Do you frequently feel anxiety? Do you want to overcome your feelings of anxiety but are unsure on what to do? For many people hypnotherapy is what has helped them to overcome their feelings of anxiety. To help understand what hypnotherapy is and how hypnotherapy can help alleviate anxiety, I have interviewed therapist Lora Hanna, L.I.S.W.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker with a private psychotherapy practice in Columbus, OH. I received my master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Chicago, and then pursued certification from the Academy for Guided Imagery in Santa Monica, California as well as becoming a certified hypnotherapist through the School of Personal Growth in Cleveland, OH.”
“In my practice, I specialize in using guided imagery and hypnotherapy to help my clients tap into their inner wisdom, strength, and creativity. I often work with clients on issues of stress management and anxiety.”
What is hypnotherapy?
“Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool for accessing the subconscious mind to help achieve personal goals and create desired changes. Contrary to some popular misconceptions, hypnosis is not sleep or mind control. Hypnosis is a heightened state of awareness. In this state of selective thinking, the person (who is in control) chooses to experience only what is relevant to the task at hand, blocking out everything else. It may also be described as guided concentration.”
“Hypnosis, simply put, is a relaxed and focused state of mind. Most people can be trained to enter this state of deep relaxation and purposefully narrowed attention easily and safely in just a few sessions with the help of a trained hypnotherapist.”
How can hypnotherapy alleviate anxiety?
“Hypnotherapy can work as an effective, non-drug alternative for anxiety and stress-reduction. By quieting down the body and the mind, filling the mind with relaxing images rather than anxiety-producing thoughts, hypnosis sets into motion a chain reaction of physiological responses, such as hormonal changes and changes in immune system function. Hypnosis reduces the effects of stress and anxiety on the body by turning off the flight or fight response, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure and relaxing muscle tension. Brain waves may alter, and endorphins (your body’s “feel-good” chemicals) may be released. These changes, in turn, stimulate other positive changes such as lowered production of stress hormones and increase the protective T-cell production by the immune system.”
“So, not only does hypnosis help you to feel much more calm and relaxed, every time you use hypnosis, you are enhancing your mind and body’s overall wellness. Most people can learn to use self-hypnosis easily so they can regularly enter this relaxed state, training their mind and body to maintain a much more relaxed state every day. In addition, clients can learn to use hypnosis to immediately calm and relax themselves should something provoke an anxious response.”
What is a typical session using hypnotherapy like for someone?
“Generally, I will have you relax on a chair or lie down on a couch, getting your body into a comfortable position. I will invite you to close your eyes, guide you through some gentle, relaxing breathing, and then help you to relax your muscles. I will then ask you to allow an image of a safe and relaxing place to form in your mind. Each client is encouraged to allow their own most relaxing place to emerge, as people have highly specific places that evoke their relaxation response.”
“I will guide you to experience this image using all of your senses, as this makes the image more powerful and uses more areas of your brain, thus producing a more potent sense of relaxation. So, for example, if your safe place is the beach, you may feel the sand underneath your toes, smell the salty fragrance of the ocean, see the beautiful blue of the sky and water, and hear the waves and seagulls. I will invite you to relax in this place for several minutes, fully soaking in this deep state of relaxation. Lastly, I will guide you gently back into the room and process the experience, discussing how you can best use this hypnotic state to reach your goals.”
What last advice would you like to leave for someone who is coping with anxiety and is considering hypnotherapy?
“I would encourage people to consider hypnotherapy as a safe non-drug alternative to help with relaxation, anxiety and stress management. Not only is it easy to learn, enjoyable, and has no negative side effects, it is can also be an important tool to help you achieve overall health and wellness. Most of my clients are amazed at how gentle and easy and effective hypnosis is and they often use it on their own between sessions. Rather than giving up control to the hypnotherapist, as some people fear, clients discover their own ability to have greater control over their mind and emotions using hypnosis.”
Thank you Lora for doing the interview on hypnotherapy for anxiety. For more information on Lora Hanna or her work check out her website on www.lorahanna.com.
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