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How Hypnotherapy Helps Those Suffering From Depression

Updated: Mar 30

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If you are someone who struggles with depression, you know the darkness it can bring. The persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that can weigh you down. You may have tried counselling or medication but the symptoms linger and that path can bring other problems. However, research shows hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for depression. In this blog I will explain how hypnotherapy is used to retrain your thinking, reduce anxiety and empower you to take charge of your mental health and, with an open mind, provide firstly a lifeline, followed by a superior positively chosen life path with which you can overcome depression's grasp.


What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique that utilizes hypnosis in a clinical setting to help facilitate positive changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviours. During hypnosis, you enter a state of increased focus and attention and from there can comfortably explore thoughts, emotions, potentially gain insights into root causes of any issues and become open to positive beneficial change.


How Hypnosis Works

Hypnosis is entering a trance-like state of deep relaxation and focused attention. Its a perfectly natural state that you will have experienced many times in in your life; that zoning out, daydreamy feeling. In this state your subconscious becomes more accessable and more open to positive ideas. You are guided into a hypnotic trance using visualization, relaxation, and focus techniques and once there you have the potential to let go of any negative ideas or beliefs that may be harmful or negatively impact your well-being, both mental and physical. Then with expert therapeutic suggestion and strategies you're encouraged to develop a whole new path of positive thinking, positive living.


"Research shows Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for depression"

Benefits of Hypnotherapy for Depression

Hypnotherapy effectively treats depression by...


  • Helping to identify negative thought patterns and core beliefs that contribute to depression then reframing them into more positive, self-developing and realistic ways of thinking.

  • Improving self-esteem and confidence. Hypnotherapy is used to instill positive messages of self-worth and to empower you to overcome the negative self-imagery that often accompanies depression.

  • Relaxing the mind and body. Hypnosis induces a state of deep relaxation, instantly lowering stress and anxiety levels.

  • Changing unhealthy habits and behaviors. Overcoming unhealthy coping strategies such as food issues, alcohol, drugs, isolation etc., all of which worsen the symptoms of depression. Then by replacing them with healthier, more pleasant, more life empowering habits.

  • Cathartically releasing any repressed emotions which may be exacerbating the depression.


"Developing these positive thoughts absolutely will become more automatic and naturally part of everyday life" 

Changing Negative Thought Patterns

Hypnotherapy helps identify and modify the unhealthy thought patterns that contribute to depression. Keeping it simple, this is done by releasing and replacing negative thoughts with more positive and realistic ideas while being in a deeply relaxed state. Developing these positive thoughts absolutely will become more automatic and naturally part of everyday life... which is exactly how all the negative thinking became so prominent in the first place, it was developed, practiced and repeated over and over.


Promoting Relaxation

Hypnotherapy is also about promoting a calm, relaxed state of mind, lowering stress and anxiety which is often accomplished by using beautiful peaceful visualization techniques. Taking you to your most relaxing places during the sessions and encouraging the use of similar relaxation techniques outside of sessions. Reducing stress and anxiety is an important part of overcoming depressive states.


Improving Self-Esteem

Hypnotherapy also involves the use of verbal suggestion to build self-confidence and self-esteem which is often low in those with depression. Positively changing a negative inner dialogue and reinforcing how, in actual fact, wonderful you are... how miraculous your existence... you, your conciousness, being here, on a large rock, sitting within an infinite universe.

I encourage 'homework' as really your session extends throughout the week, all the way to the next session. I encourage affirmations to support your session, helping to remind you of your strengths, accomplishments and all the positive qualities that help develop gratitude and a kinder, stronger more centred and grounded self-view. A more developed and improved self-esteem will also help motivate and encourage the pursuance of meaningful life goals, careers, jobs, social connections etc., all of which help develop a feeling of worthiness and contentedness.


Making Lifestyle Changes

Hypnotherapy helps motivate lifestyle changes which assist the process of overcoming depression. Changes such as exercising more, eating healthier, limiting or stopping the use of alcohol and avoiding social isolation, or whatever lifestyle change benefits you. It also helps develop the motivation and will-power to establish new routines and heighten one's ability to stick with them. Making healthy changes to one's daily lifestyle has been shown to significantly improve, as well as prevent, depression.


