Hypnotherapy is not all about being in a state of trance there’s a lot of discussion and understanding to be gained beforehand to ensure the most useful approach is used. I will also teach the client useful behavioural and psychological strategies to complement the hypnosis element of a session.
When working with anxiety clients it is really important to take a look at the whole picture. During assessment I will find out about work and home life this will give me an idea of the clients support systems such as friends and family, external stresses such as a challenging job and whether there are other big life changes which could be contributing to anxiety such as divorce, financial worries or other pressures. I will also touch briefly on past life events or trauma as these can continue to impact on wellbeing long after they have occurred. I will also ask about sleep quality, diet, health and alcohol consumption. Reflecting on all of these aspects of life can create an awareness of what a client can begin to change themselves. Sometimes just realising you’ve been through the mill, and are currently in a stressful period of life can be enough to help someone see how this has created anxiety and how best to address it. This is the first way that hypnotherapy can help.
The second way that hypnotherapy helps anxiety is through the very deep state of calmness and relaxation that is experienced during hypnosis. There are many different methods, styles and theories of hypnosis the first method that I use for anxiety sufferers is focused on creating a very deep state of mental and physical calmness. During this session breathing slows and deepens, heart rate decreases, blood pressure lowers, the body goes into rest and digest mode and I often refer to it as a ‘mental massage’. At the same time the subconscious mind receives suggestions to let go of fears and worries and generate feelings of safety and security. Whatever suggestions I feel are appropriate and beneficial to the client are used. Often clients report that they’ve never felt so relaxed, although it’s fair to say others take a while to let go and relax, after all it’s not their natural default setting.
The third way Hypnotherapy helps with anxiety is after the session. The suggestions that were given to the client in the session are called ‘post hypnotic suggestions’ which means that these come into effect after the hypnosis has ended. The client will become aware of changes to how they are feeling, thinking and responding to situations after the session. During a session I might have created an anchor that they feel calm each time they enter a supermarket (if that had been a cause of anxiety for them) I often set ‘homework’ to complement the hypnotherapy sessions. This could be practising breathing techniques known to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and avert feelings of panic or it could be to listen to a hypnosis recording between sessions so practice that deep state of relaxation and lower levels of stress.
I hope that this has been an insight into how hypnotherapy can help with anxiety. I will write more soon about the various techniques that can be used when working with anxious clients.
Let me know your thoughts on this or please do get in touch if you think hypnotherapy can help you.