Hypnotherapy’s Role in Combatting Adolescent Social Media Addiction


Andri, is a 17-year-old who believes his social media use increased during Covid-19. He seeks entertainment and information online, and feels anxious when he is not accessing social media. Nisa is a 16-year-old who spends time on social media to stay updated on K-Pop idols. He fears missing news and feels restless without constant access. He locks himself in his room with his device, so he is the first to hear any new news.


In an era dominated by digital connectivity, addiction to social media is a pressing concern, particularly among adolescents. We have more platforms than ever, and access is everywhere you look. As a result, there is increasingly more evidence of detrimental effects of excessive screen time on mental health and well-being. This leads to various problems.


Current conversation suggests a possible link between ADHD and screen use. Imran Rashid, author of ‘Turn Off’, a book about the effect of technology, writes,


“The brain is extremely plastic and shapes itself according to the way we use it. So hyperstimulation via screens can almost train you up to attention deficit disorder, similar to ADHD”.


Although the belief is that ADHD is hereditary for approximately 80 percent of people, the environment plays a role in the severity of the symptoms.


Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Niels Bilenberg says,


“The combination of genetic predisposition to ADHD and an environment with low social contact and less stimulation is central.”




Treatment for Social Media Addiction with Hypnotic-Oriented Counselling


A recent study in Indonesia, involving two high school students with severe social media addiction, Andri and Nisa, explored the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in reducing social media addiction through five sessions. Treatment included motivation enhancement, emotional release, conflict resolution, and empowerment techniques.


The researchers write about the problem in Indonesia, but this is likely similar across the board, with the prevalence of social media addiction among adolescents aged 13-24 concerning. The research study explores hypnotherapy as a potential solution to address addictive behaviours through unconscious interventions. They claim hypnotic-oriented counselling can empower individuals to regain control over their social media habits, create positive behavioural changes, and reduce addiction-related distress. This approach targets unconscious mechanisms to facilitate lasting change and improve overall well-being, offering promise in addressing the growing issue among adolescents.


The five-week structured therapy sessions have specific goals for each session. The first session focuses on boosting motivation through direct suggestion techniques, helping clients envision overcoming their addiction to gain self-control. The second session involves emotional release using parts therapy, allowing clients to let go of negative emotions hindering change. The third session addresses conflict resolution, identifying and reconciling conflicting unconscious parts. The fourth session empowers clients to envision success through the circle of excellence technique. Finally, the fifth session evaluates progress and creates a relapse prevention plan using anchors for self-control.


The Results of Hypnotherapy for Social Media Addiction


The data from all research phases indicate a significant decrease in social media use for both participants. The analysis reveals a 100% intervention effect for Andri and 80% for Nisa, demonstrating the effectiveness of hypnotic-oriented counselling in reducing addiction to social media. Research calculations further support significant reductions in total social media addiction following the intervention phases for both participants.


Both claim benefit from the hypnotic-oriented counselling intervention. Andri noted a reduction in perceived addiction, experiencing a shift in mindset and behaviour towards improved self-control and increased interaction with peers. Similarly, Nisa’s transition from isolated social media use to engaging more with his surroundings, alleviating feelings of anxiety and fear of missing out, demonstrate effectiveness of the intervention. Both participants’ responses indicate positive changes in their behaviour, reflected in improved scores on the Adolescent Social Media Addiction Scale. They also expressed satisfaction with the counselling sessions, highlighting benefits such as enhanced self-control and improved academic performance.

In Conclusion


Although we need significantly more research to give a clear answer on whether hypnosis will help someone with social media addiction, the results look promising. People successfully use hypnotherapy to recover from other addictive behaviours, and it’s likely this will show positive results in the same way. When I work with clients with addiction problems, I find it beneficial to explore more deeply and find healthy habits and lifestyle changes to ensure the recovery is lifelong. This type of addiction poses significant challenges, particularly among adolescents. Considering the ongoing discussion on the impact of technology on mental health, including the potential link between screen use and ADHD, holistic approaches like hypnotherapy remain important when addressing the multifaceted challenges of digital addiction, paving the way for healthier habits and improved well-being.





Sugara, G.S., Fadhilah, R. Treatment for social media addiction with hypnotic-oriented counseling. Discov Psychol 4, 13 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s44202-024-00125-6