Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
Hypnotherapy for anxiety can be tricky. I had a recent experience while working with a client. The experience made me more aware of how sensitive you need to be when anxiety, or fear is present. During the initial interview I was able to get a good amount of rapport. After the pre-talk I felt like she was ready to start working on the issue.
Initial Hypnotic Responses
As I worked with her she went into trance very quickly, and obtained a very deep state of relaxation. While helping her to access her fear I realized that she was having difficulty following along. I have used hypnotherapy for anxiety many different times. I have helped people overcome test anxiety, panic attacks, and reducing the fear of public speaking. Each time I have worked with fear recreating the state, and then disassociating has been extremely effective in eliminating the fear reaction. How ever I could tell by her physical reactions that she was not really focused on what I was saying. During the first session I thought that it just might have been concern about an unfamiliar environment. I resolved that during the next session she would be more responsive and gave her some post hypnotic suggestions then brought her out.
Hypnosis Session 2
During the next session she went quickly into trance and had no trouble relaxing, but again would not access the desired state. After a short time I decided that maybe it was the formal induction that was keeping her from accessing the state. I brought her out of trance and started to work with her using some waking hypnosis techniques. This just looks like normal conversation so at this time her friend that had come with her to the session decided it would be a good time to get a drink of water. Almost immediately after her friend left the room I noticed that she accessed the desired state. It was remarkable how the expression on her face changed. Her eyes opened wider, and her pupils dilated as she accessed everything she needed I quickly anchored the state in order to use it later. Once her friend came back into the room the state was gone and she was back to normal.
It was then I realized that it was not the method I was using it was the psychological interference from the friend in the room. I do not think that this friend was involved in the events that caused the fear initially, but they were definitely affecting the response of their friend trying to get help.
Sensitivity is Key
In retrospect I should have guessed what the problem was but the fact that the friend was there as a source of security made me overlook the fact that often times people will hide emotions and feelings, due to a fear of rejection and a desire for acceptance. This is especially true when using hypnotherapy for anxiety. Many times an initial sensitizing event can be a past rejection. This is especially true if it is an important figure in someones life.
The lesson here is to just be sensitive to the environment many times there is something simple that is stifling real change. It just may be sitting right there.