Anxiety occurs when a certain stimulation or event causes us to behave apprehensively. It offers a form of self-protection and often triggers our fight or flight response so that we take action when faced with dangerous, unhealthy or unsafe situations.
While anxiety in and of itself is not unhealthy, and can even be beneficial, it can be overbearing and even crippling. This might result in an individual becoming so fearful that they:
- Worry excessively about everyday things
- Lose sleep because of spinning thoughts
- Ruminate that an event will negatively impact their life
- Avoid social situations
- Experience physical symptoms, illnesses or medical conditions related to the anxiety -Begin to avoid triggers and in effect limit themselves from fully experiencing their potential
Reducing anxiety has many benefits including improving focus, mental clarity, physical health and self-esteem. This can positively impact every aspect of your life, every relationship you experience and your ability to clearly see a future that is bright, hopeful and free.
Many different treatments are available to assist individuals who are dealing with unhealthy levels of anxiety including hypnotherapy. A great amount of research has been conducted showing the benefits of using hypnotherapy to treat anxiety and what methods are most effective.
Evaluating the Client
With hypnotherapy, it is important for the therapist to first learn more about the patient and her perception of the anxiety. The evaluation should include asking questions about what triggers feelings of anxiousness, how the anxiety typically manifests and what coping mechanisms have proven successful in the past. Once the therapist has a better understanding about the individual, it is helpful to explain how hypnosis works and what the potential benefits of treatment include. The client should have opportunities to ask questions so that she gains positive expectations and is fully comfortable both with the therapist and while entering the trance-like state involved in hypnotherapy.
Hypnosis for Anxiety
Once a hypnotherapy session begins, there are many different techniques that a therapist can use to help the client overcome anxiety. For some, simply inducing a state of deep relaxation and providing direct sub-conscious suggestions about moving forward when faced with a stressful situation or remaining hopeful in the earliest stages of anxiety are enough to provide relief. When this is the case, sessions are often repeated several times to provide positive reinforcement and help the client to truly let go of past patterns.
Hypnotically-facilitated systematic desensitization is another effective method for many individuals who are faced with anxiety. Think of this as repeatedly exposing yourself to an uncomfortable situation so that it has less of an impact on your life and is easier to cope with. With this method, clients enter a deep, trance-like state and visualize themselves in a stressful or uncomfortable situation. They are then taught how to take control over the situation, restructure past patterns or actions and make new choices regarding how they will respond to future events. Many clients feel empowered after experiencing systematic desensitization and more in control over their actions and choices.
Strengthening the Ego
Hypnotherapy also provides clients with ego-strengthening tools when poor self-esteem contributes to overbearing feelings of anxiety. By re-framing how they feel about themselves or bringing to the surface negative events or feelings from the past, individuals learn to overcome these barriers and develop new coping techniques that empower them to begin looking at life in a hopeful way. This lends to curiosity about the future, making new discoveries and moving forward without crippling feelings of anxiety, negativity and fearfulness.
Regression Techniques in Hypnotherapy
Sometimes it is difficult for individuals to remember a time when they did not have to cope with these unhealthy feelings. In these situations, therapists often help clients to overcome anxiety using age regression. With hypnosis, it is possible to age regress to a time when anxiety was not such a prominent part of their life. When one can recall their gifts and strengths that allow them to move forward through life there can be remarkable progress. Age regression can provide a mental anchor of how it felt to live without anxiety which can be brought to consciousness during high stress times. Clients who are able to associate their feelings with a life experience also have an easier time understanding why they become anxious, and this can be a first step toward self discovery and healing.
As a professional hypnotherapist, I can help you to identify the root of your anxiety and establish concise goals and expectations for your sessions. Throughout therapy, some or all of the techniques mentioned above may be used to help you delve into your sub-conscious mind, get unstuck, reorganize your thoughts, strengthen existing coping techniques and learn new techniques to replace previously unsuccessful ones. After therapy, you can expect to feel more relaxed when faced with challenging situations and ready to tackle your anxiety with a new level of clarity and focus.