Hypnotherapy can be highly effective in treating depression.
What is Depression?
Depression afflicts millions of people in America every year. For some, it is a brief episode which occurs only once in their life time. However, for many it is either chronic or recurrent, and can significantly impact their lives. It can become a very debilitating condition, and for a small percentage, it leads to suicide. While drug companies tout the effectiveness of their latest anti-depressant, anyone who has battled the disorder knows that medication does not always help. Not to mention, most medications are fraught with side effects. Psychotherapy can also be helpful, but again, does not work for everyone.
Hypnotherapy for Depression Research
Hypnotherapy has become recognized as a potentially effective treatment for many individuals with depression. Some recent studies have shown that it is more effective than cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is the most common therapy approach in treating clinical depression. While it does not work for everyone, it can definitely be worth considering if depression is seriously affecting your life and other types of treatment have not been helpful.
Hypnotherapy for depression can help address the underlying cause as well as help individuals find much more effective coping behaviors. It can also help people achieve a happier mood and decrease or dispel the pessimistic and negative thoughts that generally accompany depression. Hypnotherapy for this disorder will typically use a combination of suggestion and imagery to bring about positive changes in the unconscious processes of the depressed individual. People who undergo hypnosis for this disorder will often experience a new sense of freedom and a greater sense of control over their thoughts, their mood, and their life in general.
Since anxiety often goes hand in hand with depression, hypnotherapy can also be very beneficial because it helps reduce and often alleviate the anxious thoughts and feelings. Rather than remain stuck in the vicious cycle of painful thoughts and feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness, hypnosis can help the person to develop a more positive outlook by using powerful self-suggestion. Rather than going through life reacting to difficult situations that would previously have felt overwhelming or hopeless, the individual learns how to respond effectively.
How does Hypnotherapy for Depression work?
The hypnotherapist may use positive affirmations and suggestions in a session once the individual has reached a state of deep relaxation. It is during this relaxed state that positive suggestions are very effective. For example, positive and present tense statements such as “I feel happy and optimistic, and am in control of my life”, or “I am a worthwhile person who has much to offer others” may be used.
While not all depression is triggered by a traumatic or painful event, hypnosis can be a useful technique to help the individual learn new responses to painful triggers if indicated. It can also help the individual access distressful memories which were repressed yet contribute to the depressed mood. Hypnosis can bring those into conscious awareness and help the individual let go of painful or sad emotions associated with the event. Healthy and more positive associations which empower the individual can be learned to replace those which may have kept the individual depressed. In the future the individual will be less susceptible to similar events and will be able to respond to them more positively.
While almost anyone can be put into a hypnotic trance, hypnosis will generally be more effective if the individual feels both at ease with and trusting of the hypnotherapist. Some people will experience positive effects from hypnosis sooner than others. Many factors will determine how quickly effects are experienced. Children respond more readily to hypnosis than adults, and will often experience significant improvement after just one or two sessions. Adults can vary greatly, depending on the severity of the depression, their personality makeup, their motivation for change and their openness to the hypnosis process among other things.
If you struggle with depression and have not found help from medication or psychotherapy, or would prefer to try an alternative treatment method regardless, hypnosis is definitely worth considering. It is essentially safe and many people have benefitted from it for a variety of disorders and undesirable behaviors or habits. If you do decide to try hypnosis, you can either consult a certified and well-trained hypnotherapist, or you may also consider trying CDs which are focused on hypnosis for depression. Keep in mind that while CDs may be helpful, they will not be tailored to your specific needs which is one of the benefits of working with a skilled practitioner.
One of the best Hypnotherapy techniques for depression is Timeline Therapy. With this hypnotherapy technique the unconscious mind is guided to gain new insights from past traumatic events. The end result is rapid emotional relief as emotional charges from the past are released easily and quickly. Advanced Depression Hypnotherapy can be performed over skype as the client only enters a light trance state and is fully aware of the entire process.
 Alladin A, Alibhai A. Cognitive hypnotherapy for depression: an empirical investigation. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 2007. 55:147-166.