Anxiety is usually expressed as a feeling, and not a very nice one. Sometimes it’s a churning in the stomach or a tightening in the chest. It can be a hundred different things, we are all different. It makes some people shake, some cry and some sick. When it’s bad it can destroy your quality of life and there’s a good chance you don’t even know what caused it.
Anxiety is a fear of the future, of the unknown. It’s a loss of control. We take ourselves out of the present moment and it’s debilitating.
A hypnotherapist’s first job is to help you find out how this anxiety was created. If you created it (you didn’t mean to!) then you can destroy it. In a trance state you can more easily access memories and the deep structure thinking that runs in the background of your experience. By going back to that memory with new resources and perspectives, we allow the anxiety to release, almost giving yourself permission to be free from it. Sometimes it means forgiving yourself (or someone else) and sometimes it helps to decide not to care anymore.
Some people find that they are talking to themselves, hearing a negative voice putting them down and criticising. Hearing yourself say something frightening a hundred times a day can have a profound effect on your heart rate. For some people it’s the sound of someone else’s voice from their past. We can change these voices with the right toolkit, even replace them with voices that say nice things.
This is re-programming your relationship to your memories and it’s very effective. It is also the sort of work that can only be done in a relaxed trance state, bypassing your conscious, critical mind.
I teach my clients self-hypnosis techniques to manage their state in stressful situations. By anchoring a peaceful feeling to a gesture or a breath, we have a resource on hand when anxiety strikes. Like pressing the calm button.
We are all different, like I said, and hypnosis isn’t a one size fits all method. Client centred therapy means getting to know you as an individual and tailoring a program to suit you. When we have done that, we can start to make the changes we want for a life free of anxiety.