Hypnotherapy for Procedural Pain, Itch and State Anxiety in Children with Acute Burns: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study Protocol

Ms Daly Geagea1,2, Dr Bronwyn Griffin1,3,4, Professor Roy Kimble1,2,3,4, Dr Vince Polito5, Dr Devin Terhune6, Dr Zephanie Tyack1,2

1Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, Centre for Children’s Health Research, SOUTH BRISBANE, Australia, 2Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 3Faculty of Health, School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 4Pegg Leditschke Paediatric Burns Centre, The Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 5Department of Psychology Goldsmiths University of London, London, United Kingdom, 6Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia



Hypnotherapy is promising as a psychological adjunct to pharmacological agents for children’s post-burn procedural pain, state anxiety and itch. Research indicates that hypnotherapy can be conducted in varied settings and populations; and has superiority to other psychological interventions for children’s procedural pain and state anxiety. In paediatric burns, rigorous effectiveness and feasibility studies are limited with no studies investigating hypnotic suggestibility screening. The proposed study will examine the feasibility, acceptability and implementation of hypnotic suggestibility screening followed by hypnotherapy for procedural pain, state anxiety and itch in paediatric burns.


The study uses an observational mixed-methods design. Children (N = 30) presenting to the study setting with acute burns requiring dressing changes will be included with parents (N = up to 30) and clinicians performing dressing changes (N = up to 20). Child participants with medium to high suggestibility will receive hypnotherapy during dressing changes. A process evaluation will target feasibility and acceptability as primary outcomes and implementation (i.e., fidelity in delivery), reach, effectiveness, and adoption of evaluation procedures and intervention as secondary outcomes.


Study findings will guide research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy and inform the development of child-centred hypnotic interventions in children with burns.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12620000988954


Doctor in Pharmacy Practice (PharmD)

Hypnotherapist-Hypnoanaesthesiologist (Certified by the National Guild of Hypnotherapists, USA)

Specialist in Clinical Research in Neurosciences (Certified by Melbourne University, Australia)

NLP Practitioner (Certified by INLEPTA, USA)

Member of the National Guild of  Hypnotherapists

The hypnotherapist has extensive experience (more than eight years) in conducting hypnotherapy with children from diverse backgrounds (e.g. children from the Middle East, Europe, UAE, and Australia including refugees) with a range of conditions involving pain and distress in therapeutic and medical settings (hospitals, private clinics).

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