Hypnotherapy is easily the best established of the “magic-wand” cures for anxiety and panic attacks. To lie back and let someone ‘into your head’ to deal with your problems for you is the ultimate passive response to anxiety, panic, and phobias. It sounds great and has been alluring to sufferers of phobias and anxiety for decades, not least because it claims to be quick.
Does it work? Well…it CAN do, sometimes.
The type of hypnotherapy offered to the anxiety sufferer normally falls into one of two categories. In one the hypnotherapist seeks out the cause, often through regression, and aims to change your perception of a past event or release emotion from it. The other seeks to change your behaviour by changing the way you think, by encouraging you to have belief in yourself for example. Hypnosis can work, and some people have been helped.
The problem with hypnosis is that you have to be relaxed, and an anxious or panic stricken person can not always relax in a hypnotherapist’s clinic. Also, the anxiety sufferer may well worry about entering an altered state, if they won’t go into a crowded shopping mall then there’s not much chance of them willingly going into a third state of consciousness. Contrary to popular belief you can only be hypnotised if you want to be, and even if you have just paid the hypnotherapist half your weeks wages it still may be hard to let him or her talk you into a relaxed state. All too often the sufferer will effectively pretend to be in a state of hypnosis, worried that they will look stupid if they admit it hasn’t worked.
A word about regression. Finding the cause doesn’t mean curing the problem, although it may in a few cases. Because of this I don’t particularly recommend hypnotherapy for the anxiety sufferer unless they are confident that they can fully relax and allow themselves to drift into hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis is a better prospect and can be used to learn some interesting relaxation techniques but I prefer one of the various meditation for anxiety forms.