Hypnotherapy (For Anxiety): What Its All About?
Please note this is my personal experience with Hypnotherapy and my current hypnotherapist. Not all hypnotherapists may work or explain it in the same way. Also, this is Hypnotherapy in relation to Anxiety only.
Imagine a pool table. On one end you have the set of balls in the triangle formation and on the other end, you have the white ball in their rightful places.
Now each of the balls in the triangle is an emotion and that symbolises our brain and the white ball at the other end of the table is an event.
As you are aware the white ball is hit into the rest of the balls on the table and hence the rest of the balls they're scattered. This is how an event can affect our emotions.
What our brain does then is it takes some time to process and deal with the event that has occurred and slowly our emotions are brought back together, so imagine all the balls are connected on their own string and they are pulled back into the triangle formation and reset.
In some cases, our emotions don't always find their way back and get stuck. They cease maturing with the rest of our emotions and they never really move past the point of these events that occur. That's why we can often feel in a childish like state when certain events occur because some of our emotional responses haven't matured past the point of these events that have occurred.
This was what was explained to me by my current hypnotherapist, in my own words, and it surprisingly made more sense to me than what any other healthcare professional had ever tried to explain to me because in the event of me getting anxious I genuinely feel like a kid again and in my mind I am taken back to times where I had been incredibly anxious as a kid and never really dealt with what had happened at those times and am still having the emotional response of a child.
So what does Hypnotherapy do?
A definition I found online;
Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for reducing feelings of anxiety. Hypnotherapy for anxiety aims to seek the root cause of the problem. It works to change the individual’s thoughts and feelings associated with it.
My understanding of how it was explained to me although I completely agree with the above statement is Hypnotherapy is really about maturing those emotions and parts of your brain which are trapped and bringing them back in line with the rest of your emotions by working with your subconscious mind to firstly find the root cause of the problem and secondly change the thoughts and feelings you have them.
Myths Of Hypnotherapy
Don't confuse stage hypnosis with hypnotherapy or what Hollywood films depict hypnosis as.
You are fully aware of everything going on during being in a state of hypnosis. You are in a state of hypnosis at least twice a day, just before falling asleep and right as we wake up.
Hypnosis is basically a really relaxed state of mind. You can simply remove yourself from the hypnosis by opening your eyes.
You can read more myths here.
What happens during a typical session?
During the consultation, my therapist explained that she would coach me into a relaxed state and be talking to my subconscious. Once in a relaxed state, she would lead me to a room (this is all in your imagination btw). This room would be a safe place where a younger version of myself would be waiting. This younger version of myself would be from a time when I was incredibly anxious and still causing me problems to this day, it may be a time I'm aware of or possibly a time my subconscious would find that I wasn't aware of.
Once in the room, I would be able to talk to my younger self, be there to listen and give advice because I am the one with the tools to help them (once here the therapist does very little, they will guide you loosely on what you need to do but you are the only one able to help them). Once they felt better you leave them with a gift of your choice and explain you're always there for them and you will come back to visit them. From there you will leave the room and be brought out of the relaxed state.
This is the basis of every session I have had so far, as each time there is a new younger version of myself I need to work with. On top of these sessions, there is an audio to listen to daily which helps me to relax and is a form of self-hypnosis and there is some homework which helps my personal circumstances.
Once I have found all the younger versions of myself there is more to do and when I get to that point I will update or make a new post.
What do I make of it so far?
Honestly, I'm very impressed so far. When I started Hypnotherapy I was in a very bad place. I was pretty much unable to leave my house due to my anxiety. My depressive episodes had pretty much become a constant state of depression and I really didn’t know what to do going forward.
The first few sessions were difficult to say the least. I found it hard to relax because of the heightened anxiety I was having and, in a sense, coming face to face with these younger versions of myself where there was so much emotion and feelings that I hadn't dealt with at the time, it was almost making me feel worse or at least keeping me stuck where I was, well that's what I thought at the time anyway feeling the way I was.
Realistically when facing your demons its very normal to feel worse before you do get better and that is what happened.
After a few sessions I started to get the odd good day here and there. Those odd good days have slowly progressed into more good days and fewer bad days. I have had a few small blips where I've had depressive episodes usually after a bad panic attack but I have always bounced back and am slowly learning I need to not push myself quite so much and do things maybe at a more natural pace to get where I want to be.
Looking back at where I was when I first started and where I am now there is a huge improvement. I have had a total of 8 sessions thus far and I am excited to see how much more I can achieve as I continue this course of Hypnotherapy.
I hope this gives you an insight into Hypnotherapy and what it is all about.
Much love, EK.