Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Disorder – does it work and how to start now

Mar 31, 2024 | Blog

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Disorder – does it work and how to start now
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Hypnotherapy for anxiety; it can’t really work, can it?

It’s a question I’ve been asked at many a dinner party, with a mixture of intrigue and disbelief.

Having spent the last 12 years helping people using hypnotherapy for anxiety, writing two books published by Penguin about the topic and having successfully used hypnotherapy to tackle my own anxiety, I can assure you that it does.

Many people have interesting feelings about hypnotherapy, having seen hypnotherapy stage shows while on holiday growing up, or hypnotists on TV getting people to do strange things. Sadly it means that hypnotherapy isn’t usually the first thing they think of when it comes to treating anxiety.

But hypnotherapy for anxiety offers an incredibly effective option for anxiety sufferers. It also has the potential to be one of the easiest and fastest therapy options out there. Plus with hypnotherapy downloads you can literally do it laying in your bed or the couch. What’s not to love?

Hypnotherapy for Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in the UK. According to Mind, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week in England. Hypnotherapy is a treatment option worth considering if you are one of the millions of people who suffer from anxiety. Whether you’re experiencing social anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder or negative thinking, hypnotherapy could be the thing you’re looking for in reducing anxiety, boosting self-belief and finally feeling calm.

This blog post will answer some of the top questions about it. If you’re ready to get started with online hypnosis for anxiety – get access to these quick hypnosis sessions in the Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Pack here.

hypnotherapy for anxiety

Does hypnotherapy work for anxiety?

Many people have seen stage shows, or hypnosis on TV and think it can’t possibly work. Clinical hypnotherapy is very different. A hypnosis therapy for anxiety session is an incredible tool for helping us to make changes and treat anxiety. While it’s not a magic wand (although sometimes it CAN feel like that!), it is effective. Anxiety is a subconscious process. No one ‘decides’ to feel anxious, it’s coming from a deeper level of the mind. Therefore it makes sense to work on anxiety at this deeper, unconscious level. When it comes to treating anxiety, hypnotherapy is firstly incredibly relaxing because hypnosis is a relaxed state of mind. If you find it hard to relax, it shows you that it’s possible for you and makes it easier for you to relax in future. It also helps us to change the deeply held beliefs and thought patterns that are at the root of anxiety. If you’ve ever been hypnotised for anxiety you’ll know that it’s incredibly relaxing and the positive changes stay with you.

Numerous studies have found hypnotherapy to be effective for anxiety, especially when combined with other treatment options.

How does hypnotherapy work?

Hypnosis is about quietening down the conscious part of the mind so that your deeper mind, the subconscious, can tune in and listen. We access this natural, relaxed state that feels a bit like a day dream and the subconscious becomes open to suggestions that are designed to help us. This happens during the first part of the hypnotherapy session known as a hypnotic induction. Your subconscious mind controls 95% of all your thoughts, feelings, habits and even your bodily functions like digestion, so it has a lot to answer for.

I describe it as being like accessing our brains ‘download mode’. When we’re young, before the age of 8, our brains are very receptive to new learning. We are like sponges, soaking up the world. Hypnotherapy helps us to access this same learning, ‘download’ state where we can absorb helpful ideas.

When it comes to anxiety, I may make suggestions to a client that they are going to be kinder to themselves, more in the present moment and that their nervous system more settled and relaxed. These messages are taken on board by your subconscious mind and they become your reality over several sessions. It is a solution focused approach which focused on solutions rather than the problems themselves. It encourages clients to envision the future they wish to achieve, focusing on their strengths and resources to make that vision a reality.

Can hypnotherapy cure anxiety?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as anxiety hypnosis may be more or less effective for different people and will depend on the person’s commitment to the process. However, hypnotherapy works for most people, most of the time, and for most issues, including anxiety. If you want to overcome or treat anxiety, it’s a great option to try and works alongside other types of therapy you might be having, such as talking therapy, relaxation exercises or counselling.

It can help to:

  • Reduce physical symptoms of anxiety
  • Reduce negative thinking
  • Help you understand and manage your anxiety better
  • Help you to feel more resilient and resourceful
  • Teach your body and nervous system how to relax and your mind to be present.
  • Help you to address the root of your anxiety and process old traumas
  • Get you thinking about yourself in more positive and loving ways
  • Help you to create positive change in your habits and routines.

How many sessions do you need?

The number of anxiety hypnosis sessions you will need will depend on the severity of your anxiety and how well you respond to treatment. Most people need between four and twelve hypnotherapy sessions to treat anxiety. Some people may only need a few hypnotherapy sessions, while others may need more. When listening to hypnotherapy recordings, repetition is vital, and usually, I recommend that people listen to recordings daily for 2-3 weeks to get the best results.

How long does it take for hypnosis to work for anxiety?

Some people notice a change straight away – they walk out of the therapy room (or open their eyes after listening to a hypnotherapy recording) and they can already feel a shift. Sometimes it really does feel like magic. Other times it takes a series of sessions to start to notice a positive change so please don’t give up after only one session. Give the therapy time to work. For hypnotherapy recordings and downloads it’s best to listen daily for about 2-3 weeks to get the best results, although they can also be listened to on an on going basis to help you to calm your mind and continue to make progress. Progress may also depend on the severity of the anxiety disorder.

