Total Pageviews

Thursday, 18 August 2016


Hypnotic Approaches to Anxiety Fear & Panic Attacks

Rosa Livingstone, CHt, CLC,

Clinical Hypnotherapist; Certified Life Coach; Mind Empowerment Coach

Anxiety is so prevalent in our world today.  Our lives go at a faster pace today society than it did during our grandparent's day.  Sure, we've benefited in many ways with technology, economics, etc, which have helped us all lead better lives.  But on the downside, we have less personal interactions(just watch teens on their Iphones and tablets), we have more 'things' to seemingly make us happier, and we do not have the support of large familial or community groups as was needed years ago in order to survive (psychologically and physically).
 There are many situations that come up in everyday life in which it is totally appropriate and reasonable to react with some anxiety. I call it "good anxiety'.   If you didn't feel any anxiety in response to everyday life challenges involving potential loss or failure, something would be wrong.
In my practise, a large percentage of my clients have come to me regarding their issue with anxiety.  It ranges from general anxiety (GAD), social anxiety (also known as social phobia), panic disorder (attacks), obsessive anxiety (OCD).  I would say that the percentage of clients that see me because anxiety is their main issue or in part it is included in the cluster of issues within their scope of goals, would be 75%.
 I was searching the internet for Canadian statistics on anxiety and it didn't surprise me that our numbers are high. The Statistics Canada Community Health Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing has revealed that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems in Canada.  This recent survey estimates that 1,040,000 Canadians (3.2%) have social anxiety disorder, 480,000 Canadians (1.5%) have panic disorder, and 227,000 Canadians (0.7%) have agoraphobia.  The percentages may seem low but look at the numbers. 
I also cam across an article by E. J. Bourne, a well known psychologist and researcher.  He explains that, "Anxiety disorders are distinguished from everyday normal anxiety in that they involve anxiety that 1) is more intense (for example panic attacks), 2) last longer (anxiety that may persist for a months instead of going away after a stressful situation has passed), 3) leads to phobias that interfere with your life.
Anxiety can be distinguish from fear in several ways. When you are afraid, your fear is usually directed toward some concrete external object or situation. The event that you fear is usually within the bounds of possibility (not meeting a deadline, failing an exam, being rejected by someone you want to please and so on). When you experience anxiety, on the other hand, you often can't specify what it is you are anxious about. The focus of anxiety is more internal than external. It seems to be a response to a vague, distant or even unrecognized danger.  Anxiety is a physiological, behavioural, and psychological reaction all at once".
On a physiological level, anxiety causes many body reactions such as rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, queasiness, dry mouth, or sweating. On a behavioural level, it can sabotage your ability to act, express yourself, or deal with certain everyday situations. Psychologically, anxiety is a subjective state of apprehension and uneasiness. In its most extreme form, it can cause you to feel detached from yourself and even fearful of dying or going crazy. With panic attacks, you can also experience chest pain which is often mistaken for a heart attack. 
Surprisingly, there isn’t much written about this important subject in books about hypnosis. There are many hypnotherapists who won't even touch the problems of anxiety and panic attacks. This is an important and regrettable omission.
Causes of anxiety and panic
Extreme anxiety and full-fledged panic attacks can be triggered by single events or a series of events. They can arise out of ones own experience or from the experience of others.
Anxiety and panic can be triggered by accidents, illnesses or the deaths of friends or family members--incidents that suddenly thrust people before their own contingency. I still vividly recall the passing of one of my best friends. I looked at her as she lay in hospice and saw myself; I knew that my own life would come to an end one day. I was aware, suddenly, that there was no way I could be sure of just long my life would be, or how it would end.
For some individuals, anxiety attacks have a sudden onset and may leave as mysteriously as they began. In severe cases of anxiety or panic--those that dont go away—the symptoms are apparent, while the true causes remain unknown. There appears to be no particular incident or condition to cause the panic attacks; therefore, the cause, hidden from the person, remains a threat because it is unresolved. The fear response occurs when there is, seemingly, nothing to fear; in fact, soon, ones panic is over the fear of the panic returning.
Some panic attacks are triggered by seemingly innocuous incidents that are symbolic of some event or condition earlier in the person's life.  I had a client who is a long-distance truck driver who became anxious and panicked whenever he had to travel a road with a steep drop on one side - a very limiting experience for a driver. Although he quickly would catch himself and his conscious mind shrugged off each incident of fear as unimportant, the subconscious imprint remained, leading to his fear of falling off the edge.  And it only got worst.
Regressing him to the root cause of his phobia, he recalled that as a 5 year old child, he rode his bike too close to the side of the sidewalk, and fell onto the road.  He wasn’t hurt but it terrified him.  Once he was aware that his anxiety came from a long-past incident, and the slip off the sidewalk was a trigger for his current fear, once the event was reframed and he realized he was safe, it disappeared, altogether.
The Benefits of Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy is effective in helping people with either mild or severe cases of anxiety. In mild cases, simple reprogramming with hypnotic suggestions can give people relief.  Hypnotic suggestions replace catastrophic thoughts or over-anxiousness with truthful statements about the nature of the symptoms and the realization that physical sensations can cause no harm. Hypnosis can slow the heartbeat, create a sense of balance and relaxation through deep breathing, free the throat to swallow, overcome sensations of temperature changes and stomach upsets, and promote clear-headedness.
Whether in the recent past or in the distant past, some events leave negative psychological imprints. Often they are forgotten or unrecognized for the detrimental effect they produce. Such negative imprints can be left by traumatic incidents, or by minor events that were misunderstood when they occurred. Hypnotic, or altered state, procedures can unveil these causal events involved in the initial development or onset of the problem. Regression Therapy is one of the most beneficial techniques available to people who suffer anxiety because it can be so effective in uncovering the cause. Hypnotic procedures using age regression simply help the client to go back in their memory to the time and place where a problem originated. In the case of anxiety or panic attacks,  in childhood.
Oftentimes, a simple understanding of the situation is all that’s needed to make a shift in perception. Sometimes, however, hypnotic suggestions that alleviate a clients presenting symptom or that change a long-term habit is enough for the client to feel truly relieved. In other cases, additional techniques may be needed to help release the hold that a long ago memory has on the client. When suggestions to reframe events dont bring about the desired results, it is as though a rejection from deep within the subconscious self is giving signals that more must be done. This is why regression to the cause is such an invaluable tool for permanent healing of an issue.
If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, panic or phobias, considering hypnotherapy to overcome it is a really good option to help take back control. Hypnotherapy can be a powerful ally in helping people to develop a sense of power and confidence, in spite of the normal anxieties that are a normal part of daily living.

No comments:

Post a Comment