Did you know that anxiety is one of the most common illnesses? Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders every year. And, while there are several well-known forms of treatment for anxiety disorders such as exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and even various medications, more and more people are resorting to more holistic treatments such as hypnosis therapy for anxiety. This brings us to the question, what is hypnotherapy, and does it really treat anxiety?
What is hypnosis or hypnotherapy?
The word hypnosis often conjures the image of a fortune teller or psychic hypnotizing a person by looking into his eyes! Hypnosis is, in fact, a lot less dramatic. A hypnosis therapist will help you relax and focus your mind during a session. Though this state does feel and sound very similar to falling asleep, the mind is able to focus better, and respond to suggestions. It is believed that in this relaxed state, a person is more willing to focus on their subconscious mind and explore some of the deeper issues that they may be combating.
How is hypnotherapy used to treat anxiety?
Researchers and scientists have been exploring and studying the effects of hypnosis on mental health conditions such as PTSD, depression, and even anxiety. In a study conducted in the year 2006, a group of researchers scanned the brains of people as they underwent guided hypnosis sessions. They were able to establish that a hypnotized brain experiences certain changes in the brain that helps a person:
- focus better
- have more physical and emotional control
- feel less self-conscious
So, how can hypnosis be used to treat anxiety? Let us say you have claustrophobia – a fear of closed rooms. During a hypnosis session, your therapist will help you relax your mind, and give you a “posthypnotic suggestion” while you are in a state of trance. Since your mind is more open to suggestions in this dream-like state, it allows the therapist to wipe away your fears, and reassure you how confident you will be even in a closed room. Since you will be in a relaxed state, it will be easier for you to come to terms with the suggestion without escalating any symptoms of anxiety, such as:
- increased heart rate
- a feeling of impending doom
- muscle tension
- shortness of breath
- nervous stomach
In most cases, hypnosis is used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce anxiety dramatically. Many people opt to use only hypnosis to treat symptoms of anxiety and enjoy great results. Therapists use techniques known as hypno-projectives to help treat anxiety. This will help you visualize your past events and see yourself in the future; feeling more calm, peaceful, and confident in the same situation.
If you would like to know about hypnosis therapy for anxiety, and its many benefits, feel free to contact Dr. Eva A. Malanowski at 303-242-7824.