Can it help with specific anxiety symptoms?

Yes, it helps with both the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. It can help with things like heart palpitations, body tension, nervous tummy, shaking, sweating, blushing, headaches and panic disorder. These are all symptoms of anxiety and by addressing root cause with hypnotherapy, these symptoms start to improve. It can help you to change unhelpful thought patterns and give you relaxation techniques that help you to calm physical sensations such as a panic attack or feeling of nervousness that helps to reduce anxiety.

hypnotherapy for anxiety

What happens during a hypnotherapy session?

During a hypnosis for anxiety session (or while listening to a recording), the therapist will guide you into a trance state of deep relaxation. It’s a deeper state that feels a bit like being in a daydream. Once you are in this relaxed state, one of focused attention and calm, the hypnotherapist will help you identify and address your anxiety’s root cause. They may make positive suggestions to your unconscious mind to remain calm in different situations, change habits and quieten unhelpful thought patterns. The hypnotherapist may also give you suggestions for managing your anxiety more effectively in your daily life. Clinical hypnosis is not like what we see on the TV or in stage shows, it’s relaxing and empowering and you remain in control the whole time.

How does hypnotherapy pricing work?

There is a huge variation in the price of hypnotherapy depending on a number of factors. Things like location, the experience of the therapist, whether it’s in person or online hypnotherapy, their specialism and whether you’re buying a pack or sessions or single sessions can all play a role. In the UK, you might find hypnosis for anxiety costs range from £60 a session to several hundred per session. For those on more of a budget, you might like to consider hypnotherapy recordings which are less expensive and easy to access.

Can I see a hypnotherapist online?

Yes, hypnotherapy for anxiety can be done online. Seeing a hypnotherapist online makes treatment more convenient and accessible. It also works very well as an anxiety audio online which you can listen to and gain the benefits from, from the comfort of your own bed or sofa! All we need for hypnosis for anxiety online work to work is a good internet connection, so it works well online as well as with hypnosis downloads.

What is self hypnosis for anxiety?

Self hypnosis techniques involve either talking to yourself in your own head to get yourself into a deeper state and then making positive suggestions to yourself OR listening to a self hypnosis audio which works in a similar way to seeing a hypnotherapist. Both work, but it’s significantly easier to pop in your headphones and listen to a hypnosis download and it works incredibly well and is more affordable than seeing a hypnotherapist.

side effects

Are there side effects?

The side effects of hypnotherapy for anxiety are typically positive ones, where you feel more relaxed and in control. Hypnotherapy is a safe and effective treatment option for many people with anxiety disorders, but it may not suit everyone. Hypnotherapy is not recommended if you have severe depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, and you should explore other treatment options with your doctor. 

What is the hypnotherapy session duration?

Usually session last for about an hour to an hour and a half. For my clients, the first session is 1.5 hours as I need to find out their history and get clear on the transformation we’re creating. Then, follow up sessions are around na hour each. For hypnotherapy audio recordings, the length ranges from 10 minutes to around 35 minutes or longer.

Can I get hypnosis for anxiety on the NHS?

Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely you would get the health service to fund your hypnosis sessions. Despite this, NICE do recommend hypnotherapy as a treatment for IBS.

Do hypnosis downloads work?

Yes, they work, but require repetition. Usually it’s best to listen to a recording daily for 2-3 weeks to get the best results. You can listen after work to help you to switch off and relax, or before bed as you drift off to sleep.

Can hypnotherapy help with other mental health conditions?

Yes, hypnotherapy can help with other mental health conditions, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Hypnotherapy can also be used to help people quit smoking, manage chronic pain, feel more confident, treat panic disorder and overcome fears and phobias.

If you have a mental health condition that is not listed here, please get in touch with a hypnotherapist to inquire about whether hypnotherapy could help you. It can also help with many of the specific anxiety symptoms such as a racing heart, nervous tummy and struggles with sleep. There is some good evidence in clinical trials to support the use of hypnotherapy in irritable bowel syndrome.

Can hypnosis for anxiety treat other forms of anxiety disorders?

There are many different types of anxiety disorder and almost all of them can be treated with this type of therapy. Everything from generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety (anxiety in social situations), panic attacks, fear and phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and fear of public speaking respond well and help to reduce symptoms that may be troubling you.

mental health conditions

How does it work?

Hypnotherapy works by helping you to relax and focus your attention on positive, helpful thoughts and suggestions. When you are in a state of hypnosis, your critical thinking skills are relaxed, and you are more open to suggestions. This allows the hypnotherapist to help you to address the root cause of your anxiety and make positive changes in your thinking and behaviour. Benefits of hypnotherapy for anxiety include:

  • Build confidence and self-esteem
  • Manage stress more effectively 
  • Improve your sleep quality
  • Increase your energy levels 
  • Reduce or eliminate negative thoughts and behaviours

What is self-hypnosis?

