Hypnotherapeutic treatment of sleepwalking and sleep terrors: a case study

Treatment of parasomnia such as sleepwalking and sleep terrors in adults is under-researched and their causes are not fully understood. Hypnosis has been suggested as a treatment option for parasomnia and some previous studies with small samples exist. In the absence of guidelines for planning hypnotherapeutic treatment for sleepwalking and sleep terrors, this case study investigated 1) if two hypnosis sessions alleviate sleepwalking and sleep terrors when listening to a hypnosis recording at home is not required and 2) how hypnotherapy affects the parasomnia episodes.

One adult patient with a chronic sleepwalking and sleep terror problem was treated with a protocol of four sessions including two hypnosis sessions. Hypnotic suggestions were tailored, and the patient’s feedback was used to edit the hypnotic script between sessions.

There was no change after the first hypnosis. After the second hypnosis parasomnia episodes were absent for one week. However, the episodes resumed after that week. Still, the experienced severity of parasomnia decreased below the 13-point cut-off score for severe parasomnia when measured with the PADSS-inventory two months after the treatment. It is concluded that two hypnosis sessions can be effective, but the results may not be permanent and treatment maintenance by listening to a recording may be useful. Also, sleep lab testing, and treatment of possible upper airways restrictive syndrome should be considered at least in the case of chronic adult sleepwalkers.

Taiga Solén Lemley:  Hypnotherapeutic treatment of sleepwalking and sleep terrors: a case study

Kognitiivinen aikuisten yksilöpsykoterapian koulutusohjelma sisältäen hypnoterapiaa 2000-2023