Hypnosis for Anxiety (A brief Guide)
In this guide, we will discuss Hypnosis for Anxiety treatment, how it works and what are the benefits of Hypnosis for Anxiety.
Is Hypnosis for Anxiety effective?
Hypnosis for anxiety (hypnotherapy) promotes self-confidence and belief in oneself while you are in a state below the threshold of your awareness implementing subliminal messages, helping you cope with anxiety, reducing stress levels and symptoms such as excessive fear or worrying.
This therapy uses subconscious persuasion through Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), providing calming thoughts.
Quite often I hear people saying “that doesn’t work” or “it’s just a waste of time” but when asked if they have tried it, their answer is the same “no, why should I”, then I reply “why shouldn’t you?”.
To be certain if something works, it is necessary to at least give it a try.
There are many well-known therapies that have proven through scientific evidence that can help treat anxiety-related symptoms, come of them are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), exposure therapy or even anti-anxiety medication.
However, some people have even considered and tried hypnotherapy when none of the others seem to provide the relief they need.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is described by the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis as “a state of focused attention and receptivity which can be an extremely useful tool for individuals wishing to master certain abilities and accomplish specific tasks.
It has a long history, going back hundreds of years, and was originally used by clergymen, physicians, neurologists, psychologists, and others involved in the healing arts”.
Hypnosis for Anxiety: Does it really work?
We know that hypnosis exists but our knowledge in the vast majority of cases is limited to what we have seen in movies about being in front of someone under some kind of trance that we fear sometimes we may never get out of and they aren’t there to try to control your mind.
Hypnotherapists guide you to explore your mind and things you could have repressed such as painful feelings, thoughts, and memories while you are on a state similar to when you sleep.
According to WebMD, hypnotherapy can be used in two ways:
- Suggestion therapy: in the relaxed and hypnotic state, the person responds better to suggestions. As a result, people change their behaviors such as nail-biting or smoking. It can also help people change the way they feel and perceive pain.
- Analysis: here, in the relaxed hypnotic state, the hypnotherapist guides you to explore possible unconscious factors that may be related to conflict as a traumatic event that has been hidden and locked away as a defense mechanism.
What is Anxiety?
Just as misinformed about hypnosis we are sometimes for anxiety.
Anxiety is very common, and everyone gets to experience this feeling throughout the course of their lives.
However, anxiety is a physiological response when we are facing a potentially harmful or life-threatening situation and this response (fight or flight) guarantees our wellbeing and our survival.
When the innate response of anxiety activates our body in a situation that has been a traumatic life event or stressful, then it is when this response tends to keep repeating every time we are facing another situation with similar characteristics.
The disorders included in this category are and we will discuss the most common:
- Separation anxiety disorder
- Selective mutism
- Specific phobia,
- Social anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Substance-induced anxiety
- Anxiety disorder due to another medical condition
This type of anxiety disorder is characterized by the fear of situations where escaping may be difficult or too embarrassing, or help might not be available if the person suffering from a panic attack.
This fear is considered out of proportion when contrasted with reality and it usually lasts 6 months or more causing problems in daily life activities.
Someone with agoraphobia experiences fear in 2 or more of these situations:
- Being in open spaces
- Being outside their home alone
- Being in reduced or enclosed spaces
- Being in open spaces
- Using public transportation (crowded)
People suffering from agoraphobia tend to avoid those situations, ask someone else to be with them or go through those situations with intense symptoms of fear and anxiety.
If left untreated it can even be really disabling and the person may even be unable to leave home.
The main characteristic of this type of anxiety disorder is the excessive and persistent fear of a situation, activity or object that is not harmful.
Some of them are aware that their phobia is excessive but are unable to control it.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
People with separation anxiety disorder feel really anxious when separating from someone they are really attached to.
To meet diagnostic criteria, it needs to be present and persist for at least 4 weeks in children and 6 months in adults and cause significant disruption in daily life activities.
They tend to be worried and think about losing that someone who is really close to them, may refuse to go to sleep away from that person or may experience nightmares about being separated from them.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
A person with this anxiety disorder feels highly uncomfortable when being humiliated, embarrassed or rejected in social interactions.
They will behave avoiding being exposed to those situations or will go through them with intense anxiety symptoms.
Examples of situations they tend to avoid are meeting new people or speaking in public.
The symptoms need to be present for at least 6 months and cause disruption in daily activities to meet the diagnosis of SAD.