Self-hypnosis is a technique where you induce a state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility on your own. It’s a tool often used for personal development, behaviour modification, and promoting wellness. By using relaxation, concentration, and visualisation methods, you guide yourself into a hypnotic state to explore your subconscious mind.

This allows you to introduce positive changes, overcome negative patterns, or achieve specific goals such as reducing stress, overcoming fears, or improving self-confidence. It’s a skill that requires practice! Always remember, if you’re dealing with serious issues, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or mental health professional.

What are some hypnotherapy for anxiety success stories?

You can read a number of success stories of my clients and those who have used my hypnotherapy recordings here.

Where can I read some hypnotherapist reviews?

Check out over 60 reviews of my hypnotherapy practice here.

mental health treatment

Is hypnotherapy dangerous?

No, hypnotherapy is not dangerous. It is a safe and effective treatment option for many people to treat an anxiety disorder. Sometimes from watching stage hypnotists or things about hypnotherapy on TV and in films, we might get the idea that hypnotherapy is dangerous – but it’s totally safe and effective. You can’t lose control or get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to do.

Can hypnotherapy be dangerous?

Usually not, hypnotherapy is generally very safe although hypnotherapy often isn’t suitable for those with psychosis, schizophrenia unless done by a highly trained and experienced therapist who works with these issues. There can be a risk of accessing false memories during regression therapy so ensure you’re working with an experienced hypnotherapist.

How can I practice self hypnosis?

Anyone can hypnotise themselves and there are many books out there teaching you how to do so. But the simplest and easiest way to hypnotise yourself is by using a hypnotherapy recording. You close your eyes, lay down and pop in your headphones and allow the recording to guide you into self hypnosis.

How can I find the best hypnotherapist

Try asking friends or contacts for a recommendation, searching ‘hypnosis near me for anxiety’ and looking at reviews. Always ask to have an initial consultation so that you can see if the therapist is a good fit for you.

Can hypnotherapy help with anxiety?

While hypnotherapy is not magic, or a ‘cure all’ it has been shown to be effective for managing anxiety. Hypnotherapy itself is incredibly relaxing, like a deep meditation or a daydream and the positive messages sent to your unconscious mind leave a lasting impact on how calm and relaxed you feel.

Will I lose control during a hypnotherapy session?

This is a very common fear that people have, but it’s not the case. It’s about regaining control of your own mind so that you can overcome anxiety, not losing control. Sometimes people do feel nervous before a session but it very quickly becomes clear that it’s a relaxing and positive process.

Why is hypnotherapy so expensive?

While many types of therapy can take months or even years to work, hypnotherapy as an anxiety treatment can get results from the first session and often only needs around 6 sessions to get great results. The quick results (that can sometimes feel magical!) mean that it costs more than other types of therapy out there.

Is one hypnotherapy for anxiety session enough?

For some issues, such as stopping smoking or fear of flying, one session is often enough. However for issues such as anxiety disorders, usually a series of sessions or hypnotherapy recordings is necessary to see lasting change. That’s because each session is working is a slightly different way. For example, one session might be focused around letting go of the past, while another might focus on seeing yourself as a confident, calm person in the future.

Are you aware when you’re hypnotised?

Yes, you will often be aware and remember what is said during a hypnotherapy session. Sometimes we reach deeper levels of hypnosis where we don’t consciously remember everything that is said. But this is a good thing because it allows the subconscious mind to become very receptive to the positive suggestions. When you’re using a hypnotherapy recording you may remember different parts of the session each time you listen.

What are 3 things hypnosis cannot do?

Hypnosis cannot make you do something you don’t want to do – even when people take part in stage shows and do silly things, there is a part of them that wants to be part of the show. It can’t erase your memories like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And a person cannot be hypnotised against their will – you have to want it to happen in order for it to work!

How do I hypnotise myself for anxiety?

The easiest way to hypnotise yourself is with a hypnotherapy recording. Use some headphones, close your eyes and lie down on the bed or sofa. Follow the words but know that you don’t have to ‘try’ – allow the process to do its work to relax you and take you deeper. It’s automatic and effortless. Once you’re in a deeper state the recording switches to offering you positive and helpful suggestions and things to visualise that will support you in feeling calmer in your day to day life.

Can hypnotherapy help with stress?

Absolutely – hypnotherapy helps with stress by helping you to be more present and mindful, releasing the pressure you put on yourself and calming down your nervous system. It can help you to get to the root of your stress levels by unearthing things from your past which may be within your subconscious such as patterns from your upbringing or from school.

How much do hypnotherapists make?

There is a big variety in how much hypnotherapists make depending on how much they charge and how many clients they see. Typical session costs from anywhere from £60 to several hundred pounds a session.

Will I fall asleep during a hypnosis session?

Most people don’t fall asleep, although if you are very tired and are laying in bed listening to a recording, you may fall asleep. It’s perfectly ok to do so, you can’t get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis and you’ll simply wake up naturally afterwards. However, hypnotherapy recordings do not work if you are fully asleep as sleep and hypnosis are different states of mind.

Wishing you all the best with your anxiety – I hope you find something that helps.

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