By Susanna Sweeney, MSC, MBACP, CHT
Depression hypnosis is often the last considered option on a long list of interventions for depression.In this article I will make the case for why I believe you are well advised to include depression hypnosis in your recovery plan.
But first things first- if you think you may be depressed, do talk with your doctor first. You want to make sure to rule out any possible underlying medical reasons, and you want to make a good treatment plan for yourself with the doctor's support. This may well include talk therapy of some kind as well as hypnotherapy.
There are so many people these days who suffer from depression. Often, the family doctor is the first professional they tell about their struggle. And family doctors are quick to reach for the prescription pad. Before you know it, you may be on depression medication. Often, there are no regular reviews set up, and doctors don't discuss alternatives to medication.
This means, depression then becomes a medicated long term problem. The medication, if it works well, will suppress the symptoms. Typically, these medications have a long list of side effects. They typically carry a high price tag, too.
While the medication may be suppressing symptoms, it will never be able to resolve any underlying issues. Before they know it, many people become stuck in a rut, taking medication but not feeling any better.
Going for professional help was not addressed by the doctor, so it may take a long time until they do.
Eventually, the journey continues when they access professional help. The first port of call will typically be counselling.
Counselling can be very helpful, at least at the start of your journey. You are getting an objective outsider's help and support. Being in a non-judgemental environment and being able to share what is bothering you can lift a huge burden off your mind. You will learn better coping skills, too, which is also important.
But will counselling shift your symptoms of depression?
The honest answer is that there is no guarantee that this will happen. Your mood may or may not lift.
And if your mood doesn't lift, the point will come, and this may not dawn on you for a good while, where you actually become stuck with counselling. You then have achieved all the change that you are going to achieve there, but you keep going.
To consider the financial cost, if you are taking medication, calculate the cost of medication over the course of one year. Write the figure down.
Now calculate at your local rates of how much counsellors or psychotherapists charge for a one hour consultation, how much that will cost you over the course of a year. Consider that to achieve any meaningful changes in your life, you would have to attend psychotherapy for at least two years, weekly. Write the overall figure down.
Now, look up what hypnotherapists charge in your locality. It may look like a lot- when you look at the hourly rate in isolation. But when you take into consideration that hypnotherapy visits will be few and far between, the picture starts changing quite rapidly.
When I work with clients who suffer from depression, I would typically see them for two hypnotherapy sessions and some coaching sessions built around that to help them integrate the changes in their psyche, and to teach them self help skills they can use at home. Sometimes, there is a need for a third hypnotherapy session- but most of the time there isn't.
Clients may then come back the following year, or whenever it is that they are hitting the next internal block, and may do more work with me then.
When you look at it this way, there is a big saving in choosing hypnotherapy over counselling- when you feel ready to take the leap.
If you are not ready yet to take the leap, read my article on depression self help and, together with your counselor, work through the steps suggested to bring you towards recovery reliably and effectively. Take charge of your recovery journey, and before too long, you may be ready to remove the underlying blocks and bring you forward in life, using regression hypnosis.
There is a limit to how much time we each have in life. We don't consider this on a daily basis. But every now and then we should.
The scenario I described above is a journey many depression clients go through. from medication to counselling. By the time they reach the stage when they become stuck with counselling, they will have been in counselling for a couple of years, and might have relied on medication alone for a number of years before that.
We are talking about your precious life time, lost to depression!
Do you have a bucket list? Unfulfilled hopes and dreams? Write them down.
Hypnotherapy for depression can speed up your recovery drastically. (Read a client example at the link.)
Consider making depression hypnosis part of your recovery plan.
Although there is little interest in the world of academic research in the clinical applications of hypnotherapy, I found three studies that testify to what clinical hypnotherapists know to be true from their practice: hypnotherapy for depression works.
A 2014 study from the Netherlands found group hypnotherapy to be more effective than cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of depression. (1)
A 2016 study which used hypnotherapy with subjects suffering from major depression, connected to addictions. The researchers recommend hypnotherapy be used as an adjunctive treatment in addiction recovery.
A 2017 paper describes the use of hypnotherapy in palliative care in great detail outlining positive effects on patients and calls for research documenting the efficacy of depression hypnosis.
(1) Erfanian, Keshavarz, 2014. A comparative study in efficacy of group cognitive behavioral therapy and group hypnotherapy on depression. Open Access Library Journal.
In contrast to being on depression medication long term, working with hypnosis, especially when combined with a thorough depression self help plan, will improve your quality of life.
If you are using suggestion hypnosis, as you will be if you are using self hypnosis for depression, most likely you will need regular 'top ups' for your mind to continue to integrate the improvements until they are finally ready to stay.
If you work with a licensed professional hypnotherapist using regression hypnosis, you are removing underlying blocks in one go.
I have seen it and I know it can be done. You can become symptom free and live a fulfilled life once more.
To ground your program thoroughly and get the very best results you can get from it, I recommend you follow my advice in my article on how to get the best from life regression hypnosis.
A further benefit in using depression hypnosis lies in the fact that it is an all natural form of depression intervention.
I have already discussed depression medication above which relies on the use of chemicals and will have a long list of potential side effects.
If you like going the natural route, counseling combined with hypnosis for depression could work very well for you.
I have talked about the dependency on medication. I have also pointed out how a dependency can be set up with counseling.
If you use depression hypnosis, treatments will be few and far between. There is no room here for dependency.
Hypnotherapists are interested in facilitating you towards real change. They don't want to see you coming back every week.
Three may be other work you have to do outside of the hypnotherapy sessions which I have touched on above. You can use self help skills and /or the help of an experienced coach to move these pieces.
All of these methods facilitate you being independent. If you like the idea of being free from dependencies, hypnotherapy for depression could be ideal for you.
There are no side effects to using self hypnosis or suggestion hypnosis, no matter what subject area you might be working on, including depression. Suggestion hypnosis is perfectly safe to use, even when you are on medication.
If you undertake regression hypnosis and are well prepared, (follow my advice in my article on life regression hypnosis) regression hypnosis, too, will come without side effects.
From my experience, regression hypnosis is a very safe and contained way of working. At the end of a session, people usually feel grounded and ready to carry on with their lives, although I will always advise someone to take things easy for the remainder of the day.
A thorough program of depression hypnosis should include both suggestion and regression hypnosis sessions. The suggestion part can be delivered as a maintenance self hypnosis session that you play to yourself daily. This would be the most cost effective way of making use of hypnotherapy for depression.
Having said that, see the story here of a man who recovered from depression using suggestion hypnosis alone.
This might not work for everyone, so I will typically recommend you come at the issue with both approaches, suggestion and regression combined. This way you can be sure to achieve real change- change that is permanent.
As you improve- and always working with your doctor, you could then, step by step, reduce and eventually get rid of medication for depression. Imagine this vision- being free from depression and enjoying life once more. Following your hopes and dreams. Finding meaning again. You can change your life with hypnotherapy for depression.
I know it can be done, and I believe you can achieve this, too. I will keep my fingers crossed for you.
If you are new to hypnosis and know little, you may also find the following articles helpful:
My article "What Is Hypnosis?" gives a simple explanation for what the state of hypnosis is and what it does.
"Does Hypnotherapy Work?" addresses those niggling doubts about hypnotherapy. Have you heard mixed things about hypnotherapy? This article is for you.
"How Does Hypnotherapy Work?" gives an overview over the main therapeutic techniques used in hypnotherapy so that you will know exactly what to expect.
"How Hypnosis Can Help" gives a great introductory overview about the top ten issues hypnotherapy is used to help people with.
Enjoy the read!
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