Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental illnesses. They’re so common that over 31% of adults are likely to experience severe anxiety during their lifetimes. One of the lesser-known but effective treatments for anxiety disorders is hypnosis.
Hypnosis uses relaxation and concentration techniques to achieve a trance-like state. This state is similiar to meditation in some ways, where the person remains focused and relaxed but still aware of their surroundings.
A 2019 study found that hypnosis was an effective treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. The study found that people who received hypnosis had a 79% decrease in their anxiety symptoms. They also found that hypnosis for anxiety was more effective when combined with other treatments. Those are some pretty impressive stats!
Keep reading to learn more about how effective hypnosis can be for anxiety.
What Is Hypnosis and How Does It Work to Treat Anxiety Disorders?
Hypnosis is a trance-like state in which a person is more open to suggestions. A hypnotherapist induces hypnosis through relaxation and focused attention.
The hypnotherapist can help clients focus on positive thoughts and goals to change their behavior in this natural, relaxed state. Hypnosis can help retrain the brain to respond to anxiety-inducing triggers better.
During hypnosis, the hypnotherapist makes suggestions to the person to help change their thinking or behavior. These suggestions can be about anything from managing anxiety to quitting smoking.
Hypnosis allows people to access and change the thoughts and emotions causing their anxiety. It can help people to relax and to focus on the present moment. Hypnosis can help people create new, more helpful ways of thinking about themselves and their world.
How Hypnosis Works
Hypnosis works by accessing the subconscious mind and using suggestions to help reduce anxiety. It can help people relax, feel less anxious, and overcome fears.
The hypnotherapist will usually start by giving you some general information about hypnosis and how it works. They will then work with you to identify any specific issues or fears you would like to address in treatment.
Once these have been identified, the therapist will begin the hypnosis session. During hypnosis, the hypnotherapist will guide the person into a trance-like state. They may use a combination of relaxation techniques and positive suggestions to help you experience a state of calm and peace.
The person will be relaxed and focused but still aware of their surroundings. In this state, the hypnotherapist can make suggestions to the person to help change their thinking or behavior. The aim is to teach your subconscious mind new ways of thinking that can help relieve your anxiety symptoms.
Switching to Sympathetic Mode
One of a hypnotherapist’s main goals is to help people change their sympathetic nervous system responses. This “fight-or-flight” response happens when threatened or anxious.
In sympathetic mode, our heart rate and blood pressure increase. We breathe faster and release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. This response is helpful if we are in danger and need to fight or flee.
But, if everyday situations trigger this response, it can become a long-term problem. It can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Hypnosis can help people change their sympathetic nervous system response. It works by teaching them how to relax and focus on the present moment. This can help people to feel less anxious and more in control.
The Different Types of Hypnosis Used to Treat Anxiety
Hypnotherapists can adjust to what the client responds to with various techniques. They can use hypnosis to help people with anxiety disorders in different ways. The most common types of hypnotherapy that are used to treat anxiety are as follows:
This type of hypnosis uses images and visualization to help the person relax. Hypnotists may combine imagery with progressive relaxation techniques to help their clients relax.
Age regression helps people explore memories that may be causing them anxiety in the present. It can help people process and work through traumas they have experienced in the past.
Age Progression Hypnosis
This type of hypnosis helps people imagine themselves in the future without their anxiety. This can help people set goals and work towards a future that they are excited about.
Parts Therapy Hypnosis
This type of hypnosis is used to help people with anxiety disorders that involve repetitive thoughts or behaviors. Parts therapy hypnosis helps people understand and change the thoughts and emotions that cause it.
Behavioral Modification Hypnosis
This type of hypnosis helps people change their behaviors or thoughts that may be contributing to their anxiety. It can help people identify and change negative thinking patterns or behaviors that worsen anxiety.
This type of hypnosis is very creative and uses metaphors and storytelling to help people achieve their goals. Ericksonian techniques are commonly referred to as “conversational hypnosis. They have proven to be very effective.
