Hypnosis for Mental Health
Many people never think about hypnosis and how it is used apart from stop smoking sessions which were made popular in ’70s and ’80s yet it has also been used for years to help address mental health issues. Hypnosis for mental health is a vast area and covers help for depression, anxiety, fears and phobias, eating disorders, addictions and much more. Let’s talk about hypnosis therapy is far more than an aid to stop someone quitting cigarettes.
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Hypnotherapy for Mental Health
As hypnotherapists, we don’t just sit there and put someone into a trance and send them out the door an hour later cured. Instead, we have a complex set of roles that we need to fulfil in order to help our clients. You can read more about the psychology of hypnosis and how it works in our article on the subject here. We also consider the following factors when someone arranges sessions with us.
Understand their problem – Step one is that we actually need to understand why our clients need our help. In many cases, the client may not know what the problem is themselves. Or they think they know what the problem is but have actually not got it quite right. So our first job is to listen to their stories and note what is being said and what is left unsaid.
Take time to delve a little deeper – During our assessment we also take time to ask questions. This is why private therapy can often be so effective. You are paying for time to be listened to which many doctors don’t have time to do in normal appointments. This time of questioning can be crucial for understanding other factors that might be problematic.
Understand lifestyle Issues – We also take time to learn about your lifestyle. This is important because sometimes our clients are leading lives which are not conducive to good mental health. As an example working too hard, not resting or relaxing and not getting enough sleep can create big psychological problems.
Understand Psychological Problems – Hypnosis for mental health also involves understanding what psychological problems were already pre-existing before our clients came through the door. Many of our clients have suffered from anxiety or depression for many years before they sought help from a therapist. We also need to work safely with our clients. Generally, if severe depression or suicidal ideation is present we should generally only work in conjunction with doctors support.
Give positive suggestions – Once we know the problems that are present we start with positive suggestions. Positive suggestions are given in trance to help our clients see and do things in a different way. Repeated positive suggestions aimed at the real problem can make a difference at by changing subconscious thought patterns.
Coaching/Counsellor – We also talk to our clients outside of hypnosis. Over the years we will have many tips, strategies, counselling or coaching techniques that can help our clients.
Getting to the root cause – Where hypnosis for mental health comes into its own is with analytical hypnosis to discover the root causes of a problem. When our clients are in a deeper state of hypnosis it is possible to question them and get them to remember what the real problem actually is. We have direct access to the subconscious which other therapists never get close to.
Getting Our clients to see things differently – When we know what the actual problems are then therapeutic suggestions, reframing, positive visualisation and other techniques can be used to help our clients let go of their issues.
Hypnosis is its own very distinct form of therapy which differs from counselling, psychotherapy or psychology because for a portion of the sessions our clients are in trance. That means that they are in a state of focused concentrated attention that allows us to access a part of their mind, the subconscious, which is generally working in the background automatically and without conscious thought.
Our subconscious thought patterns are created in childhood and then continue to operate in the background well into adulthood. The patterns that are in place can become entrenched if more issues come along as we get older to compound our original views of the world which are sometimes skewed.
As hypnotherapists, we need to understand what were the original thought patterns and help our clients see things from a different perspective or challenge thoughts that may no longer have any relevance or usefulness.
So how does hypnosis for mental health do this in practice?
Hypnotherapy for Phobias
Phobias and fears are incredibly common in fact most people will have at least one. For the most part, they may not bother us too deeply but for others, they are life-changing and create fear and upset.
Every phobia or fear will impact each person differently. A person may hate heights but can quite happily get on with their life without it having much impact providing they avoid their triggers. They may never care about climbing up a tall ladder or going on a rollercoaster so they can live a relatively normal life. This isn’t the case if the person is, for example, a truck driver who has to drive over tall bridges and the fear is stopping them from doing their job.
Hypnosis for phobias can help to change the anxiety response and tackle the underlying causes of the problem. There are a number of ways that hypnosis can help such as dampening down the anxiety response by making the client relaxed. Whilst the client is in the relaxed trance state they can be exposed to their trigger fears. Usually, the hypnotherapist will start at the lower end of the fear scale with exposure therapy and work their way upwards.
Discovering the root cause of the problem under hypnosis can also completely change the way a client thinks about their problem. For example, we have just finished working with a lady with spider phobias. The first time she became scared of them was when she was five years old and she heard her mum screaming because she had found one in the kitchen sink. When we explained to our client that what she had really been afraid of was the scream it changed her mindset. Now she is able to catch spiders if she needs without the same crippling fear.
