Hypnosis: The Application of Ideomotor Techniques

Reviewed Publisher: 
Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1994, 314 pages, $49.95.
Reviewed Title: 
Hypnosis: The Application of Ideomotor Techniques
Reviewed Author: 

Anyone wanting to explore the wonders of hypnosis (trance) can have no better guide than this friendly physician who has been exploring the territory for 50 years. Health care professionals looking for a practical method to reaching the underlying causes of medical and behavioral problems (for example, birth trauma) will find inspiration and instruction in these pages.

Members of our Association will be especially interested in the psychological insights which this obstetrician brings to a range of prenatal and perinatal problems. Cheek has been a pioneer in documenting birth trauma and birth imprinting (memory), in psychological prevention of complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and in developing a method by which patients (as co-therapists and colleagues) can access the primal experiences responsible for imprinting of maladaptive behavior.

Readers will no doubt be as delighted with the simplicity of the ideomotor method Cheek teaches as they are with the wisdom and optimism he brings to common problems of gynecology, pregnancy and childbirth. By ideomotor, Cheek means a muscular response to a thought, usually in the form of an unconscious finger signal that stands for Yes, No, or I don't want to answer. Once the signals are established, therapy becomes a creative game of twenty questions to locate the cause of the problem, and then construct a healthy response using the resources of the mature mind. Cheek has done more than anyone to develop this method to its full potential, and, unquestionably, is its most skillful and ingenious practitioner.

Dabney Ewin of Tulane Medical School writes in the Foreword about his disbelief at first hearing David Cheek speak of regression to birth. However, after training, he was working with a patient with asthma who suddenly regressed to birth and told him about the cord around her neck that was choking her to death! After this experience was clarified, the patient discontinued all medication (she had had conventional medical treatment for 50 years) and had no further episodes of asthma. Dr. Ewin also shares how he used the ideomotor method to help himself with a personal feeling of rage. The troubling imprint had occurred when he was 12 days old when he and his mother were still in the hospital following his birth. What happened was something his mother never knew and could not have told him, yet he went to the hospital records and confirmed that his memory in trance was correct.

In the chapter on hypnosis in obstetrics, Cheek calls attention to "the dismal state of obstetrics," particularly its traumatization of babies and its failure to appreciate the psychological factors that affect the well-being of mothers. Readers will discover Cheek's profound understanding of the psychology underlying such common and urgent problems as premature birth, breech and Cesarean deliveries, and long labor. They will also find that he supports vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC), cooperation between obstetricians and midwives, and the normalcy of home birth. Of related interest to our readers will be Cheek's constructive psychological approach to infertility, gynecological problems, use of hypnosis in labor, his understanding of pain, and his appreciation for the phenomenon of maternal-fetal telepathic communication during gestation.

Publication Date: 
12/1994