By Susanna Sweeney, MSc, MBACP, CHT
This article sets out to make the case for self esteem hypnotherapy:
There are few studies on the efficacy of clinical hypnosis in any area- and just a handful of studies on hypnosis for self esteem. (In my article on "Stop Smoking Hypnosis- What Does Science Say", see what my reasoning is as to why there is so little research conducted on hypnosis...).
Taylor (1995) used hypnosis and self hypnosis techniques as part of a 20 session behavioral program with HIV positive men who experienced anxiety, mood disorders and average to low self esteem. Ten subjects were randomly assigned to each test and control groups and were tested before and after the program. The test group showed significant changes both immediately after the program and at one month follow up.
Pekala et. al. (2004) used hypnotherapy for relapse prevention with a group of 261 US Army veterans who had become addicted to alcohol and drugs and were undergoing rehab treatment. The veterans were divided into four groups. Three groups received different types of treatment and one group acted as a control. The hypnosis group was tested for susceptibility. Those who were most susceptible practiced self hypnosis the most and showed the highest levels of self esteem and serenity at seven week follow up.
Louw and Vos, (2008) exposed university students to hypnosis based mental learning programs with the intent of testing whether these impacted the students' self concept. Groups and control groups were compared and hypnosis was shown to have a significant impact on the self concept of students in the two test groups.
Eleonore (2013) examined the use of hypnotherapy for pain management and re-building self esteem in patients post life changing surgeries. Hypnosis was shown to be a useful tool both in pain management and in building self esteem.
Castelnau, et. al. (2017) compared the efficacy of hypnosis and art therapy in building self esteem with children with ADHD. Their results suggested that both methods- art therapy and hypnosis- hold promising opportunities for improving self esteem with the target group and beyond.
As you can see, all five studies listed here- which was all the research I could find on self esteem hypnosis, confirmed that hypnosis is a viable tool for improving self esteem.
In my article on hypnosis for self esteem, I discussed why I feel most people should consider a course of self esteem hypnosis. In short, I have come to see that most people are- in some form or another wanting in self esteem. Why?
We absorb messages that are damaging to our self esteem from the culture around us. First and foremost we absorb such messages from well meaning parents who try to discipline thinking this will improve their child- but more often than not this achieves nothing but a dent on the child's self esteem.
Secondly, there are messages we absorb from teachers, childminders and other authority figures. As a child we are dependent on these adults and will absorb anything they say without question. If they say we are bad, then we will accept their story line.
This is what happened to my client, John.
John came to see me for self esteem hypnosis. A man in his thirties, he was a primary school teacher. Apart from when he was in his work environment, John was quite lonely and isolated. His feelings of isolation had increased after a relationship breakup two years ago.
Since then, public speaking had become a struggle for John. He can't nervous and insecure in front of the class room, especially with students he did not know or did not know well.
Overall, John had a feeling that slowly, his life was coming apart at the seams. Everything felt out of control. He was starting to put on weight. He noticed himself not being able to summon the motivation to exercise. He was rarely going out and losing contact with friends.
I asked John what he thought was at the root of all this. He talked about the trigger moment when all of this started after his girl friend left him for another man, but saw no connection to any conscious memory he had from his early life.
His family relationships were good, he reported. Growing up, although he did relatively well, he never enjoyed school, he said, but did not know why.
I felt the best course of action for John would be a course of regression hypnosis with some coaching built around the hypnotherapy work. Coaching can help to bring in a cognitive understanding of the issues that come up in regression hypnosis, and it can help with integrating the changes made during those sessions into one's life. John was happy to go that route.
I also gave John a recorded self hypnosis session for self esteem so that he could work with this at home daily to back up the regression program.
In his first session, John found it very hard to let go into the deep relaxation of the body that precedes hypnosis.
His conscious and subconscious minds were engaged in a power contest. This can often happen in a first hypnosis session. Many clients are misinformed and carry internalized hypnosis myths. One of these is that hypnosis is done to you- that the hypnotist will 'put you under', no matter how much you may resist.
However, how deep you go into hypnosis is all up to you. Going deep into hypnosis or self hypnosis trance is a learned process, too. The more you practice- the more you learn that letting go is perfectly safe.
I did what I could to help John relax. Beyond that, I trusted the process, knowing that you can do a fair bit of regression work even if the person is only in a shallow trance.
The first memory John reported in this session was of him, age 12, having just started secondary school. His teacher had humiliated John for giving what the teacher felt was a bad presentation on a set topic.
John had put a lot of effort and creativity into his work. But because he did not follow the instructions that had been given word by word, the teacher decided he had done a bad job. He interrupted John's presentation and made a humiliating remark, making John the laughing stock of the entire class room.
Young John had felt terrible shame at this, which lasted for months and resulted in him dreading going to school.
John said this was a memory he had always had. However, he had never attributed any significance to it. Looking at it now, in hypnosis, he felt connected to his young self and the hurt that had been caused. There was some anger with the teacher, but also, John was angry at himself. He blamed himself for not being prepared enough.
