Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Disorders

Eileen Bailey Health Guide

    Hypnotherapy, or hypnosis, blocks out external stimulus to allow a person to both relax and fully focus to achieve greater awareness. We all have different ideas of what it should look like or feel like when under hypnosis. Most of our ideas come from watching movies or television. We might think of someone being made to cluck like a chicken or bark like a dog when in a hypnotic state. But that doesn't happen. Under hypnosis, you continue to be aware of your actions and cannot be made to do something you don't want to do.


    Types of Anxiety Hypnosis Helps

    For some, hypnosis helps relieve symptoms of anxiety disorder. Most medical professionals agree that this is not necessarily a stand-alone therapy and by itself does not eliminate the symptoms of anxiety. It can, however, be helpful as an addition to cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy.

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     Some types of anxiety that have been found to be helped by hypnosis:

    In addition, hypnosis helps some with managing stress, depression, grief and insomnia.


    How Hypnotherapy Helps Anxiety

    There are several ways hypnotherapy is used in conjunction with other anxiety methods:

    • Decrease acute anxiety or panic by inducing a state of relaxation.
    • Allowing someone to look at or remember painful memories in a different way because they can view the memories without the pain associated with those memories.
    • Allows someone to become more open to suggestions, creating changes in behavior.

    Safety of Hypnosis

    Hypnotherapy is considered safe in most cases. There are no side effects and contrary to belief it is not a form of brainwashing. It may not be a good choice for those with hallucinations or delusions because suggestions given by the therapist can be seen as real and can create false memories.


    Choosing a Therapist

    Hypnotherapy remains a field where licensing is not yet required in many states. Although there are many qualified, professional therapists who use hypnotherapy as one part of a treatment plan, you should be careful to ask for credentials of anyone performing hypnotherapy. The National Association of Social Workers suggests that a professional performing hypnosis should have a master's or doctorate degree and bea licensed counselor, social worker, psychologist, dentist, or doctor, and have taken additional training in clinical, professional hypnosis or hypnotherapy.




    "Anxiety-Your Options: Hypnosis: An Effective Alternative Treatment," 2011, Jeanne Clark, LCSW, National Association of Social Workerts


    "Medical Hypnosis-Uses, Techniques, and Contraindications of Hypnotherapy," Date Unknown, Carol Watkins, M.D., Northern County Psychiatric Associates


    "Will Hypnosis Help My Anxiety," 2010, Sept 20, Jerry Kennard, AnxietyConnection.com

Published On: June 20, 2011