Hypnosis for Social Anxiety
Have you heard of hypnotherapy for social anxiety? It’s one of many “alternative” treatments that you might consider if you live with this problem.
But is hypnotherapy even a recognized therapeutic treatment? Actually yes.
Hypnosis was first invented back in the 1700’s by the Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer.
But it wasn’t until 1958 that it was officially recognized as a valid medical procedure by the American Medical Association.
Since then, hypnotherapy has been used for many different issues including anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, and other problems.
So if you are living with social anxiety that interferes with your day to day life, it’s something to possibly consider.
Goals of Hypnotherapy for Social Anxiety
What are the goals of hypnotherapy for social anxiety?
The idea behind hypnotherapy for social anxiety is that there are traumatic memories from your past that are re-triggered by events in your present.
For example, if you have a public speaking phobia, you might relive that first traumatic public speaking experience each time you speak in public.
You might get that same racing heartbeat and shaking hands because the event and your reaction have become linked in your mind.
So, the goal of hypnotherapy in this case is to “un-link” the event and the response.
Your hypnotherapist would also give you a post-hypnotic suggestion that you would be able to relax on cue before you leave the hypnotic state.
In this way, another goal of hypnotherapy is to help you learn how to relax.
What Happens During Hypnotherapy?
Ok, let’s take a step back then. What actually happens during a hypnotherapy session with a hypnotherapist?
First, you should expect that person to take your medical history and ask questions about the issue you are experiencing.
Then, they should give you an explanation of what to expect during hypnotherapy.
Next, your hypnotherapist will lead you into an altered state of consciousness known as a hypnotic trance. You’ve probably seen this done before by popular hypnotherapists with a swinging pendulum or by counting backwards slowly.
Once you enter the trance, you will experience relaxation, a lowered heart rate and blood pressure, and changes in your brain waves.
While you are in the trance, it will be easy for your hypnotherapist to make suggestions (as you will be highly responsive to them).
The entire session will probably last around an hour to one and a half hours.
At the end of the session, your hypnotherapist will bring you back to present state awareness and have you reflect on how things went.
You might also learn how to practice self-hypnosis outside of the hypnotherapy appointments.
Where to Find a Hypnotherapist
Where should you look for a hypnotherapist for social anxiety?
The ideal situation is to find a licensed professional who also has training in hypnotherapy. This is because that person will be governed by their regulating professional body.
Some examples include the following:
- medical doctor
- registered nurse
- social worker
There are several professional organizations for hypnotherapy including the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. However, there are is no “hypnotherapist” certification that professionals can attain.
Does Hypnotherapy Work for Social Anxiety?
Unfortunately, there has not been any research specifically on the impact of hypnotherapy for social anxiety.
However, randomized controlled trials have shown that hypnotherapy may help to reduce general anxiety. It may also be helpful as an “add-on” treatment for anxiety along with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Youtube Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
So, if you can’t go to a hypnotherapist for social anxiety what else can you do? Youtube to the rescue! Below is a totally free hypnotherapy session for social anxiety on Youtube.
Deciding on Hypnotherapy
Are you still trying to decide whether hypnotherapy might be right for you?
A good first step would be to think about the problem you are trying to solve.
Have you been to see your doctor about your anxiety? That might be a good first step if you haven’t already gone. It could be that medication or traditional therapy could help.
Beyond that, are you certain about what is causing you anxiety? Again, it might be important to work that out in therapy before setting foot in a hypnotherapist’s office.
But all that being said, if you want to try out a self-hypnosis session, I don’t see the harm. It’s really no different than sitting down with a guided meditation for an hour.
(But if you have any diagnosed mental health disorders that would contraindicate “going under” it might not be a good idea. Speak to your doctor about that).
What about you? Would you try hypnotherapy for social anxiety?