Hypnosis, often misunderstood as a technique of fascination used in magic shows, is, in reality, a scientifically acknowledged therapeutic tool. It allows individuals to achieve a heightened state of receptivity, making it remarkably effective in improving mental health. Under hypnosis, the mind becomes more open to suggestions and positive changes, helping to manage stress, anxiety, phobias, and other mental health issues.
What does science say?
In a study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, researchers conducted a meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of hypnosis as a treatment for anxiety. The study, published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis scrutinised the impact of hypnosis in comparison to control conditions in alleviating anxiety symptoms.
Out of 399 records, 15 studies with 17 separate trials met the stringent inclusion criteria. The results were compelling. At the conclusion of the treatment, the average participant who underwent hypnosis exhibited a more significant reduction in anxiety symptoms than approximately 79% of those in the control group, as indicated by a mean weighted effect size of 0.79 (p ≤ .001).
The long-term effects were even more pronounced. After the longest follow-up period, data from seven trials showed that those treated with hypnosis surpassed about 84% of the control participants in terms of improvement.
Notably, hypnosis, when combined with other psychological interventions, proved more effective in reducing anxiety than when used as a standalone treatment. This study underscores the potential of hypnosis as a powerful tool in the therapeutic arsenal against anxiety, especially when integrated with other treatment modalities.
The mechanics of hypnosis
Hypnosis operates by guiding individuals into an intense state of concentration and suggestibility, often likened to daydreaming or deep meditation. In this state, the mind becomes exceptionally open to positive suggestions and transformations. The duration of a hypnosis session can vary, but most sessions last between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
While other relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga can yield immediate short-term relief, hypnosis stands out for its potential for long-lasting change. The state of heightened receptivity achieved during hypnosis facilitates lasting cognitive and behavioural shifts, which can lead to sustainable mental health improvements. Research suggests that these changes, induced through therapeutic hypnosis, can persist over time, providing enduring relief from symptoms of anxiety, stress, and other mental health disorders.
What conditions can be effectively treated using hypnosis?
Hypnosis has been found to be effective in managing a wide range of mental health issues, including
- Chronic pain
- Panic attacks
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These conditions occur due to an imbalance in thought patterns, which hypnosis can help address by providing a deeper understanding of the root cause and altering negative perceptions. It can also aid in improving self-esteem, enhancing performance, and boosting confidence.
How to try self-hypnosis?
To achieve optimal outcomes, it’s advisable to consult a qualified hypnotherapist. Their specialised expertise can help in providing precise and impactful suggestions that are customised to your specific situation and requirements. Additionally, for those interested in self-hypnosis, the app Unwind offers a range of guided hypnosis sessions conducted by a certified hypnotherapist. This app is a great resource for those who wish to independently discover the advantages of self-hypnosis.
Ellen Doiamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.