Shifting the Angle of Your Mind: Can Hypnosis Be Used to Treat Anxiety and Depression?

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Mental struggles can affect anyone, at any point in their lives. Anxiety and depression can both wreak havoc on a person’s life, causing them to experience feelings of guilt, pessimism, worthlessness, irritability, lethargy, and loss of interest in pleasurable things. These feelings can be exacerbated by the anxiety, with can culminate in the sense of overwhelming panic or doom, and cause trouble concentrating.

It has been found that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder in the U.S. and anxiety and depression can often go hand-in-hand. In fact, almost one half of those diagnosed with anxiety are also diagnosed with depression. Because of this, many of the treatments for depression are also aimed at treating anxiety.

Many situations can trigger or worsen a mental health issue and make symptoms suddenly unmanageable. From the death of a pet or family member to financial troubles, to even seasonal changes, many different instances may prove overwhelming for someone struggling with anxiety and depression and may force them to withdraw. To help overcome these often-debilitating symptoms, some sufferers are turning to hypnotherapy.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a form of guided hypnosis, where a trance-like state is achieved with the help of a qualified hypnotherapist, like those found at This state is often compared to how it feels to be fully absorbed in a task, like reading a book or watching a movie. When patients have achieved this state, they can focus inwards and tune out external distractions, which can help them utilize their own power to regain control over areas of their life they feel they need help with.

Hypnosis was initially brought to the medical community by Scottish surgeon James Braid, who helped recognize the benefits of anesthesia before surgery. This was among the first known instances of hypnosis being accepted and embraced by the medical community.

Since the 1800s, hypnotherapy has gained a wide following, with many members of the medical community adopting its use, specializing in it, or advocating for its practice.

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When is it done?

Hypnotherapy can be used for a variety of issues and is often used alongside psychological and medical treatment to give patients the best chance of recovery. Apart from anxiety and depression, hypnotherapy has been used to treat addiction, sleep disorders, learning disorders, sexual dysfunction, and more. It is even used by dentists to help manage patients fears or to minimize teeth grinding at night.

For anxiety and depression, hypnotherapy can be especially beneficial. In many ways, anxiety is similar to a form of negative self-hypnosis, where the repetition of negative thoughts or beliefs that program the mind into being overly critical. Instead, hypnotherapy is used to reprogram the brain with different ideas.

For people living with anxiety and depression, it can sometimes feel like medication and therapy isn’t enough. This is where hypnotherapy comes into play.

What it’s like

When a patient hears of hypnotherapy for the first time, they may be imagining a watch on a long gold chain swinging back and forth in front of their face while their hypnotherapist tells them they are getting very sleepy. Luckily, this is far from what hypnotherapy actually looks like—or we may all start laughing at the idea of it!

Initial appointments with a hypnotherapist will most likely start with talk therapy. This will help inform the second part of the treatment; the actual hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapists may read from a script that is carefully crafted to address the targeted issues subtly. These sessions can range in time, and often include homework. They are ongoing and are not a one-time event.

Sometimes, homework will consist of recordings the patients need to listen to. These recordings may not always make clear sense, but they are full of embedded commands that target the subconscious mind. These commands can help bring you into a more relaxed state and allow you to delve into your subconscious mind—where negative thoughts often lurk.

It’s important to remember that, while hypnotherapy can help you manage your thoughts, it is not minded control. Hypnosis is not something that can happen against your will, and nothing that can be suggested to you will work if your conscious mind isn’t already in agreement. This is why talk therapy is an essential component of hypnotherapy, it allows patient and provider to narrow down the issues that need to be focused on and correctly how they should be solved.

How long does it take?

Like any form of therapy, results can vary, as can timelines. Sometimes, it can take just a few sessions for people to start seeing positive changes, such as greater feelings of control and relaxation, but it’s much more common for it to take some time. Like talk therapy, hypnotherapy is fighting against years of embedded negative thoughts, and it can take time some time to root those out and to gain control over them. The more negative your feelings, the longer you have gone untreated, the longer it will take for the hypnotherapy to take effect.

It’s also important to remember that hypnotherapy is all about addressing your subconscious mind. This means that it doesn’t really matter how much you consciously want things to change, your subconscious has to want to change as well.

When you’re ready to give hypnosis a try to help with your anxiety and depression, it’s important to keep in mind these two things:

Find a hypnotherapist you connect with. Hypnotherapy requires a lot of trust, so it’s vital that you feel at ease with your hypnotherapist and know that they have a lot of experience in the field. Research them, ask them questions about their experience and don’t be afraid to change hypnotherapists if you’re not feeling a good connection!

Continue to focus on your motivation to change. While it may take a while to see the changes start to take effect, it’s important that you don’t lose heart and continue to focus on the reasons why you want to change and how it will ultimately better your life.


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