UPDATE 21-10-08 Please reas this post in conjunction with this post: Hypnoanalysis.
The fact of the matter is, there is no proof hypnoanalysis works for anxiety. That is to say that there are no rigorous scientific studies that have used acceptable research methods to prove that Hypnoanalysis is better than a placebo therapy or one of the other therapies available like CBT when it comes to treating anxiety disorders or panic attacks.
Does that mean you should avoid hypnoanalysis like the plague? It is after all expensive and won’t there be some strange man messing around in your head?
Actually, I wouldn’t say that at all. For while there is no evidence that Hypnoanalysis works, there is no evidence that it doesn’t. The statistics have never been crunched, the experiments have never been done. It is difficult to do such research as there are many different approaches to hypnoanalysis. That said, a university psychology department that had the inclination and the funding could conduct a trial using one of the mainstream hypnoanalytical methods. It would also make sense for one of the larger hypnoanalysis organisations (that no doubt charge their members an annual fee) should pay for independent, rigorous research into the efficacy of hypnoanalysis on anxiety. These organisations tend to say things like “why should we organise research into something we know works?”. This is a very silly argument indeed.
Research into anxiety treatment through hypnoanalysis would validate the treatment, lead to more clients for hypnotherapists, better recognition for the intervention and of course cure more people of anxiety – if the therapy proved to be successful. If it doesn’t work then at least people know.
Also, research needs to take into account the level of efficacy. For example we are often told that CBT helps 80% of patients, but helps them how much? If, for example, hypnoanalysis cured only 25% of patients, while CBT helped 80% of anxiety sufferers to cope with the basics of day to day life then the one in four chance of a complete resolution through hypnoanalysis would like like an avenue worth exploring for most anxiety sufferers. (This is based on the claim that through a psychodynamic approach hypnoanalysis removes the cause of the anxiety, as it claims to do).
So, more research please!