Hypnosis for Anxiety Disorders
Hypnotherapy for mental health is often used to help with anxiety disorders. Anxiety problems cover six distinct problem areas including generalised anxiety, OCD, fears and phobias, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
What is common to all anxiety disorders is that they create issues related to extreme worry or fear about situations that haven’t happened yet. This creates distress for our clients and can stop them living a full life as they battle to stop the fears overwhelming them.
Mental health hypnosis can calm down the anxiety response by the use of hypnotherapy to reduce stress levels. In addition, analytical hypnosis can address the real reasons for the anxieties which in most cases are rooted in the past. As an example, one of our clients was terrified of getting on a plane. Her problem was not flying as she originally thought but claustrophobia which started in childhood when she got stuck in a drawer under a bed. Traditional therapy would have treated her fear of flying but hypnotic therapy addressed the actual reasons for the problem.
Anxiety Self-Help Products
Our anxiety hypnosis downloads, anxiety tracker printables and online course can also help with feelings of fear, stress and worry. They may not involve the deep trance states that look at root causes but they can help to dampen down the anxiety response.
Many of our anxiety self-help products are perfect mental health hypnosis tools as they help our clients to manage their condition. Our clients often report feeling calmer, more relaxed and in control when they have regularly practised self-hypnosis and completed our other anxiety exercises.
Hypnosis for mental health can also help with depression but with caution. Severe depression often involves a client having suicidal thoughts which could be acted on at any moment. This client instability means that working safely is not easy and certainly not to be undertaken by a hypnotherapist who is not highly trained. In the majority of cases, we prefer doctors to work with severe depression first in order to stabilise the client. Then we may work with them providing other health professionals are available to support their journey.
When it comes to mild and moderate depression our clients are more able to work on the root causes of their problem. Some of the reasons may be clearly obvious such as cases of abuse or traumatic incidents but in many cases, our clients don’t know why they feel the way they do. Hypnotherapy for depression can help them to understand their feelings and then help them to alter the way in which they think about the incidents which created their problem.
Hypnosis for Schizophrenia and Psychiatric Hypnosis
Whilst hypnosis for mental health issues may be incredibly helpful with some conditions it is contraindicated for others such as schizophrenia or more severe mental health issues. No matter how much training your hypnotherapist has very few are medical doctors or psychiatrists. In fact, in many countries, hypnosis is not even regulated which means that anyone could be messing with your mind. This is a dangerous combination when it comes to schizophrenia or psychotic disorders.
If you do choose to see a hypnotherapist for any severe condition be extremely careful in establishing what their knowledge and experience are. Also, try and involve your consultants or doctors so that there is medical support if it is needed.
Addiction and Mental Health Hypnosis
Addictions can also be helped with hypnosis for mental health as many of them are fueled by negative thought patterns or feelings. We know that when we help our clients to say moderate their drinking that they have been using alcohol as a way of numbing themselves. Alcohol is just the symptom of the addiction but it is usually not the whole story.
When therapy is conducted with our clients there are usually other problems that need to be addressed which can go some way to resolving the addiction or unhelpful behaviour. As an example, a huge number of our drink less clients experience problems because of stress. Too much stress makes our clients feel out of control and so they drink as a coping mechanism to feel better or to forget their worries. We help our clients to address the stress issues. When we do that the drinking usually starts to lessen as well.
The same methodology applies when working with gambling, drugs, shopping addiction, sex addiction or even technology. We aim to find out why our clients have their problems rather than just giving them simple suggestions to stop.
Eating Disorders Hypnosis and Mental Health
Finally, we can’t discuss mental health hypnosis without talking about eating disorders. These can range from Binge eating and bulimia to anorexia.
Eating disorders are usually fueled not just by habit but emotions. Typically our clients have issues with anxiety and stress, low self-esteem, perfectionist tendencies, loneliness or feeling unwanted. As with addiction issues, the food is the symptom and a coping mechanism for other underlying issues. Discover the other issues and work on those and that brings about changes with food.
The one thing we don’t do with clients who have problems with food is put them on nutritional programs. Hypnosis for mental health is designed to address the psychological problems that are present rather than present clients with diet plans.
Interestingly many eating disorders such as binge eating are usually mistaken for overeating by our clients. They may have gone for years trying every diet going not realising that those very diets were only fueling the problem.
Mental Health Hypnosis Therapy
Hypnosis for mental health spans a number of issues but it is not that shocking to hear that many of these problems are interconnected. We have clients who are binge eaters and suffer from anxiety or people with depression who drink too much. There is often little point trying to label our clients as there are often links between problems. What we do know is that our programs give us time to examine the links and address the real problems rather than the surface issues.
If you would like to know more information about our good mental health programs then simply fill out the form below to discuss your particular problems with a therapist.
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