This type of hypnosis is when people learn how to induce the trance-like state themselves. Through relaxation techniques, focused attention, and positive self-talk, people can do it.
Once people have learned how to do self-hypnosis, they can use it anytime, anywhere to help manage their anxiety. Self-hypnosis isn’t too far off from learning how to meditate. It is a similar state of consciousness proven to reduce anxiety.
How Long Hypnosis Treatment for Anxiety Usually Lasts
Different hypnotherapists may promise various time frames for results. It depends on their techniques and the client’s response to the sessions. In general, the number of sessions that someone will need depends on the severity of their anxiety and how long they have been struggling.
Many people see hypnotherapy as a short-term treatment to help them deal with a specific event, such as public speaking. Others may see it as a longer-term treatment for more chronic anxiety disorders.
The length of time that hypnosis treatment for anxiety lasts also depends on the type of hypnosis used. Some types of hypnosis, such as regression hypnosis, may only need one or two sessions. Other types, such as behavioral modification hypnosis, may need more time to see results.
How Much Does Hypnosis for Anxiety Cost?
The cost of hypnosis for anxiety depends on the hypnotherapist and the number of needed sessions. Some hypnotherapists charge by the session, while others may offer package deals for several sessions.
Many hypnotherapists offer a free initial consultation to see if hypnosis is suitable for the client. The hypnotherapist will ask about the client’s anxiety symptoms during this consultation.
Then they will ask about what the client hopes to achieve from hypnotherapy and discuss some of the tools and processes that may be utilized to help the client.
What Kind of Results People Can Expect From Hypnosis for Anxiety
The results will depend on the individual’s level of anxiety, willingness to engage with the therapy, and the practitioner’s skill. Many people who undergo hypnosis for anxiety can expect to see significant reductions in their symptoms.
For some people, hypnosis may be a standalone treatment that helps them manage their anxiety on an ongoing basis. Many people report feeling less anxious and more relaxed after only one session.
Hypnosis may be used with other therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication.
And yet, for others, it may only provide temporary relief from anxiety symptoms. Some people may need to continue hypnosis treatment regularly. For others, it may only be used on an as-needed basis to help manage particularly difficult or stressful situations.
Hypnosis can help people retrain their brains to respond more calmly to anxiety-inducing triggers. And the results of hypnosis are usually long-lasting.
Who Should Not Undergo Hypnosis Therapy for Anxiety
Before beginning hypnosis therapy for anxiety, consult with a mental health professional. Many people get great results with hypnosis, but it is not for everyone.
Hypnosis requires focused attention to be effective. If you have a mental health disorder that makes it difficult to focus or concentrate, hypnosis may not be the best tool.
Hypnotherapists often use guided imagery in hypnosis sessions. If a client struggles with reality, they should pursue other treatments. People with dissociative disorders should not undergo hypnosis.
If you are interested in hypnosis for anxiety, the first step is to consult with a mental health professional to see if it will be an effective approach for you.
Keep in Mind…
If you’re interested in hypnosis for anxiety, you should know a few things. First, it’s important to find a qualified hypnotherapist. This person should be licensed and have experience treating anxiety disorders.
Second, hypnosis is not a “quick fix.” It’s important to be patient and understand that hypnosis takes time to work.
Third, hypnosis is not right for everyone. Some people may not be able to achieve the trance-like state necessary for hypnosis to be effective. That said, even if you had past unsuccessful experiences with hypnosis, your mind is constantly changing and the right hypnotist for you can make all the difference in the outcomes of a new experience.
If you’re interested in hypnosis for anxiety, talk to your doctor or a qualified hypnotherapist. They can help you decide if hypnosis is right for you.
If you or a loved one suffers from anxiety, hypnosis may be an effective treatment option. This guide has provided all the information you need to get started with hypnosis for anxiety. Don’t suffer in silence – try hypnosis today so that you can have a better tomorrow.