Hypnosis and Addiction Treatment

Hypnosis is not a cure-all for addiction, but it can be a powerful force in a comprehensive treatment programme. Treatment takes commitment and support — and the first commitment is to be clean and sober for your treatments. Robert Finlayson, a Clinical Hypnotherapist at Anamaya, talks about the process.

Hypnosis is not a cure-all for addiction (whether that be prescription or street drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, sex, pornography, or any number of addictions) BUT it can definitely serve a role in a comprehensive course of treatment and especially in helping recovering addicts stay on track . 

In order for hypnotherapy to serve a meaningful role in overcoming addiction, the person receiving treatment should be sober. When a person is under the influence they are already in a form of trance. Furthermore, deep concentration is the cornerstone of hypnotism, and the toxins and effects of alcohol and drugs limit the effectiveness of a hypnotic trance. 

After a person who has been struggling with an addiction overcomes the initial hurdle of becoming sober, a new set of challenges emerge. At this point, staying sober is the goal, and doing so requires goal setting, plenty of focus and a healthy dose of optimism and support. 

This is where hypnosis as a treatment for addiction really becomes effective. It allows the patient to get involved in the treatment process, letting them explore their own triggers for relapse and giving them tools to deconstruct a craving should one arise. Teaching them to practice self-hypnosis or other forms of meditation can help with this. 

Hypnotherapy can also be used as a means of delving into the person’s mind to help root out underlying causes for their addictive behaviour, although this requires careful understanding of the psychology of addiction and should only be carried out under the strict supervision of a qualified therapist. 

Addiction can operate on a physical or a mental plane. Elements of both exist in most cases.

A physical addiction involves a substance like alcohol and drugs, which literally enters the body and changes the way it operates. The damage that the substance inflicts on the body may be reversible, but hypnosis is not going to repair permanent physical changes. 

Some addictions are completely mental, such as addictions to gambling or pornography. However, many of these same triggers and behavioural patterns are also at work. 

Studies have shown that hypnosis can help to raise self-esteem and serenity as well as lowering impulsivity and anger. 

In hypnosis a client is guided into an imaginary future moment to meet their healthy, sober, powerful and resourceful self. They observe their future-self having healthy relationships, creating a business or doing work that they love and living a healthy life that gives them a powerful feeling of self-worth. In trance their subconscious mind will integrate the new beliefs, values, self-worth and purpose.

With the old beliefs and triggers released, hypnosis can help them create new beliefs and a new healthy identity. The neuroplasticity of the brain allows hypnosis to create new neural connections. “If you fire it, you wire it.” Building new neural pathways which means building healthy habits . 

Robert is available at Anamaya during the week. Please call reception on 02030110355 for an appointment.


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