Anxiety and depression are two of the most prevalent mental health problems these days.

They are often a reaction to life’s difficult events and traumatic experiences.

And when left ignored, anxiety and depression can affect our work, relationship, and all aspects of our life.

Good thing, there are several treatment options for these two mental health problems.

And among the most sought-after ones is hypnotherapy. This therapy involves the use of hypnosis – an altered state of consciousness.

Hypnotherapy has been widely used primarily for people who want to break bad habits, manage pain, and counter phobia.

But there are also scientific studies that suggest hypnotherapy may work well in alleviating anxiety and depression.

Hypnotherapy & Anxiety

Anxiety is the feeling of fear, unease or worry. We all get anxious from time to time.

But when it becomes too overwhelming that it starts to affect our life, that’s the time anxiety becomes a disorder.

Anxiety is often the main symptom of many other mood disorders, such as phobia, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) makes a person anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.

This mental health problem can cause physical and mental symptoms, from feelings of restlessness to difficulty concentrating and insomnia.

Hypnotherapy is well-promoted as a treatment for anxiety disorder. Even though research is limited, a few significant studies suggest that it really works.

For instance, a 2007 systematic review by the University of York, UK, suggests that hypnosis was superior to both music relaxation and no treatment at all.

It was specifically proven effective for treating GAD, trauma-related anxiety, phobic anxiety and test anxiety.

Hypnosis was also proven effective for relieving anxiety related to pregnancy and childbirth. 

Another study, carried out by researchers from University of Utah School of Medicine in 2010, suggests that hypnosis training represents a rapid, cost-effective, non-addictive and safe alternative to medication for the treatment of anxiety-related conditions, including headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.

Hypnotherapy & Depression

Depression is more than feeling blue. It involves more severe, and physically and mentally paralysing sadness that carries on for over two weeks.

Many different situations can trigger the onset of depression, such as job loss, death of a loved one, divorce or separation, bankruptcy, or home foreclosure.

People with depression experience strong sense of hopelessness, which makes it difficult for them to deal with their day to day tasks, even the most basic ones like getting up from bed or going to work.

They are also likely to isolate themselves due to the belief that they are better off alone or that no one understands them.

And because of these serious symptoms of depression, there is no wonder why it is one of leading causes of suicide worldwide.

Whilst antidepressants and medications are available, most if not all, are designed to relieve the symptoms, and not really alleviate the root cause of depression.

If a depressed person talks to a counsellor, and talk about their feelings, they begin to gain clarity of why they are feeling such way.

At the same time, therapists may use relaxation techniques combined with positive affirmations to help the patient overcome the symptoms of depression.

Clinical hypnotherapy works for depression because it targets the underlying basis of depression, and completes the “unfinished business” that otherwise continues to recycle as self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviours.

With hypnotherapy, the person can go down deeper to their traumatic experiences, memories and stored emotions, but from a detached perspective and slowly release them from the mind and body.

Furthermore, they can release fearful repetitive thoughts that hunt them down following such traumatic experience.

And once these self-sabotaging behaviours get resolved, the patient can utilise hypnotic suggestibility to improve their new perspective and functioning.

In 2007, research from University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, represents the first controlled comparison of hypnotherapy with a well-established psychotherapy for depression, meeting the APA criteria for a “probably efficacious” treatment for depression.

They found that the study participants who went through cognitive hypnotherapy had greater reduction in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness, respectively, over and above those who received cognitive behavioural therapy.

There is a great deal of scientific evidences attesting to the significant benefits of hypnotherapy in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

So if you or someone you know who is going through any of these mental health disorders, give hypnotherapy a try. 

And of course I’d love to hear your stories.

Richard Scott
Clinical hypnotherapist

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