Everything You Need to Know About Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
I recently organised my client files. Hours of work to create a small spreadsheet that gave me a list of reasons people seek my support and how many sessions they attend. Anxiety is the second most popular reason that people come to see me, and weight loss the greatest. However, 70% of anxiety clients have attended in the last three years, compared to 7% of weight loss clients. This does not mean that more people are seeking help for anxiety rather than weight loss, but it does mean more people are seeking my help for anxiety rather than weight loss.
There is a big push on mental health in the media. Public figures regularly speak about their own experiences with anxiety and highlight the importance of seeking support for this often debilitating but manageable disorder.
How Many Hypnotherapy Sessions for Anxiety?
I have worked with a couple of clients over long periods. As is normal in the USA some people like to work with a therapist as self-care. One monthly session for example that gives the opportunity to offload, reframe, and time for introspection. When I take these clients away from my statistics the average number of sessions that people will attend to understand and manage anxiety is three. I always offer a free initial consultation which feels much like a therapy session due to the nature of the questions I ask. Whilst I do not use active hypnosis in that session and it may feel less like an active session, I still consider it talking therapy. Therefore, the average number of hypnotherapy sessions for anxiety in my practice is four.
Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
Some therapists work to a protocol. They have a set plan which they follow on a session-by-session basis. In some circumstances this is a great way to work. Whilst the reason for anxiety is personal, the symptoms of anxiety and the process in the brain is the same. I prefer to work in an individual way. In the past when I experimented with a rigid plan my client arrived with stories of an unanticipated week. To stick to the plan would ignore current problems, which often exasperate the original worry. I like to combine a structure with personalised therapeutic tools. My initial consultation is broad and designed to clear the muddle. An overwhelming feeling of anxiety narrows down into something that we can work towards eradicating or easily managing.
How Effective is Hypnotherapy for Anxiety?
In my blog post ‘why hypnosis isn’t the therapy’ I explain how hypnotherapy combines hypnosis with therapy. Depending on the therapy used hypnotherapy is effective at helping the symptoms of anxiety. When you have anxious thoughts, your mind is either racing ahead, panicking about the future, or looking back worrying about the past. Using hypnosis to practise mindfulness techniques will give you the tools you need to maintain a focus on the present moment relieving you of anxious thinking.
How Effective is Hypnotherapy for Social Anxiety
The diagnostic criteria for social anxiety covers ten different points. The first point is a marked fear or anxiety about social situations (one or more) in which you feel exposed to potential scrutiny by others. The following nine points circle around the fear. The social situation, which you avoid or endure must always provoke fear. You fear judgement. Your fear is out of proportion to the threat, is persistent, causes significant distress and cannot be the effect of something else such as another illness or substance abuse.
Social anxiety can make people seem highly controlling of situations. Or more likely inadequately assertive or excessively submissive. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, your brain does not differentiate between real and imagined experiences. A hypnotherapist will use hypnosis, visualisation, and therapeutic tools to help you function better and even excel in social situations. Hypnosis gives you a perfect state of focus to visualise and improve interoception. This will enable you to manage the fear you feel, so hypnotherapy for social anxiety is a great option.
Does Hypnotherapy work for Anxiety?
There are lots of different ways that hypnotherapy will help anxiety. Some therapists will help you find the root cause of your anxiety. Often using hypnosis to delve into your past. Many anxiety disorders develop in childhood and persist if not treated. Investigating the past might give you an awareness of why you developed an anxiety disorder. This helps to understand and reinterpret the situations in which you experience the feelings.
During a hypnotherapy session you will benefit from different therapy applications depending on the modality in which your therapist is experienced in. Before I begin any therapy, I ensure you have a good understanding of your autonomic nervous system. Sometimes understanding what and why you feel the physical feelings that you do alleviates a bulk of anxiety. From then on, I like to teach you how to practise mindful introspection and mindfulness to remain in the present moment. The combination moves you away from the ‘what ifs’ that anxiety causes towards a full understanding and control of yourself.
I find visualisation powerful and include it in most therapy sessions. This might be visualising a situation exactly as it will happen to prepare or creating a form of protection in your mind. I will also teach you techniques to calm your mind and body when you feel anxiety rising. My intention when working together is to give you the power to manage you and thus help your anxiety.
Hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy and useful in conjunction with medication or without depending on how you choose to tackle it. If your anxiety is transient, it is not a disorder. However hypnotherapy for anxiety and panic attacks is something to explore if you struggle to leave the feelings behind regardless of whether you experience the feelings intermittently or persistently.