Among the numerous strategies one can take to remain sober, hypnotherapy is just beginning to be recognized in the medical and psychiatric community as a viable option. While fresh and relatively unexplored, therapists are now studying this method of counseling and in particular how it can be used to tame addiction.
Hypnotherapy for Addiction Recovery
Hypnosis, and hypnotherapy by extension, works by accessing a deeper level of the mind commonly referred to as the subconscious and inducing a sort of trance state in the patient. In this trance state, the patient is highly relaxed and suggestible, and all memories stored in the subconscious are made accessible. When these life experiences are revealed to the patient and the surface conscious and the subconscious are on the same page, patients are able to let go of addiction and face their lives with a more relaxed, realistic outlook.
While encouraging abstinence is a crucial part of any addiction therapy, hypnotherapy focuses more on promoting self-love and self-compassion. Addiction is a complex result of suffering and problems with self worth that limit control in an addict’s life. When patients access their subconscious and realize what they want their lives to really look like, they are able to master their problems and positively move forward.
More research is still needed in the field of hypnosis, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that hypnotherapy and relaxation techniques can aid in anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and panic disorders. However, hypnotherapy is rarely if ever the sole method of treatment for a patient. It is most often paired with counseling, medication, and/or other forms of treatment.
In order for hypnotherapy to succeed, the person being hypnotized must be completely on board for the process. Hypnotherapists work with the patient to identify the desired outcome from the therapy, then use vocal techniques to guide the patient into a state of extreme relaxation. In this state, patients can come to terms with the trials they have experienced in the past, and remember them with ease and perspective. This allows patients to learn to love themselves again and to not shame themselves over mistakes made in the past.
Hypnotherapy should not be considered for individuals who suffer from schizophrenia or psychosis, or who are currently under the influence of drugs or alcohol or who are experiencing withdrawal, as psychosis can accompany these conditions. It is best for addicts to seek out this form of treatment after treatment is well underway and they are ready and able to face their past in a way they never have before.
It does well to remember that hypnotherapy and crackpot stage hypnosis are not the same thing. To be clear, being hypnotized by a stranger in a funny suit at a dinner or magic show does not relate to the process of hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy encourages honesty and security with a trusted therapist who only has the patient’s best health in mind. Nothing is ever said by the patient against his or her will.
When used correctly in a safe setting, hypnosis is a power form of treatment that, when combined with other therapies, can lead to powerful and long lasting improvements in addicts’ lives.