the treatment for this condition.
Avoidant Paruresis comprises two elements: primary and secondary.
Primary paruresis is the state of not being able to urinate in a social situation.
Secondary paruresis is what the individual makes of his or her primary paruresis i.e. loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, the feeling of being a unique freak, and depression.
The UKPT deals in the main with people who have both primary and secondary paruresis. The recognised treatment is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).
The Primary is dealt with by graduated exposure: as in standard phobia desensitisation. The secondary is dealt with by cognitive therapy: this has to deal with proving to the patient that he or she is not a unique freak, but is one of a population of like patients who are normal functioning members of society; then the standard approach of establishing the patient's illogical views of reality is addressed and talked through.
Neither graduated exposure, or cognitive therapy will work on its own. Instead experience shows that incremental improvements in the one feedback positively into the other, and vice versa.
Given this, it is difficult to see how hypnotherapy can work effectively for such cases.
However, there are possibly people with only primary paruresis: who see it as a mechanical "fault", and are not shy of asking for treatment. In such cases, using hypnotherapy to teach relaxation and virtual desensitisation, may be effective.
The UKPT is interested in any evidence of the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. However previous approaches have claimed success without being able to provide any evidence of success, whether short or long term. The UKPT would be looking for evidence similar to that provided as unsolicited testimonials from participants at its workshops.
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As for acupuncture, I have not heard of any experiences of this treatment for paruresis.
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