Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a commonly-occurring disorder that causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. Hypnotherapy is used in IBS patients with refractory symptoms. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of individual and group hypnotherapy in patients with IBS.

This is a multicenter randomized control trial conducted in 11 hospitals in the Netherlands. The study included a total of 342 patients aged 18-65 years who were referred for the psychological treatment of IBS. The participants were randomly allocated in a 3:3:1 ration to receive six sessions of individual hypnotherapy (n=142), group hypnotherapy (n=146), and group educational supportive therapy (control group) (54). The primary outcome was adequate relief of IBS symptoms. 

Of all participants, 22 (15%) in the individual hypnotherapy group, 11 (20%) in the group hypnotherapy group, and 11 (20%) in the control group dropped out of the study. Of the remaining participants, the adequate response rate was 40.8% in the individual hypnotherapy group, 33.2% in the group hypnotherapy group, and 16.7% in the individual hypnotherapy group, respectively.

The research concluded that hypnotherapy could be a possible treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. The findings also suggested that individual hypnotherapy was more effective than group hypnotherapy and placebo.