The Center for Behavioral Oncology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is excited to announce our National Cancer Institute funded Hypnosis for Cancer Pain (HCaP) program.

  • The primary goal of this NCI-funded research education program is to evaluate the effectiveness of a course designed to train cancer care providers to deliver hypnosis to help patients manage cancer pain. Research shows that for hypnosis is a clinically efficacious, cost-effective tool, and relaxing tool for pain management. Yet few providers receive training in evidence-based hypnosis as part of their standard professional education. This Hypnosis for Cancer Pain (HCaP) training aims to bridge that gap, and to teach cancer care providers the skills they need to help patients control their cancer pain and improve their overall quality of life.
  • Additionally, we want to understand how satisfied cancer care providers are with the HCaP course; how effective HCaP is in increasing and enhancing providers’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and self-efficacy for using hypnosis to manage cancer pain, and to see how HCaP affects providers’ real-world practice. To accomplish these goals, we will ask trainees to complete evaluation materials throughout their participation in the HCaP program and at one three-month follow-up.
  • The program is suitable for frontline oncology providers including (but not limited to) physicians, nurses, psychosocial care providers, and allied health providers.
  • No previous training in hypnosis or pain management necessary. All who are interested in learning are welcome!
  • For more details on the course, including program faculty, course content and materials, workshops, and FAQs, please review the tabs above.
  • The course is free of charge.
  • Continuing Education credits are available for disciplines including (but not limited to): physicians (ACCME), psychologists (APA), social workers (ASWB), and nurses (ANCC).
Guy Montgomery

Dr. Montgomery is the Director of the Behavioral Oncology Program within the Department of Population Health Science and Policy, an Associate Professor in the Department, the Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Mount Sinai, Director of Psychological Services at the Dubin Breast Center, and a practicing licensed clinical psychologist. He is a nationally recognized leader in hypnosis, and is a Past President of the Society of Psychological Hypnosis (Division 30 of the American Psychological Association), as well as a Fellow of APA. Dr. Montgomery’s program of research has focused on developing and testing hypnosis interventions to reduce symptoms and side-effects, including pain, of cancer and its treatment. His work on hypnosis in cancer care has received national and international recognition, and his research has been continuously funded through extramural grants (e.g., NCI, NCCIH, ACS). He looks forward to sharing his expertise on hypnosis in cancer care with the trainees of this course.


Rachel Goldsmith Turow

Dr. Jensen is the University of Washington Medicine's vice chair for research in Rehabilitation Medicine and a UW professor of Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. Jensen’s career has been devoted to the development and evaluation of effective pain treatments, with a focus on hypnotic interventions. His research program is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research. In his clinical work, he combines cognitive-behavioral, hypnotic and motivational approaches to help patients better manage chronic pain and its effects on their lives. His research program focuses on the development and evaluation of measures of pain, pain beliefs and pain coping strategies, as well as on the development and evaluation of psychosocial pain interventions. Dr. Jensen is also the author of a therapist guide on the use of hypnosis for chronic pain (Hypnosis for Chronic Pain Management) as a part of the University of Oxford Press’s “Treatments that Work” series. This book won the 2011 Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Arthur Shapiro Award for Best Book on Hypnosis, and will be the primary textbook for the course.


Clodagh Starrs

Dr. Smith is the Chief Quality Officer for Cancer at the Mount Sinai Health System, as well as an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, and Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Smith is a clinician investigator whose research interests include evaluating treatment disparities in cancer care, evaluating determinants of cancer patients' quality of care, characterizing barriers to optimal cancer and palliative care, and developing approaches to eliminating those barriers among racial and ethnic minorities. Dr. Smith is board certified in Hematology/Medical Oncology and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She has a Ph.D. in clinical research with a focus on population, outcomes and health services research.