What are the benefits of hypnosis for anxiety?
When combined with other treatments, it can have the following results:
Downsides of Hypnosis for Anxiety or any other mental disorder
- Hypnotherapy can’t be used in people with psychotic symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) or someone with a current history of substance abuse.
- Hypnosis is also not recommended for major psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or personality disorders.
- While hypnotherapy helps to recover repressed memories or events it is believed that it has a risk of creating false memories (unintended suggestion from the therapist).
Is hypnosis for anxiety dangerous?
It is not considered a dangerous procedure since it is not intended with mind-controlling purposes.
The therapist shouldn’t force you to do anything you don’t feel you want to do.
The greatest risk here is as we discussed, the possibility of creating false memories.
Who performs hypnosis?
It should be performed by a licensed or certified professional, who is well trained in this technique.
Sample case: Arachnophobia
- Stoping your subconscious thoughts…
Let’s think about how hypnotherapy could be used in a person that has a specific phobia towards spiders (arachnophobia).
So we can think of some underlying causes such as getting bitten by a spider and dying from it or you might have seen someone that got bitten and was in a hospital for a couple of days, etc.
While the fear remains, the anxiety will remain. This fear can become manageable since you are not always in contact with spiders and if you go somewhere that you know may have some you will learn to cope with it but will be very uncomfortable the whole time.
- Examining the subconscious…
The main idea of hypnosis is helping people examine the subconscious, and here is how:
In the hypnotic state, the mind and body are calmed, relaxed.
Here, while on this state, we are able to go past our rational and critical thoughts so we can move right into the subconscious.
Next, we search for those automatic thoughts.
In this case why we fear spiders. This involves following a series of steps such as:
- Naming and examining what you are feeling: before you get started, the hypnotherapist might ask you to describe the feelings and emotions that being in front of a spider or even looking at it evokes. Then you can isolate and identify the triggers of your fear and indicate where in your body you can locate those feelings. (e.g. Fater heart rate in the heart or dryness in your throat).
- Learning about your past experiences with anxiety…
- Exploring your subconscious mind is easier since it has direct access to it. Past experiences are where your anxiety lives so the hypnotherapist might ask you to talk about one of those first experiences (with spiders, in this case). This will help you understand the emotion that you experience while you are facing this kind of situation.
- Feeling relieved from past experiences
- Our minds can learn pretty fast, especially negative experiences. So in our example, let’s say you had a bad experience at a friend’s house where you got bitten by a spider, it was really painful, you panicked and fainted. While we are on the hypnotic state we can turn around those negative experiences and replace them with something positive.
How many sessions are required?
You may start noticing changes after the first session, but it is important to keep reshaping your subconscious thoughts.
Your hypnotherapist will suggest how many sessions are needed depending on the progress.
Researchers perspective on anxiety treatment effectivity
If you look over the data across some studies, you will find overall that they seem to agree on the effectiveness of hypnosis for anxiety.
The British Psychological Society and the British Medical Society, they both include hypnotherapy as part of their treatment options.
Why is this blog about Hypnosis for Anxiety important?
If you are living with anxiety you might be feeling frustrated because you have tried everything and nothing seems to work.
However, you have probably heard of someone that has used hypnosis for anxiety or you have done your research about it and would like to give it a try.
Well, it is a good option to help you relief those anxiety symptoms that seem to control your life, your relationship, your work, everywhere you are your anxiety is there.
Waiting to get activated in the blink of an eye.
Regain control of your life, it is never late!
Please feel free to comment on the content on the comments section down below.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety
- Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.
- Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.
- Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night. An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hypnosis for Anxiety
Can hypnosis be dangerous?
Hypnosis is not considered dangerous if it is applied by a trained therapist or health professional.
This is a complementary and alternative medical treatment, however, hypnosis may not be a good treatment option for people with severe mental illness.
Can hypnosis help with mental illness?
Hypnosis can help to treat some mental illnesses such as anxiety, severe stress or depression helping to improve the symptoms.
Hypnosis is not an exact science and sometimes requires to be used with other treatment options.
Particularly for long-term, chronic problems, it may take several hypnosis sessions to see results.
What can be cured with hypnosis?
Can hypnosis be permanent?
No, hypnosis is not permanent.
It might help you recover memories but there is no guarantee of its success.
Can everyone be hypnotized?
No, not everyone can be hypnotized.
It depends on the brain.
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