Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Relief
When you think of hypnotherapy, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s a devious villain attempting to mind control a victim, or maybe a swirling black-and-white spiral and the words “You are getting very, very sleepy,” or maybe even … magic? Think again.
“I’ve never seen hypnosis portrayed accurately in film or TV. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions that are encouraged by movies and TV. Really, hypnosis is a naturally occurring state and everybody goes through some form of hypnosis daily,” says David R. Wright, the Motor City Hypnotist. “Maybe you’re watching a movie, and you’re so engrossed in it that everything else is blocked out. That’s a state of hypnosis. If you’re daydreaming, that’s a state of hypnosis. Your mind is blocked out to everything else and you’re just focused on one thing.”
Wright has been practicing hypnotherapy and hypnosis for 24 years in a clinical setting, using hypnosis to treat anxiety and many other challenges. Recently he has used his practice to treat patients suffering from COVID-related anxieties.
Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
“In the last eight, nine months, I’ve been seeing a lot of people for anxiety, a lot of people for depression,” Wright says. Much of this anxiety is related to the layering of anxiety-inducing influences including a global pandemic.
“Anxiety is something that humans need to survive. It’s a coping skill. … I have to have some anxiety because that keeps me safe. It makes me more aware. The problem becomes when the anxiety becomes so overwhelming,” Wright explains. “You’re no longer in control of it.”
Hypnosis allows Wright’s clients to take back some of that control. “The great thing with hypnosis is that we can relax the mind. We can stop that ruminating thinking. We can stop that worry cycle that people get into.” Mental and physical habits have something in common, Wright says. The body gets used to certain behaviors to the point that they become automatic habits. “We don’t try to be anxious. Our mind just has done it so often, it automatically goes to that.” Just as you can break a physical habit, you can also break a mental habit.
Wright uses the power of suggestion to implant a defense against these mental habits. “I can give people suggestions that, as soon as you just feel that slight twinge of anxiety, your mind is not going to run down that road and just start ruminating and cycling, we can stop it upfront.”
“Really, when we talk about anxiety or depression or a lot of mental health disorders, a lot of it is just a way of thinking. It’s a habit that we’ve developed over time.” These cycles form, implanting themselves into the subconscious. With hypnotherapy for anxiety, Wright can “tap into your subconscious mind, which is where all the habits are stored … make changes on pretty much any behavior that people would want to change, or something that they might want to improve on.”
Taking Away and Adding With Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis can “go one of two ways,” Wright says. It can be used to take something away or add something. Wright provides the example of smoking: “People come to me and they want to stop smoking. We can take that compulsion or that urge or that trigger away.” He also works with athletes to enhance their performance through hypnosis: “I developed a golf program a couple of summers ago to improve your golf game. We can add things to as far as confidence and better abilities.”
Really, hypnosis can be used for almost anything that you can imagine.
What to Look for in a Hypnotherapist
All hypnotherapists are hypnotists, but not all hypnotists are hypnotherapists. If you’re looking for a hypnotherapist, it’s easy to get lost in the Google search. Wright warns that “a lot of hypnotherapists and hypnotists, they could be your plumber from down the street that just got certified in two weeks online.”
“I would definitely look at their website, look at their reviews, look at their experience. … It’s important to find out how long they’ve been doing it.” Hypnotists do not require certification in all states, so it can be helpful to look for hypnotherapists with a clinical practice—this also means they will have to abide by HIPAA guidelines, which can be reassuring. Look for reviews online and see who people in your area are recommending and why. Wright advises that you do your research and ensure you are looking at someone you can trust before booking your first appointment.
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- by Mallory Corbin