anxiety and hypnoanalysis

UPDATE 21-10-08 Please reas this post in conjunction with this post: Hypnoanalysis.

There are many treatments for anxiety and very little research to show what works and how. At present, if you are not taking a SSRI antidepressant like Celexa, or having CBT, then scientifically you are on dodgy ground, because they are the only officially recognised long-term treatments for anxiety. But, the thing is the SSRI’s only treat the symptoms, and there are a lot of complex cases where people do not get the relief they feel they need from CBT…that leaves us in the domain of unproven anxiety solutions. Like hypnoanalysis.

It is very hard to test the efficacy of something like hypnosis, because there are different techniques and every practitioner is different. There also isn’t one standard training or accreditation. Hypnotherapists tend to say they can cure everything and anything! I have seen a documentary where a renowned hypnotherapist failed to make any impact on a simple phobia. I have also seen a documentary where a man was treated with hypnotic regression and instantly got over a fear of flying!

There are two types of hypnotherapy. Suggestion hypnosis is the standard kind, which seeks to re-programme faulty thinking just by suggestion when you are in a relaxed state. Hypnoanalysis however is somewhat like a speedy version of psychotherapy, where the aim is to get to the cause and eliminate it, thus freeing you permanently.

So, does it work? Well, it’s hard to tell. The practitioners say yes, and certainly there does seem to be some positive feedback around. Double-blind studies? No chance! (If you know of some, give me an email!) I do think that if CBT hasn’t worked for you then maybe it would be worth a try…it is much cheaper than long term psychotherapy, has more science behind it than EFT and generally makes a good case for itself.

If you can afford it, go for it!

Relationship Breakdown Anxiety

Most of us have been chucked, dumped, ditched and jilted since we were teenagers. Very few lucky people have never experienced the heart-wrenching, sickening low that follows the ultimate rejection by someone you love. In a way, being chucked can be worse than bereavement! When someone you love decides that they are happier without you in their life it is impossible to comprehend. It is a great stress on life.

It is also worse for the anxiety sufferer more often than not because they tend to have lower self-esteem and tend to beat themselves up over what has happened. They also have a tendency to attach themselves to people and objects, so breaking away can be all the harder.

Normally most people who get chucked go through some phases. Firstly we tend to feel shocked – this can often manifest as insomnia, agitation, inability to relax, racing mind and worry.

Then we often go into denial in which we may have relatively euphoric episodes where we believe everything is going to be ok, that we will get back together, that they still love us.

More often than not we also feel some anger and some guilt. Eventually the "just good friends" thing starts to sour (although it may come back later!).

For the anxiety sufferer, the above may be summed up in just one word: anxiety. They may just feel lots of anxiety and depression or blackness. It might be useful in these cases to look at exactly what they are thinking – just to identify and experience the correct emotion.

It might also be useful to look at the loss. When a relationship ends, we lose something, in fact we lose many things. Let me give you an example of all the losses which might add to or cause extra anxiety in your life.

Firstly you lose the love of a person, secondly you lose the physical side of the relationship. Then you lose the comfort and company.

You also lose some self esteem as you try to work out why you were rejected.

You may well lose some social standing as you feel that everyone is talking about you, laughing at you or feeling sorry for you.

You lose control because you can not choose the way the relationship will go. And control is very important to anxiety sufferers.

Finally you lose self-respect as you see that person enjoying their life more without you than with you, and inevitable entering another relationship! 

The good news is, it all comes back with time. The bad news is, it feels absolutely awful! Use this negative experience to tackle some of your insecurities.

Anxiety and Anger

I have become interested in the idea that much of what we suffer as anxiety or depression is unresolved anger. Some people are of the opinion that we are carrying around "Toxic" levels of anger, from our past and present, which are making us feel anxious.

There is a whole therapy dedicated to this belief, which is called "redirecting self therapy". The therapy involves releasing anger form the past by punching pillows (or other activities) while holding a scene or a picture of a past abuser in your mind. There are a few web-sites that wax lyrical about this therapy, but it is a bit hard to find success stories. It is true though, that people tend not to publish so much good news online.

Certainly, it might be worth looking at your anxiety, depression and a host of other symptoms as repressed anger.

The big question is this: So, I’ve got repressed anger and I feel anxious and bad a lot of the time. I may or may not know the things that made me angry in the past. What can I do about it?

Well, the answer is, to feel the anger! To let it come to the surface and acknowledge it. I like to write down my anger, sometimes express it as a letter to the person who made me angry. At other times I say it out loud. Sometimes I think it while I rip up old newspapers. The Internet is fairly awash with ways to let anger out. I think the key is maybe not how you release anger, but when you release it.

I recently had a situation where someone I was fond of didn’t want to spend time with me. I felt anxious due to being rejected. I thought it meant she didn’t like me and didn’t want to be with me. As I was in need of some company I really felt quite bad about this, and when I say bad I mean rather depressed and anxious and worried. I had a kind of empty feeling. So what I did was to look at what had happened as anger, instead of anxiety or depression. I tried to think of why I might be angry and the answer was obvious. The person didn’t want to see me. I wrote it down: How dare you reject me! Do you think you are better than me? Who are you to do this to me? I made sacrifices to spend time with you… etc etc. It might sound whacky but soon I felt much better, I felt that I had accessed what I had actually been feeling, and I felt better about myself!

So, anger is something that is worth thinking about if anxiety and depression and panic are problems in your life!