Kevin Minassian

Dr. Green is a Professor of Psychology at The Ohio State University who has published over 70 journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries, and produced two volumes on applied clinical hypnosis. The majority of his publications have centered around hypnosis, imagination, and suggestion-based approaches to psychotherapy. Dr. Green has been elected president of Division 30 of the American Psychological Association (Society for Psychological Hypnosis) three times. He is a Fellow of APA Division 30 and the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, and is a member of honor of the Association for the Advance of Experimental and Applied Hypnosis (AAEAH; Spain). He serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Dr. Green received The Ohio State University's highest honor for distinguished teaching (2004). During his tenure at OSU Lima, Dr. Green received campus awards for Outstanding Scholarship, Outstanding Teaching, and Sustained Faculty Mentorship. His research, leadership, mentoring of students, and professional dedication to his field has earned a number of awards and recognition within professional societies and organizations.

Why focus on cancer pain management?

  • Pain can be associated with numerous aspects of cancer care including: cancer screening procedures (e.g., biopsy, bone marrow aspiration, mammography), the cancer itself (e.g., spinal cord compression, bone pain), and with cancer treatments including surgery (e.g., postsurgical pain, phantom pain), chemotherapy (e.g., neuropathy, mucositis), radiotherapy (e.g., radiodermatitis), and adjuvant hormonal therapies (e.g., musculoskeletal pain)
  • It is estimated that 39% of patients experience pain following curative treatment, 55% during anticancer treatment, 40% during survivorship, and 66% of patients report pain during advanced, metastatic, or terminal disease phases
  • Approximately one-third of patients with cancer-related pain are undertreated, and the odds of pain undertreatment are twice as high for minority patients.
  • Uncontrolled cancer pain can result in suffering, diminished ability to cope with cancer and its treatment, interference with activities of daily living, and extended or repeat hospital admissions. Uncontrolled pain may also delay or disrupt anticancer treatment, compromising its effectiveness.

Why learn hypnosis for cancer pain management?

  • Hypnosis is an evidence-based, mind-body technique, which has had a long tradition in cancer symptom management (over 200 years), especially for pain management
  • Scientific research strongly supports the clinical efficacy of hypnotic analgesia
  • Hypnosis has also been demonstrated in cancer settings to be a cost-effective pain management approach
  • The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Guideline on Chronic Pain Management in Adult Cancer Survivors suggests incorporating hypnosis into cancer pain management, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines also recommend consideration of hypnosis as a non-pharmacologic, cognitive, pain management modality
  • Additional benefits of hypnosis include:
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    • its rapid onset of action (e.g., often within as little as 15 minutes)
    • the ability to teach patients to use hypnosis on their own to self-manage their pain in as few as 2-4 sessions
    • that hypnosis is associated with very little patient burden (e.g., patients need only listen and remain open to suggestions), which makes it appropriate for patients at most levels of performance status
    • that hypnosis is typically perceived by patients as pleasant, similar to daydreaming
    • that hypnosis has no specific side effects, in contrast to many pain management medications which cause side-effects of their own (e.g., opioid-induced constipation).

Module 1A: Understanding Cancer Pain. In this module, Dr. Smith will provide an overall background on pain in general, and cancer pain in particular. Topics covered will include definitions, causes, specific types and aspects of pain, prevalence, and undertreatment.

Module 1B: Introduction to the Neurophysiology of Pain and Hypnosis. In this module, Dr. Jensen will discuss how the brain and body work together to create the experience of brain, and about how hypnosis influences the brain and body so that you can effectively teach patients how hypnosis works.

Module 2: Introduction to Hypnosis. In this module, Dr. Montgomery will: define hypnosis (including what it is, and what it isn’t); describe the sociocognitive understanding of hypnosis and its effects; describe the research evidence supporting the clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness of hypnosis; and, describe how hypnosis has no specific side-effects, but quite a few “side-benefits”.

Module 3: Patient Assessment and Preparation for Hypnosis. In this module, Dr. Jensen will describe how to conduct a hypnotic pain assessment, with a focus on: how to establish and enhance rapport, how to identify patient cognitions and behaviors that might be contributing to pain and suffering, how to identify treatment goals, and how to negotiate a pain management treatment plan.