"It [Hypnotherapy] also helps develop the motivation and will-power to establish new routines and heighten one's ability to stick with them"

Techniques Used in Hypnotherapy

I use a variety of hypnotherapy techniques to get to a state of mind which is more adaptable and able to enact change, relieve symptoms of depression, and start a new life of positive belief.


Metaphor and scenarios

Most commonly I use metaphors and scenarios to more indirectly influence the mind, development and mood. Carefully and thoughtfully leading you through uplifting scenarios and empowering metaphors to encourage and develop you to take on a far more positive and loving view of yourself and to walk upon more inspirational future paths. This approach, often called Ericksonian hypnotherapy, bypasses conscious resistance a little easier and smoothly connects to the subconscious mind.


Suggestion Therapy

Direct suggestions are quite simply that, direct suggestions, and I tend to use them in and amongst scenarios, again to change negative thought patterns, adopt positive personal development, inspiration and the self-love of one's existence.


Age Regression

Age regression can be a very useful and fulfilling technique for forgiveness, releasing the past or for returning to times near to traumatic events, but not usually to a traumatic event itself, as this is usually not useful or necessary. Its always interesting asking the client what their past self was wearing during the experience as they always describe the clothes and shoes in such detail, now remembering them clearly though they may not have been able to remember them at all before the session. These acts of freeing past events, or re-visiting people from your past, or seeing and forgiving past sadness or hard times, always bring a level of peaceful acceptance and resolution.


Parts Therapy

Parts therapy helps address inner conflict by having a dialogue between different aspects or 'parts' of the self. Talking from the perspective of a part of you that 'thinks' in a certain negative way to a part of you that thinks the opposite, for example the part of you that wants to regularly eat cream cakes talking to the part of you that most definitely doesnt, for all sorts of health reasons. Then for those parts to come to an agreement, stop fighting each other and to change for the positive benefit of the whole you. Sounds more complicated than it is, a wonderful method for some.


"These acts of freeing past events, or re-visiting people from your past, or seeing and forgiving past sadness or hard times, always bring a level of peaceful acceptance and resolution".

What to Expect During Hypnotherapy Sessions

Hypnotherapy sessions are focused, calming experiences aimed at completely changing your depressive state. During your first session I will conduct an initial consultation to gain an understanding of your condition and history. I'll explain clearly how hypnotherapy works, develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs, explain everything I'm doing and for your part, its easy, you can't do anything wrong, its pleasant, enjoyable and my clients often come out saying, "Why doesnt everyone do this? Its wonderful" to which I answer, "I know, everyone should".


Other techniques I teach for 'homework'

As well as encouraging you to use at home the imaginary places we visit during a session, to revisit peace and calm, places of strength and resilience whenever you feel the need. Also as a health practitioner of over 22 years I work with complex disease and states of unwellness, teaching breathing exercises, dietary guidance and advice, along with teaching the practice of mindfulness meditation.


What will I notice after after a session?

After your session you will notice subtle shifts in your thoughts, feelings and behaviors as the suggestions take hold. It may take several sessions before major changes are noticeable, depending on how involved and open you are. Some 'characters' are more cautious and like to ease in gently, whilst some just go for it and strike whilst the iron's hot. Either way the results are the same, your life will improve, it's as simple as that, as hypnotherapy (ie. your own mind) is the fastest, most natural and powerful path out of the dark.


How many sessions?

My hypnotherapy sessions last 1 hour. The number of sessions needed varies from person to person based on the severity of depression. Typically, 6 to 12 weekly sessions are recommended for depression, though I always tell my clients that they will know. You'll know when to spread the sessions out from weekly to fortnightly, you'll know when to stop, or as often happens, to continue monthly maintenance sessions. As you gain confidence and trust in yourself you will know.


Conclusion

Hypnotherapy is an extremely safe natural treatment option for depression that addresses the underlying thoughts and behaviors contributing to symptoms. Evidence shows hypnotherapy to be an effective treatment complementing traditional drug treatment for depression, though I would argue far safer and more effective as drugs dont heal as such but merely mask. While more research would solidify the science, this probably wont happen quickly as, unlike the pharmaceutical methods, there are no billions of dollars to be made out of simple hypnotherapy.

With an open mind and the right hypnotherapist I'm sure you'll find hypnotherapy right for your journey into a more contented, more positive, happier life... potentially providing the lift, personal growth and development that hopefully you've been looking for.



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