I concluded this first session with self esteem suggestions for John, and gave him home work to start mindfully noticing any occasion where he found he was belittling or berating himself. Bringing in conscious awareness works very well alongside hypnosis. In my experience, it facilitates an exchange of information between the conscious and subconscious minds.
In his second session, John relaxed much more. I could see that he now trusted the process.
The memories that emerged in the second session were all from an educational setting too, but from when John was much younger. They were not unfamiliar memories as such. However, John had not thought about them in a long time, and had never associated any emotions with them, and did not understand the impact these events had had on his younger self.
Age eight, a teacher had made him read aloud and, because he was not a fluid reader just yet, made the whole class laugh at his mistake. Again, there were feelings of humiliation and shame.
Age five, another teacher had forbidden John to use the toilet which he asked to use again and again during a particular class. In the end, he wet his pants because he could no longer hold on. This was the memory that finally enabled John to direct his anger at the teacher rather than be angry at himself.
Having been so young he saw clearly how he had not had any power or choice in the situation. When John stopped being angry with himself and was able to direct the anger where it belonged, he released himself from the burden of self blame.
Feeling anger was liberating for John who would usually see anger as uncomfortable and would be inclined to suppress it. Now, he was allowing himself to let the emotion in. We spent a lot of time on allowing him to feel every last bit of that anger.
After that stage, John could see how all these memories had impacted on his self esteem and how he had carried that impact for so many years. He was now able to forgive his younger self. This in turn led to accepting who he, John, really is.
As you can see, hypnosis for low self esteem helped John to turn his life around for the better. This case study highlights some of the benefits of self esteem hypnosis.
What follows are the five major benefits of self esteem hypnosis as I see them.
If you have been feeling blocked with realizing your goals and dreams, self esteem hypnosis may be just the thing for you. This is because the rationale behind building self esteem with hypnosis comes back to this simple dynamic: When you learn to value yourself more, your external circumstances will change to reflect this.
This means that when you develop higher self esteem, you are opening up to making your dreams a reality.
On one hand, this is because you will stop any self sabotaging behaviors. On the other, you will genuinely start to feel that you are worth more, and this will mean you will be able to contain more goodness in your life.
This simple rule applies to all areas of your life, including your finances- you can only contain those experiences that resonate with your mental images and innermost emotions. A case in point here is the phenomenon of people who win the lottery and find themselves completely broke again a couple of years later. What happened?
What happened is simple. These people returned to their comfort zones. They returned to what they were used to. To what they were conditioned to regards themselves worthy for. If you don't expand your inner self concept, you will continue to live the existing one, no matter how outdated it may be for you.
For more on this fascinating subject, see my article "Hypnosis for Self Esteem- Why Most People Should Consider It".
Most approaches to self esteem work that involve psychotherapy or coaching will involve hard work. You will have to be very active and may be required to spend significant chunks of time each day practicing new skills. The work can be long term and mostly, change can be very slow.
Is there any more convenient way is there to practice personal development than to do this by relaxing and letting go? If you choose to use self hypnosis for self esteem, you can even work from the comfort of your own home, at a time that is convenient for you.
When you carry self blame or anger turned inward as an impact of some experiences which negatively impacted your self esteem, life can become a daily struggle.
You would be battling with feelings of chronic shame, you might replay every interaction you have multiple times in your mind to check and double check if your behavior was 'okay', and lightness and enjoyment might be hard to come by.
Working with self esteem hypnosis, you will notice this burden lift quite quickly. As you feel better about yourself inside, lightness and joy will move into the space that has been freed up. This in turn will have all kinds of other positive knock on effects.
Simply put, improved self esteem makes you life easier as it takes out much of the mental struggle that results from old injuries, freeing up space and energy for positive emotions, for learning and skill development.
Where self esteem is all about how you feel about yourself on the inside, confidence describes how much you trust yourself to master particular tasks or projects. Confidence grows as you engage with particular tasks. But as well as that, your confidence levels are fed by your level of self esteem.
I am sure you can see immediately that when you stop criticizing yourself on the inside and instead give yourself approval, this will result in a sense that you can master any task or project much better.
You would then trust yourself to be able to take on any project, no matter how difficult it may be or how much learning there may be involved with it- simply because you trust yourself.
Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are very often accompanied by underlying low self esteem. What follows is that if you target the self esteem issue directly, mental health will improve alongside. This is another strong argument for why I consider self esteem hypnosis to be an essential building block in your program if you want to change your life with hypnotherapy.
Havening Techniques® are a novel form of treatment that has only been around for a few years. We offer this service along with hypnosis in our online clinic and find the treatment to be highly effective for a variety of conditions including self esteem.
I hope this article on self esteem hypnosis has helped to understand in a more tangible way using an example from my client work why boosting your self esteem is such important work, and how you could benefit. Did reading it bring any new insights? Let our community know in the comments underneath. I look forward to hearing from you.
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