When someone thinks of hypnotherapy many times they think of a stage hypnotist making people act like chickens and dogs. As much as that may be entertaining for the observer, hypnotherapy has a very important place in my anxiety healing practice. I want you to become familiarized with the term ‘critical faculty’ which is the security guard to maintaining your old childhood beliefs and your present anxious identity. Logic doesn’t help us send the critical faculty out to lunch in order to install new meanings over our past traumas, however…
Hypnotherapy can by-pass the critical faculty for just long enough to send a clear signal of safety to the traumatized body which is spurring on anxiety.
Hypnotherapy is a technique that aids a person into going into a trance, also known as altered state of awareness. When a person is in the state of hypnosis, she or he benefits from heightened focus, clarity of thought and deep relaxation. The practice has found immense use in improving one’s health, which includes addiction control, skin treatment, sleep disorders, weight loss, digestive issues, depression, etc.
One of the profound benefits of hypnotherapy targeted at anxiety relief.
Hypnotherapy starts with conversing with the client and gently transferring him or her into a deep state of relaxation. This state of relaxation is a natural response to what is known as an induction, and each one of us experiences it on a regular basis when we are on the verge of sleeping. We are talking about that very moment when we are about to sleep but still are conscious about what is going on around us.
However, there are varying degrees of hypnotherapy from the mildest feeling to the deepest states which increase our connection to our subconscious minds.
Hypnosis is a creatively relaxing, enjoyable and invigorating way to heal deeply rooted emotional issues. Hypnotherapy has helped people concentrate better, get rid of anxiety and surge ahead with a richer, resourceful life, leaving behind deterrents like fears, phobias, addiction, anxiety, depressions and such disparaging conditions that play havoc with our productivity. Hypnosis can also reduce anxiety and stress before a medical procedure. For example a surgery procedure or something that you have fear of, for instance a fear of driving (use this guided YouTube video for fear of driving) or adventure sports.
There have been numerous studies that show the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for anxiety sufferers. Here is how this method of relaxation and creative thinking helps eliminate many mental conditions int today’s world.
Stress and anxiety
With hypnotherapy, you are moved to a state of deep relaxation, which means you are free from stress and invasive thoughts. A good hypnotherapist shows you how to induce or elicit this state naturally by yourself so that you have proactive control of negative and anxiety-ridden thoughts.
Sleep and anxiety
Lack of sleep and inability to sleep are identifiable signs of anxiety. Most often, anxiety sufferers also get sleep terrors and nightmares due to conflicting thoughts in their subconscious mind. Hypnosis has been used as a positive intervention to bring about blissful and adequate sleep, which in turn leads to benefits for your overall health.
PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder associated with traumatic or stressful life events, which can also be termed as adverse experiences. In the case of PTSD, a traumatic memory can get entangled and remained lodged in the subconscious mind (and body). Some of the symptoms include severe anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbances, irritable or aggressive behavior, mood swings; etc.
Hypnotherapy helps PTSD sufferers get rid of anxiety and other symptoms through relaxation, regression work, identifying triggers and seeing them as challenges instead, and aversion therapy. Aversion therapy works in conjunction with relaxation and identification of triggers. Through hypnotherapy, a person vividly imagines the stimulus or stimuli that is leading to the negative emotional state today and reframes the experience therefore rebuilding that old broken relationship they have.
Anxiety and panic attacks
Extreme episodes of anxiety manifests in the form of panic attacks. Hypnotherapy, through guided imagery and relaxation helps in putting those fears, apprehension, and anxiety to rest. The hypnotherapist will help the client stay relaxed and become aware of their panic attacks, the changing emotions, the physical symptoms like shaking, tightness in jaw, and heavy beating of the heart; etc.
Then the hypnotherapist will use calming words to help you feel composed, so that in the face of such a situation, you remain unnerved and focussed. The hypnotherapist will also look to embed new programs into the mind body system that will in turn lead to seeing the anxiety and panic as suppressed energy and not something catastrophic.
How does hypnotherapy work for anxiety?
When an individual meets a hypnotherapist to discuss their anxiety, the hypnotherapist will look to build trust between the client and the coach. Since hypnotherapy is an unfamiliar state for anxiety sufferers they will quickly get to a place of trust within the practice hence giving up the need for certainty and the control they are fighting for. Then the hypnotherapist will work on a blend of imagination, exploration and suggestion to resolve the issue.
Once the client is put in a relaxed state of mind, the hypnotherapist will encourage the person to infuse positive imagery, seeing herself as someone who has a confidence in assessing the situation and addressing the challenge with a calm, problem solving approach.
The hypnotherapist may also encourage the client to explore deeper into their subconscious mind and think of similar situations that connect to present distress. With the aid of suggestion and possibly somatic engagement, the hypnotherapist helps the client understand that stress and anxiety can only complicate issues. So one has to keep a clear mind to solve any problem in life.
As mentioned, a trance-like state of mind is imperative for making the full use of of this practice and curing anxiety.
How long does a hypnosis session last for anxiety related conditions?
A typical hypnosis session can last from 60 to 90 minutes. It is up to the understanding and discretion of the therapist but for a typical condition like PTSD, the sessions can be in the form of two or three sessions per week, The sessions can run over the course of weeks or even months.
Long term benefits of hypnosis in curing anxiety
Repeated sessions of hypnosis help in reconditioning your subconscious mind, making it powerful enough to combat negative thoughts and anxious feelings. In fact, it can make you certain and calm enough to take on any challenge.
It is important to change our thought patterns from negative and nervousness to positive and resourcefulness. The basis for this change is that your mind needs to be relaxed and calm. After one feels calm, the hypnotherapist focusses on behaviors that you’d like to change. Words of encouragement like ‘You are no longer anxious’, and suggestions like “If you feel anxious, pause, take a deep breath and feel a rush of energy through you” are commonly used.
The hypnotherapist also discusses the insights and progress of the client at the end of every session. Anxiety can also give rise to physiological issues like IBD (irritable bowel syndrome), acidity, blood pressure fluctuations and more. On a long-term basis, hypnosis not only helps you get rid of the essential problem, which is anxiety, but also its physiological effects.