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Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, is not always the first thing that people think of in the treatment of addictions, yet it very definitely has a role to play, particularly in long term success. Substance abuse, whether relating to alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal substances, is notoriously difficult to work with. This can be because it’s often not the addict who wants to stop, but the people who care about the addict. It has long been recognized and accepted by support groups and clinics that unless the addict themselves has reached a point where they genuinely want to take control of their life and stop using whatever substance they’ve been abusing, then the chances of success, with or without the use of hypnosis, are slim.
However, as soon as the addict comes to a decision that they genuinely want to stop, the whole picture changes and a great deal of help can effectively be put in place, mainly because there’s a far better chance of the addict reaching out and accepting that help. At this point, hypnosis can be a very effective tool that can be used to support them.
While it’s generally only offered once the person has already physically cleared their system of the addictive substance, hypnosis can sometimes help to cope with the uncomfortable side effects of withdrawal. Mostly however, it’s used as a tool to help the recovering addict to break habits, stay motivated and remain substance free long term.
Most addictions are psychological rather than purely physical in nature, and that’s why hypnosis can be such a powerful tool in dismantling the addiction. It’s rarely necessary in hypnotherapy to dig down into all the reasons why someone is addicted, or to explore exactly what it is that they get from the addiction (there are always pay offs of some kind – the individual is not always consciously aware of exactly what those pay offs are). These are aspects of the addiction that the individual may want to explore at some stage, but initially they simply need help in breaking the destructive patterns that have taken such a strangle hold on their life, and in dealing with the immediate psychological and emotional issues involved.
Addicts often feel out of control in many areas of their lives, and a therapist will help them to recover that feeling of control. The times or circumstances where the individual is most likely to relapse will be identified, and strategies agreed for dealing successfully with those situations.
In hypnosis a state of relaxation and heightened awareness is induced which enables the subject to be more accepting of appropriate suggestions, to think logically and clearly, and to adopt a more positive approach to life in general. Also, because the unconscious mind is accessed in hypnosis, that unconscious mind can be gently “programmed” to support the individual’s desire to kick whatever habit they have become addicted to and to take full control of their life again.
Realistic goals can be agreed, and hypnosis used to “lock” those goals in place and to maximize motivation. Strategies for staying motivated between sessions can be specifically designed for each individual – everyone’s situation is unique to them – and triggers put in place under hypnosis to give the individual the best possible chance of success.
At Hess Hypnosis we always record the session given to the client and recommend they listen to it daily for at least 2 weeks afterward to essentially re-hypnotize them and bring them through the session again through the recording. And what’s more, the hypnosis session itself (whether with a therapist or simply listening to the recording) is deeply enjoyable, empowering, relaxing yet energizing experience.