Australia’s most common mental health condition is anxiety, which affects an estimated three million people nationwide each year. For those who are living with and being treated for anxiety, the most common options for treatment include therapy and medication. It is not commonly known that hypnotherapy can be used to stop anxiety, and it is both effective and safe and can have profound and long-lasting positive effects on a person’s mental health.
What is hypnotherapy and what is it used for?
Hypnotherapy, which is also commonly referred to as hypnosis, refers to a state of trance where concentration and focus is optimised. This state can be achieved with the help of a therapist but is actually a naturally occurring state that you may have experienced before. You may have found yourself doing something on ‘autopilot’ before or without realising you had performed that action, which is similar feeling to having hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy has been used by practitioners for hundreds of years as a means of treating a myriad of health conditions, including those that affect mental health. It has been known to be remarkably effective in the treatment of anxiety and can be used by people who wish to gain or re-gain control over any type of behaviour they would prefer they didn’t exhibit, which can, in turn, help them cope with or stop anxiety.
To practice hypnotherapy a therapist must be highly trained in the use of techniques that help an individual to reach the altered state of consciousness required for hypnotherapy to be successful. These techniques may involve the use of verbal repetition, music, visualisation of mental images, and self-talk to guide the patient toward the level of relaxation needed to enter a hypnotic state.
What can I expect from a hypnotherapy session?
A hypnotherapy session begins with guided visualisation that helps the individual to enter a relaxed state. Once the individual is in that relaxed state they will once again be guided through their subconscious, but this time to connect previous negative feelings with current triggers of stress.
This process helps the patient to link their negative past experiences and feelings to the behaviours that are driving their anxiety in the present. By identifying the stressors, the individual is then able to process these old emotions through their subconscious and change them so that they no longer affect them negatively in their daily lives.
For more information about what hypnotherapy is, please refer to our FAQs.
How hypnotherapy can stop anxiety
Anxiety is a mental health condition that can manifest in many ways, but most commonly presents through feelings of stress, agitation and/or fear. These psychological symptoms can then express physically through sweating, a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and feelings of tension.
Anxiety is often associated with over-thinking, which can become all-consuming, overwhelming and can even become debilitating in severe cases. Management of anxiety typically requires professional treatment and sometimes even medication to reduce the symptoms, however, anxiety can also be reduced or dissipate entirely all with the help of hypnotherapy.
As part of a study in 2016, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found that neural changes associated with the use of hypnotherapy could be used to benefit patients with anxiety by allowing for greater control of their emotions, which empowered them to reduce their feelings of self-consciousness.
During hypnosis the individual is in a relaxed state that allows them to access experiences, including those manifesting as limiting beliefs and negative programs, that are buried in the subconscious. Being in contact with these experiences and beliefs during hypnotherapy allows the patient to take charge and change them so that they no longer influence your thoughts and actions in a negative way.
Hypnotherapy can be used to treat anxiety on its own or combined with other treatments, including additional therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
What kind of results can I expect from hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy can be a fantastic alternative to more traditional aides such as therapy and medication for those who want to treat their depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, addiction and/or anxiety. If you are left feeling as if these treatments aren’t achieving the results you expected, hypnotherapy may be the solution for you.
When an individual is under hypnosis they will typically feel relaxed and serene, which is why hypnotherapy can be used to treat many ailments, including chronic pain, and is also used during medical procedures, childbirth and in the treatment of addiction.
There is some stigma associated with hypnotherapy, largely due to the scepticism attached to its effectiveness and legitimacy as a treatment. However, many patients find that hypnotherapy is not only effective, but it is the most helpful way to treat and abate the symptoms of anxiety. Unfortunately, a lot of people living with anxiety do not realise that hypnotherapy is a viable treatment option that could be highly beneficial to them.
Another common misconception that is associated with hypnotherapy is that it causes people to lose control. This is not the case. Individuals being treated through the use of hypnotherapy do not relinquish control, in fact, they are in complete control of processing their own negative past feelings and adapting them so they no longer affect present behaviours and feelings.
Will hypnotherapy work for me?
Every person is capable of receiving hypnotherapy and all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, which means you go in and out of trance every day, so hypnosis is natural and easy. Think about being immersed in a good Netflix show and someone speaks to you, and you are really absorbed in the show, well that’s a state of natural trance! If you suffer from overthinking, agitation, irritability and stress, have tried other methods to no avail and want to stop anxiety, hypnotherapy might be the treatment you are looking for.