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Why Do People Use Hypnosis To Treat Anxiety

Anxiety describes the agitated state we experience when our brain looks into the future and predicts a threat towards our life or the things we value. People suffering from anxiety conditions tend to be unable to enjoy the present moment but instead live in the future, their minds seeking out and experiencing any and all possible threats as though they are real and happening now. “The news says the economy is down 2%…. my boss might fire me…. I’ll be homeless…. my wife will leave me….” The chronically anxious person is unable to leave such thoughts alone, accurately assess their likelihood or factor-in their ability to cope with such situations should they ever arise. The emotions can become so over-whelming they can stop functioning altogether and they stop enjoying the usual pleasures in their lives.


Panic Attacks

Many anxious clients have episodes of panic attacks, where the emotion is so high, the physiological symptoms feel like they are about to die. These can be devastating to a person’s confidence and only add to the general levels of anxiety since they now have the added fear of a possible future panic attack.


Hypnosis has been used for centuries to help people change the way their unconscious mind responds to the daily chatter of life. In many situations, a person learns to be anxious due to a single large, or many small threatening situations they encountered earlier on in life. Many people suffering from an assault, for instance, can often fail to recover in the weeks and months that follow; instead, they find themselves more reclusive, less ambitious and chronically worried about going out in the world. This same pattern can occur in situations of dating, social interactions, work advancement, etc. and the initial cause needn’t be anything as serious as an assault. The problem is the way the brain stores the memory and keeps the warnings and suffering present. In many cases clients are not consciously aware of the events that led to their current situation until gentle trance work releases the memory in a safe and useful way.

What Happens in an Hypnosis Session?

Cognitive Hypnotherapy is a modern form of hypnosis that uses many different types of intervention to reprogram the brain. Most people are familiar with the well known forms of hypnosis where you are gently taken into a light sleep-like state that allows the hypnotist to add many powerful lasting suggestions that entrain the mind to respond more usefully. However, a lot of modern hypnosis is done conversationally using quick, light trance work, short mental visualisations and a number of psycho-sensory treatments which can be faster and more reliable than a single deep-trance hypnosis treatment.


Psychological treatments have radically improved over the last decade. There is a great deal of interest in treatments such as EMDR (also IEMT/EMI) that we rapidly use to remove old, unhelpful emotional responses in a matter of minutes. Then, formal hypnosis may be used to encourage feelings of confidence, strength and resolve that get the client moving in the right direction so they can engage in activities likely to create authentic happiness again.


Evidence Based Treatment for Anxiety

In the case of anxiety and depression treatments, I use standard IAPT measures, the same as your doctor uses, so that we can see how quickly your measures for depression and anxiety are resolving – or to change tack if they are not! Quest based Cognitive Hypnotherapy is the only form of hypnotherapy with published data on its effectiveness (shown to be more effective than CBT).


How Does Anti-Anxiety Medication Fail to Resolve Anxiety?

Doctors are very effective in treating diseases of the body (a biological system). Unfortunately, their great success has encouraged them to extend the use of their medical model outside of its natural scope. Doctors use medication, that typically dampens down the emotional response to perceived threats experienced by the anxious person. The response can be hit and miss since the system as a whole is changed, rather than their overly negative assessment of the threat, which is the actual problem. These changes act like a very blunt instrument which is why medication typically has so many side effects, creating problems with sleep, appetite, mood, etc. Additionally this medication isn’t a treatment for anxiety, once you stop, everything typically goes back to before, adding another layer of fear for the client. Often larger doses are needed over time since the patient’s method of dealing with, and assessing threat situations, is unchanged. The medication helps some people function better but they do nothing to address the cause of the anxiety. Cognitive Hypnotherapy is adjusting the software of the brain, removing the old unhelpful emotional evaluations, putting in more helpful ones, so that it can run as it is supposed to run. We are changing the way a few rogue neurons fire, medication is effecting the whole brain.


Arrange Your Session Today

If your life is currently limited by the strong emotions discussed above, even if you’ve tried other treatments, contact me today for a chat so that together we can create a fast, effective and very positive change for the rest of your life. I typically see clients between two and four sessions for these types of issue. Improvement should be obvious from the early sessions.



Simon A. Bates
MNCH(Acc) BSc Cog. Sci. MNLP




“Thanks for all your help and for always being so generous with your time and attention. I’ve let go of a lot of things and I definitely feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin (that’s a big thing for me) and as a massive bonus, the session we spent preparing the [hypnosis track] was hugely valuable. So thank you for all of that – you are a brilliant therapist and a really lovely human being.”

NB – Anxiety