In last week’s blogpost I wrote about the incidence of some anxiety conditions within Australia, and the types of hypnotherapy which can be used to assist with these conditions.
This week, I am giving a specific example of how hypnotherapy can be used to assist someone with social anxiety. Lets follow the progress of an imaginary 25 year old woman, Daria, who seeks help from a hypnotherapist as she becomes anxious when she thinks about socialising in public.
- First, Daria would be asked the background to the issue – when it started, what was happening around that time, has she experienced any similar anxiety in other situations, etc. This is to start to make connections with possible causes of the issue.
- Daria would then be asked about her symptoms. perhaps she gets a sick feeling in her stomach, or a breathless feeling in her chest. Perhaps she finds it difficult to think what to say, or cannot look at the other people around her.
- Daria would then be taught about how anxiety is a useful reaction to a threat, and that it is protective of her when she needs it. However, her subconscious mind perceives social interaction in the same way as it views an actual threat to her wellbeing – which is not helpful to her.
- She would then be given a chance to practice how to relax. There are several techniques for this – e.g. deep breathing, progressive relaxation. She may be given a recording of the hypnotherapy part of the session to allow her to listen to it between appointments.
- She would also be guided (while in hypnosis) through imagining attending a social event. This ‘rehearsal’ would start from the first time she feels anxiety, e.g., perhaps when she arranges to meet her friends for coffee at the weekend. It would continue until after the event, e.g., when she has returned home, and is thinking about the success of the event (especially important if Daria tends to analyse her ‘performance’ at social events).
- The hypnotherapy allows her to experience the preparation, event, and post-event analysis while feeling extremely relaxed, and she can visualise positive outcomes such as looking forward to the event, being able to speak to people, others being interested in what she has to say, and feeling happy and proud of herself when she returns home. Daria would also be given ‘posthypnotic suggestions’ to help her re-activate these feelings when she next arranges a meeting with her friends, or prepares for other social events.
- To get to the cause of the issue, the next step could be hypnoanalysis. This allows Daria’s subconscious mind to think back (while in hypnosis) to the first time that she felt anxious about social occasions. Her subconscious mind is a vast storehouse of information that her conscious mind may have ‘forgotten’, and these memories are easier to access when in hypnosis in a relaxed and calm state. (If Daria was to get upset by a memory, the hypnotherapist could intervene, and help her relax again. It could then be discussed when Daria was back to full awareness.)
- Daria may remember being embarrassed and teased by her friends at school when she was 8 years old. Perhaps she was shy, or was not able to run as fast as her friends, or do other things that her friends could do. This made her feel inferior and ashamed. She may then remember an earlier incident when she was 5 years old, where her older brothers and sisters made fun of her when she was playing with them.
- The hypnotherapist can then help Daria reassure her younger 8 year old self that she will grow up to be a successful adult (perhaps even a very good runner). The same procedure can be used to reassure the 5 year old Daria in the earlier incident that her brothers and sisters were only acting like normal children.
The result is that these hypnoanalysis techniques will often relieve the anxiety that Daria feels as an adult, as the anxiety was based on the earlier incidents which are now resolved.
If any type of anxiety is preventing you from living life as you want to live, please contact me at Sunset Coast Hypnotherapy on 0403 932311, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more information or for a free phone consultation. We can discuss your specific requirements, and there is absolutely no obligation to proceed with hypnotherapy unless you choose to do so.
© Lisa Billingham, 2018