What are the benefits of using hypnotherapy to treat anxiety?
Understanding Hypnotherapy and Anxiety
Even though hypnotherapy isn’t as widely known as psychotherapy and medication for treating anxiety, researchers and scientists have been studying the effects it can have on mental health conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression for several years.
In one 2016 study, researchers scanned the brains of people while they were undergoing guided hypnosis sessions. They found that a hypnotised brain experiences changes in the brain that give a person:
- focused attention
- greater physical and emotional control
- less self-consciousness
How Hypnotherapy Can Help You Overcome Anxiety
In this dreamlike state, the mind becomes more open to suggestions. This allows the therapist to suggest changes to help you overcome your anxiety.
Because of the relaxed state you’re in, it can be easier to avoid escalating any anxiety symptoms you may feel without the need for drugs (which can present side effects) and lengthy counseling or psychotherapy sessions that may not produce the result you want.
Shift Your Mindset and Overcome Anxiety with Hypnotherapy in Just a Few Sessions
Hypnotherapy is not so concerned about the causes of your anxiety but more with accepting what is and the situation that you’re in and shifting your mindset patterns from negative to positive with a key benefit being that hypnotherapy can shift your anxiety in just a few treatments.
Depending on the severity of your anxiety, hypnotherapy can commonly resolve your anxiety in three to five sessions, although some may require additional sessions.
Integrating Different Therapies for Optimal Results in Hypnotherapy
Some who have a diagnosed anxiety disorder may require medication to support their condition but hypnotherapy can be an effective tool to complement medication to help with managing or mitigating the anxiety symptoms. In these cases, Hypnotherapy may also help to reduce the doses of medication required to alleviate the symptoms.
Managing Anxiety with Hypnotherapy: Empowering Yourself to Take Control
Anxiety cannot be eliminated but it can be managed because life regularly throws all kinds of things at us and the number and frequency of triggers we face, largely due to rapidly changing social, political, economical, environmental, and technological landscapes leaves us less room for feeling calm. With personal safety being a core issue in anxiety, simply knowing you have the ability to relax deeply and reorganise your thoughts, feelings and behaviour through hypnotherapy can have a powerful effect in helping you the better manage stress and anxiety. Additionally, the knowledge that you can deliberately take steps to shift your internal experience can be empowering. Thus managing your anxiety with hypnotherapy allows for better:
- Clearer thinking and problem solving
- Job performance
- Receptivity to new ideas
- Sense of overall wellbeing
Overall, hypnosis is a useful tool to control anxiety, support realistic thinking, and greater flexibility. It supports an increased sense of self-control and calm because the hypnotherapist can teach the participant self-hypnosis and can offer recorded hypnotic inductions which can be utilised by the participant any time they choose.
How is hypnotherapy used to treat anxiety?
Hypnotherapy is not merely the application of hypnosis and most commonly includes the use of other therapies by the hypnotherapist.
Studies have shown that hypnotherapy is most effective when used in conjunction with other therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This means that participants can expect to have CBT incorporated into their sessions along with other therapies such as talking therapy, art therapy, Neuro-linguistic programming, and hypnosis to achieve the best results.
Anxiety can cause you to experience:
- a feeling of impending doom
- shortness of breath
- increased heart rate
- muscle tension
- nervous stomach
Along with therapies, hypnosis can ease these symptoms through the use of relaxation and positive suggestions, and visualisation to change your mindset.
A hypnotherapist can also help the participant reframe their anxiety or situation while under a hypnotic trance through use of techniques such as regression and utilisation of posthypnotic suggestion.
The hypnotherapist may also explore and discuss potential lifestyle changes to help the participant better manage their anxiety. Examples can include the mitigation of triggers, exercise, healthy eating, and better understand their anxiety.
Understanding your anxiety
If you experience anxiety, it can be helpful if you:
- Remember that although your feelings and symptoms are very frightening, they are not dangerous or harmful.
- Understand that what you are experiencing is just an exaggeration of your normal bodily reactions to stress.
- Do not fight your feelings or try to wish them away. The more you are willing to face them the less intense they will become.
- Do not add to your panic by thinking about what “might” happen. If you find yourself asking “what if” tell yourself – so what.
- Stay in the present. Notice what is really happening to you as opposed to what you think might happen.
- Label your fear from zero to ten and watch it go up and down. Notice that it doesn’t stay at a very high level for very long – maybe only a few seconds.
- When you find yourself thinking about fear, change your “what if” thinking. Focus on and carry out a simple and manageable task such as counting backward from 100 by 3’s or snapping a rubber band on your wrist.
- Notice that when you stop adding frightening thoughts to your fear, it begins to fear
- When fear comes, expect and accept it. Wait and give it time to pass without running away from it.
During a hypnotherapy session, the therapist can give you what’s known as a “posthypnotic suggestion” while you’re in a state of trance.