Module 4: Hypnosis: Debunking How-to In this module, Dr. Montgomery will provide instruction on how to conduct debunking, a critical first step in any hypnosis intervention. Topics covered include providing a general debunking formula to help respond to patient questions and concerns about hypnosis, and to dispel commonly held myths and misconceptions.

Module 5: Hypnosis: Step-by-Step In this module, Dr. Montgomery will walk you, step-by-step through how to deliver the six components of a traditional hypnosis session. For each component, I’ll discuss recommended vocal tone, pacing, and phrasing.

Module 6: The Interpersonal and Social Context of Hypnosis. In this module, Dr. Green will provide crucial information on how to optimize the interpersonal and social context in which hypnosis takes place.


The HCaP program begins with a self-paced E-Learning component. Follow-up training will be designed based on trainee input and public health guidelines.

E-Learning

  • The E-Learning component has six modules taught by our expert faculty. These modules are titled: Module 1A: Understanding Cancer Pain, Module 1B - Introduction to the Neurophysiology of Pain and Hypnosis, Module 2 – Introduction to Clinical Hypnosis, Module 3 - Patient Assessment and Preparation for Hypnosis, Module 4 – Hypnosis: Debunking How-to, Module 5 – Hypnosis: Step-by-Step, Module 6 – The Interpersonal and Social Context of Hypnosis).
  • Each module includes video lectures, podcasts, active learning activities, reflection questions, and enrichment materials.
  • The E-Learning portion is self-paced, so you can take your time, and complete each module at the time and place that's most convenient for you.

Follow-up Workshop

  • As trainees complete and pass the E-Learning portion of the course, they’ll be eligible to attend a training workshop. The format of these workshops (e.g., virtual, live, hybrid) will be informed by trainee input and public health guidelines.

Continuing Education Credits

  • We will offer continuing education credits for participating in HCaP.
  • Continuing education credits will be offered for disciplines including (but not limited to): psychologists (APA), social workers (ASWB), nurses (ANCC), and physicians (ACCME).

Course Feedback

  • Throughout the training program, and at three months after your participation, we’ll ask you to provide us with feedback on your thoughts and feelings about the course, and on your use of hypnosis skills in your cancer care practice.
  • Post-course feedback assessments are brief and online.
  • Your feedback will help us to improve and refine the course, and will shape future dissemination of the HCaP program.

1. How long will it take to complete the online course?

Each of the six modules should take approximately one hour to complete, and the post-course evaluation should take less than 20 minutes.

2. Do I have to complete each module in a single sitting? Or can I take my time?

Please go at your own pace! You can stop and start the online course whenever you want. Your progress through the course will be saved, so you’ll know where you left off.

3. Is there a charge or fee to take the course?

No, you will not be charged for taking the course. There is no charge.

4. Will I be reimbursed for my participation in the training program?

No, we cannot reimburse you for course participation or evaluation completion.

5. Do I need to be online at specific times?

No, you do not have to be online at specific times. You can access the course whenever and wherever it is convenient for you.

6. What equipment do I need?

An internet connection and an internet browser such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.

7. Are there eligibility requirements in order to register?

Yes. Participants in the training program must: 1) be licensed, license-eligible, or certified in your healthcare profession, or demonstrate current enrollment in an accredited cancer care provider training program; 2) have access to the necessary equipment (e.g., laptop, tablet, or smartphone) to access the E-Learning website; 3) currently, or plan to (e.g., upon graduation), deliver clinical care to individuals with cancer; 4) be willing to participate in a post E-Learning workshop (either live in NYC or online ); 5) be interested in the course and willing to transfer the hypnosis for cancer pain skills learned here to clinical practice; 5) be proficient in English; and, 6) be 18 years of age or older.

8. How do I access the HCaP website?

Once we confirm your eligibility, we will send you an email with all the information you will need to log into the course website.

9. Is technical support available?

Yes. Our HCaP team is typically available 9:00AM to 5:00PM Eastern Standard Time on business days. We will try our best to get back to you as quickly as possible, typically within 72 hours.

10. If I have problems logging into the course, what should I do?

Please contact the HCaP staff using email address on the 'Contact Us' tab and we will assist you.

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