Hypnosis for Anxiety & Depression: How Does it Work & Can it Help You?

By Krista


Last Updated: March 24, 2022

Hypnosis might sound like a load of hocus-pocus. We totally get it. But with more and more scientific info coming out about the power of the mind, maybe there’s something to it.

Hypnotherapy for anxiety and depression is taking off as a form of alternative medicine and therapy. In fact, countless individuals have claimed that this method has literally changed their life. So, let’s dive into this topic a little further. What is hypnosis exactly? How does it work? Can it help with anxiety and depression? 


What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis, also called hypnotherapy, is considered a “trance-like state” where an individual has increased attention and is more prone to suggestibility. Contrary to popular belief, the person isn’t simply asleep. Rather, they are very attentive to the therapist performing this technique.

While the mind continues to remain a bit of a mystery, we do know that the power of suggestion is, well, powerful. In fact, what you repeat to your mind is usually what your reality becomes. 

Thus, the idea of hypnotherapy is that the therapist can offer suggestions to the mind in a state where the person is more relaxed and more likely to consider such suggestions (meaning their fears and limiting beliefs don’t get in the way as much!).

In other words, hypnosis forces you to look at a problem on a deeper level, without the distractions that our ultra-alert and conscious mind tends to show us.

And maybe you’re thinking, “Whoa, hold on, I’ve seen the videos where hypnotists get people up on stage and dancing like chickens.” 

There’s actually a fairly logical explanation for this!

First off, the people that are more likely to follow these suggestions are more likely to volunteer themselves to get up on stage. Second, if you’re willing to get up on stage, you probably are okay with exposing yourself to some ridicule or attention. While it’s also a little more complex than this, hopefully this helps offer some kind of explanation for this.

In reality, hypnosis when used in a therapeutic setting is very beneficial, including for anxiety and depression.


Is Hypnosis Good for Anxiety and Depression?

Hypnotherapy for anxiety and depression uses the following methods:

  • Relaxation - This helps take your body and mind out of the stress (or fight-or-flight mode).
  • Suggestion - While TV and movies often show strong suggestions, usually, these suggestions are quite gentle and they really are just suggestions! For instance, maybe your therapist will suggest that when you feel anxiety, you learn to lean on yourself and self-soothe or something similar to this.
  • Coping skills - During your hypnotic session, your therapist may guide you through coping mechanisms that can help you navigate anxiety and depression. For instance, when using hypnosis for social anxiety, maybe your therapist will suggest you practice taking a few deep breaths before speaking publicly or maybe they will help you use visualization and imagery to relax.
  • Diving deeper into the problem - Hypnosis for anxiety and depression can also be used to discover deeper layers to the problem you’re facing. For instance, maybe your anxiety arises from a traumatic experience as a child.


Can Anxiety Be Reduced By Hypnosis?

Hypnotherapy for anxiety is an effective treatment method. Research even shows how hypnotherapy alters the brain and lights up areas of focused attention, greater emotional control, and reduced self-consciousness.

Studies further show that the average participant treated with hypnosis improved 84% more than the control subjects. However, it’s important to note that in many cases, hypnosis techniques were combined with other techniques and methods for the most efficient and effective treatment.

Related Article: 7 Easy Ways to Stop Anxiety & Chronic Stress From Ruining Your Life


How Successful is Hypnotherapy for Anxiety?

When it comes to anxiety disorders, the evidence is really mixed. Yet, for those prone to the “anxiety trait,” hypnotherapy is found to be very successful and effective. 

In truth, the only way to find out if it works for you is by trying it. Every person is different, and the combination of treatments that works well for one person might not always be the best option for someone else. If you’re interested, discuss your options with your doctor or look up hypnosis for anxiety near you and find a reputable therapist that offers this type of treatment.

Related Article: Do the 333 Rule and the 54321 Method Help People Struggling With Anxiety?


Other Things to Know About Hypnotherapy for Anxiety and Depression

Hypnosis is considered safe. Yet, as previously mentioned, not everything is right for everyone. Some things you’ll want to be aware of before trying it include:

  • Being aware that, in some cases, this type of treatment may create false memories.
  • If you are very suggestable, you might feel out of control when under hypnosis, potentially making it not right for you and your life.
  • Some individuals actually experience increased anxiety, headaches, and dizziness.
  • Hypnotherapy is likely not suitable for individuals who experience hallucinations, psychosis, or delusions.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that hypnosis doesn’t cause you to forget things nor will it put your control completely in the hands of someone else. Unfortunately, hypnotherapy comes with various misconceptions, many of which are completely false!


Getting Started…

When searching for a hypnotherapist near you, try first looking up a hypnotherapist in the National Board Certified Hypnotherapist. This organization certifies hypnotherapists in the United States, Britain, and Europe. Alternatively, you can also try hypnosis apps for anxiety, which might be more affordable for many.

The most likely worst-case scenario is that you simply won’t like this technique. And if it doesn’t work for you, there are many other treatments for anxiety and depression available today.

Lastly, remember, you're not alone. The Rock is famously quoted as saying, “I found that with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it.” 

Read Next: 10 Ways to Improve Your Mental Well-Being Right Now

Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash


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