Being mentally healthy is more than lacking an illness. Mental health refers to happiness, quality of life, and overall well-being. It’s how you enjoy life and cope with stress and sadness.
Mental health may deteriorate due to stress, addictions, poor working conditions, abuse, phobias, or traumatic life experiences. In such cases, it may be challenging to bounce back from the sadness or stress, and you may end up depressed or with an anxiety disorder. Clinical hypnosis is one of the many options for improving your mental health and well-being.
What Is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy or hypnosis is a complementary or alternative treatment for mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. It works well with more established psychiatric treatment methods. Hypnosis uses intense concentration, focused meditation, and guided relaxation to achieve heightened calmness and help you control undesired thoughts.
A typical hypnotherapy session involves transitioning into a trance-like state, almost as if you’re in meditation. Your attention and concentration are so focused that you can temporarily block out or ignore anything around you. You’ll feel relaxed throughout, and a qualified professional can help you focus on specific tasks or thoughts.
The therapist’s job is to tap into thoughts through verbal cues/repetition and mental images. They can teach relaxation techniques, offer suggestions, and guide you to make changes that improve your mental health as your mind is open to treatment. While hypnotherapy enables you to be more receptive to guidance during therapy sessions, it doesn’t mean you’ll lose control over your behavior. Some people even practice self-hypnosis.
How Does Hypnosis Work?
It might be easy to mistake hypnosis as a manipulative procedure since your mind is “open to suggestions.” However, it’s imperative to note that clinical hypnosis doesn’t rely on coercion, compulsion, or manipulation to achieve a positive outcome. The trained therapist only guides you and does not force you into something you don’t want.
There are 4 stages of a hypnosis session. Let’s dig into each one:
Your trained therapist will induce you into a trance in this first step. This stage involves using techniques such as a combination of controlled breathing and progressive relaxation of the muscles. Here, the hypnotherapist guides you through tensing muscles during inhalation and relaxing them when exhaling.
The induction process could also include focussing on an image. You’ll relax once the hypnotic effect kicks in, and your therapist will help you focus your mind and ignore surrounding distractions.
It’s a continuation of the induction process. This step helps you take the relaxation and mental focus and concentration deeper.
Strategies employed include a number countdown or the use of similar imagery, such as slowly sinking into a comfortable couch. The induction and the deepener stages aim to enhance your responsiveness to the therapist’s directions.
This is a crucial stage of the hypnotherapy treatment where the hypnotherapist guides you through the change of behavior or perception. Remember you’re already in a deep state of focus and are open to guidance, so the therapist can easily use imagery or a carefully chosen language for treatment.
Treatment suggestions can either be explanatory or symptom-focused. Explanatory recommendations explore experiences associated with the start of a symptom experienced, while the symptom-focused ones help resolve the symptom. The treatment directives may target changes in sensation, memory, emotions, perception, behavior, or thoughts.
During this final stage of hypnotherapy, you emerge from the hypnotic state. The therapist can use reverse deepeners to get you out of the trance, for instance, counting upwards or suggesting you wake up or climb a staircase.
Hypnotherapy treatment has no timeline, and it may take multiple sessions to work. The length of treatment may depend on the severity and level of anxiety or depression.
Myths About Hypnosis
The absence of physical medication through prescriptions makes people wary about hypnosis treatment. Besides the skepticism about this treatment without medication, there are multiple misconceptions surrounding the procedure. Here are some common myths:
- You will lose consciousness during hypnosis
Contrary to this myth, people usually remember everything that happens during the sessions. You’ll retain personal awareness of who you are and where you are during treatment, and when the session ends, have a clear memory of what happened.
- The hypnotherapist controls you during the session.
Going into the hypnotic trance is something you must agree with and do by yourself, with a therapist acting as a guide. No one can make you undergo hypnosis against your will or divulge information you wish to keep secret, and you’ll remain in control over your behavior throughout the session. The only change you’ll experience is finding it easier to allow suggestions on handling your anxiety or depression.
- Hypnosis is only a deep sleep.
You may fall into a deep trance-like state during hypnosis, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be deeply asleep. This procedure helps you focus your mind on eliminating negative emotions and modifying your behavior. While some deep forms of hypnosis can make you look like you’re sleeping, your body is only still and quiet while your mind is in a deep state of focus.
In What Instances Is Hypnotherapy Not Recommended?
As effective as hypnotherapy is in treating mental issues such as depression and anxiety, it’s not advisable in some situations. This treatment isn’t appropriate if you’re suffering from severe mental health issues, for instance, psychotic symptoms, major depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. It’s also not a viable treatment option if you use alcohol and drugs.
Another reason to tread with caution is when using hypnotherapy to manage and treat anxiety or depression from traumatic events that happened earlier in life. Administering hypnosis in such situations may create false memories when the therapist gives unintended suggestions and cause more anxiety and distress. False memories are not a common side effect, but it is advised to proceed cautiously.
Hypnosis for Mental Health Wellness
It’s possible to achieve health and happiness with hypnosis. This treatment helps you focus on problems and respond to positive suggestions. In the end, you’ll overcome emotional triggers and safeguard your mental health.
Here are some mental health benefits you can reap from hypnotherapy:
- The increased ability to concentrate on stressful objects, thoughts, and ideas while remaining emotionally balanced.
- A more optimistic view of the world.
- The rejuvenated feeling of self-awareness and self-control.
- The increased resilience and tolerance to pain under certain conditions.
- An enhanced ability to detach from obsessive habits and behaviors.
- Not feeling burnout, depressed or anxious.
- Improved quality and quantity of sleep.
- A sense of personal empowerment.
If You Are Still Struggling
Are you or a loved one constantly grappling with anxiety or depression? TMS therapy is an FDA-approved procedure that treats various mental health conditions, including treatment-resistant depression. Here at Oasis TMS, we want to help you start feeling like yourself again. If traditional treatment options have not helped you— contact us today for more details.