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Anxiety And Hypnotherapy

Treatments for anxiety are available on the NHS but wait lists for hypnotherapy can be long, and many opt for other options. Does clinical hypnotherapy for anxiety be beneficial for people suffering from the condition?

When I get to my hypnotherapy appointment which I am attending for anxiety, I notice that I’m worrying about it all the time My heart is beating rapidly and I’m sweating. It’s not unusual for me. My brain is prone to turn even the most routine of things into a apocalyptic issue of epic magnitude; a chorus of “what ifs,” which build to a crescendo of fear in my brain.

This is the reason I’m here on Harley Street. I’ve arranged to see clinical hypnotherapist Fiona Lamb, hoping she can make me feel less overwhelmed and more in control, as well as stop worrying about the future from dominating my life. I’m not certain what to anticipate, but I’m guessing that in the near future, I’ll be involuntarily crowing like a prize cockerel.

Hypnotherapy stereotypes dominate

I’m way off the mark. Lamb welcomes me with warmth, empathy and a big smile. Her office is small and cozy and never once does she pull out a pocket watch. She’s not too surprised by my preconceived notions.

“People liken hypnosis to stage shows they see on TV,” she laughs. “But the reality is that there’s nothing magical, no swinging watches, or chicken noises in the real world. It’s an innate state that we are all able to attain and is like meditation. It’s all about engaging more of your imagination.”

I am embarrassed for making assumptions, but Lamb does not care. She immediately makes me feel comfortable, asking me to explain why I’ve come and what I’d like to accomplish. She shares that she, too, used to suffer from severe anxieties and insomnia. In the end, she tried everything from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to herbal remedies, she found that undergoing an hypnotherapy treatment for anxiety was the technique that finally worked for her.

“Hypnotherapy really helped me deal with my insomnia and anxiety. This was my only thing that did the trick after trying everything else. That’s the reason I wanted understand the reasons and how it worked,” she explains.

How does hypnosis for anxiety perform?

In a nutshell, trying to identify the root of the issue as per Lamb.

“Anxiety is simply fear. Find out why you’re not feeling secure and relaxed, then look into the root causes and work through these. I think it’s the quickest and the most lasting method of redefining beliefs.” she writes.

I am still anxious I am still nervous when Lamb insists that I sit in my chair and put my feet on a pouffe. She plays some soothing music through the stereo, and demands that I close my eyes. Speak slowly, gently, and counting backwards, she carries out the meditation. I feel myself almost losing consciousness but not entirely. I’m awake and aware about my environment. Also, I’m aware of the fact that I’m able to end the hypnosis at anytime, if I have to.

It’s while I’m in this relaxed state that Lamb wants me to revisit the moment in my life in which I felt fearful. I instantly feel apprehensive. My anxiety isn’t really connected to something that happened a long time ago Is it?

A part of me wants to avoid this challenge however, I am pleasantly surprised with the stories I’ve gone over from my childhood. Things I’ve probably dismissed as insignificant but apparently still remain in my mind. “Where is it that that come from?” I’m guessing.

Lamb tells me to imagine this past version of myself from every time and assure her by telling me to read the sentences loudly. This is a bit awkward as well as awkward, but I try to do according to the instructions. Feeling foolish for half an time could be worth it if it improves my mental well-being. “Everything is going to be perfect. You’re safe.” I say to my inner child – trying not to cringe.

When Lamb returns me to this room, I’m relieved that it’s all done. I also feel a little freaked out about the things I’ve remembered in the session. The hour we spent together has flown by though. When I leave Lamb’s office, it dawns on me that I feel lighter and calmer than I have felt in years.

The only way to know is if my treatment has truly helped me. However, according the report of Dave Smithson from Anxiety UK, clinical hypnotherapy for anxiety can be an beneficial treatment for mild to moderate cases. Although I’d bet it isn’t for everyone.

“The evaluation of our services shows this, with over 74% of our clients who received hypnotherapy in 2016 and 2017 were able to recover at the conclusion of their treatment. However, it may not prove to be the best type of treatment for more difficult illnesses,” he cautions.
But can hypnotherapy to treat anxiety actually perform?

The peer-reviewed evidence of hypnotherapy’s success in treating anxiety disorder and panic attacks isn’t available. Some studies suggest that it’s efficient in helping those suffering from “trait anxiety” (a tendency to be anxious as a trait of personality). However, studies consistently indicate that more studies are needed but this is not due to evidence that it doesn’t work but rather an acknowledgement that not enough studies have been done on hypnotherapy for anxiety to prove that it does. It is interesting to note that there are more studies indicating that it has potential for treating IBS.

As of now in the moment, hypnotherapy for anxiety isn’t offered via the NHS. That means those who want to experience it must opt for private sessions, which can come at the cost of around PS50 per session. I was fortunate enough to have two complimentary sessions, but I would have been priced out of this kind of approach.

It’s also worth pointing out that hypnotherapy isn’t recommended for someone with an illness of the personality, such as psychosis, because it could make the condition worse.

Other avenues to treat anxiety

Before you commit to the treatment of anxiety with hypnotherapy It’s best to consult with your GP first, who may prescribe the right medication. Also, it’s worth looking into the NHS self-referral programs in your area. It is possible to have access to therapy sessions with a mental health professional (such as CBT which is the gold standard in anxiety treatment) without the need to visit your doctor.

“In addition to considering any type of talk therapy, it’s always good practice to look at alternative ways to deal with your anxiety, including more exercise or reviewing your diet. doing mindfulness exercises, talking to your GP who could also recommend medication, using other support tools such as the Headspace app or joining Anxiety UK to access the many benefits and support we can provide,” says Smithson.

“Often we observe that it’s not one specific treatment that helps manage the anxiety, but rather a series of treatments, including therapy.”

I’m going to go for the mix approach myself, but I’m not totally given up on the use of hypnosis to treat anxiety. Lamb provides me with audio files for self-guided hypnosis sessions, which I’m going to test now that I’m aware there’s more to it than “look into my eyes’ or leather sofas.