As 2021 rolls on, many are still struggling with the emotional impact caused by COVID-19. Some are experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression as people remain isolated from the outside world. This encouraged many to try different ways to kill boredom and stay relaxed amid all the craziness in times of COVID-19.
To lessen the emotional burden of quarantine, people are trying out meditative techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, self-care activities, and in-home massages using body-massaging machines.
But those who have a hard time dealing with mental disorders turn to psychologists and mental health experts to manage their symptoms. While others rely on counseling, others try out a new technique called hypnotherapy or hypnotism as mental therapy.
In films, actors often portray hypnosis as a control tactic—to force the victim to fall in love or commit crimes, for instance. People often view hypnotists as wacky magicians who do stand-up acts. The way media projects hypnosis makes it appear it’s for fun, but in reality, there’s more to hypnosis than just an entertainment act. In fact, therapists use hypnosis to promote health and well-being.
If you’re new to the idea of using hypnosis to treat mental health conditions, you will likely feel reluctant to try this technique. To know more about hypnotherapy, we’ll explore how it works and its benefits to mental health.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis, also called hypnotherapy, is a trance-like state where the person goes through heightened concentration and focus. It relies on intense concentration, focused attention, and guided relaxation to experience a trance or a heightened state of awareness. Only a certified therapist can conduct this practice, as it involves using mental images and verbal repetition as treatment. When the person is under hypnosis, they will feel more relaxed and calm.
During hypnotherapy, the patient’s attention remains focused while in a trance that everything happening around them is temporarily ignored or blocked out. With the guidance of a trained therapist, the person will only focus their attention on specific tasks or thoughts.
Hypnotherapy serves as a supplementary treatment to psychotherapy because it allows the patient to explore painful memories, feelings, and thoughts they kept hidden within their conscious minds. The techniques also enable the patient to see things differently, such as blocking the sensation of pain.
Therapists perform hypnotherapy in two ways: patient analysis or suggestion therapy.
The patient analysis takes advantage of the calm state to examine the psychological cause of a particular symptom or disorder. One example is a traumatic event the patient has kept in their unconscious memory. If the therapist identifies the trauma, psychotherapy will tackle this problem.
Meanwhile, suggestion therapy uses the hypnotic state to encourage the patient to respond to suggested tasks or thoughts. Thus, hypnosis can help patients overcome negative habits such as nail-biting and smoking. It also allows patients to change sensations and perceptions, especially when dealing with pain.
Advantages of hypnosis
Hypnosis is an effective technique for treating stress, anxiety, and depression. For example, health practitioners conduct hypnosis if the patient feels stressed and anxious before and during a surgery to reduce pain perception and speed up recovery times.
In some cases, patients seek hypnosis to control pain, hot flashes, behavioral changes, side effects of surgery or radiation treatment, and mental health conditions. Hypnosis can also contribute to the success of other treatments for various mental disorders and negative habits, such as stress, grief, loss, fears, phobia, post-trauma anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. More importantly, it helps patients who have severe symptoms and in need of crisis management.
Disadvantages of hypnosis
Hypnotherapy is not applicable for patients who have a severe mental illness. Only trained professionals should conduct this treatment because hypnosis can cause strong emotions and false memories.
Hypnosis is not advisable for patients who manifest psychotic symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, and those who are drug and alcohol dependent. Hypnosis is more appropriate for pain management, especially if the patient will undergo surgical treatment.
Therapists also use hypnosis to recover repressed memories, which they believe are connected to the patient’s mental disorder. But the reliability and quality of information recollected by the patient are not always true and reliable.
While many have recognized the benefits of hypnotherapy, there’s still much advocacy work to be done to eliminate misconceptions about hypnosis. Through proper research and evidence, people will eventually warm up to this new technique to cure various mental health conditions. Overcoming barriers in efficient care will also open opportunities for patients to explore other options for treatment.