How Quickly Does Hypnosis Work?

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Virtually all people who want to help themselves with hypnosis gain at least some benefit, since everyone can improve their mind/body connection with achievement of a healthier mental state and practice.  On infrequent occasions, imporvement occurs immediately, and on most occasions some benefit can be observed within a few weeks of hypnosis use. 

Relaxation is One Key to Improved Health 

Achieving a relaxed state of mind with hypnosis sometimes leads to a very quick improvement in health.  In my experience children with habit cough and shortness of breath can resolve their symptoms as soon as they relax during their first hypnosis experience.  This improvement can appear to be dramatic, as some of these children have had their symptoms for years before they learned about hypnosis. 

Children with phobias usually can resolve them during the first session of hypnosis, which may involve thinking back to the time when the phobia began and learning how to “rewrite” the memory of the event.  For example, a child who is afraid of insects because at one time a spider crawled on his arm, can learn to resolve the phobia by imagining that at the time of the spider encounter he was able to remain calm and confident.  Thus, since he can now imagine a peaceful first encounter with a spider, he can then react as if the phobia never occurred in the first place. 

Abdominal discomfort related to irritable bowel syndrome tends to improve greatly or resolve after an average of 3 weeks of use of hypnosis for relaxation. 

Bedwetting tends to improve within a few weeks, but sometimes takes a few months. 

On the other hand, children with chronic headaches may experience some improvement within a few weeks of regular use of hypnosis, but it may take several months of consistent use of hypnosis to achieve lasting improvement with the frequency or intensity of their headaches. 

Children with long-term anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, or depression also improve with use of hypnosis, but often benefit from long-term counseling as well. 

Overall, two thirds of children with medical issues appear to improve a lot within a few weeks as a result of hypnotic relaxation alone. 

Advanced Hypnosis Techniques and Counseling 

Children in the other third require use of more complex hypnosis techniques and counseling.  These techniques also can lead to improvement within days, weeks, or months, depending on the nature of the symptoms and complexity of any underlying psychological difficulties.  Such techniques include learning how to: 

  1. Use metaphors to improve a symptom – such as imagining placing discomfort into a helium balloon and letting it go.  The further the balloon rises, the better they feel.   
  2. Imagine a healthier future, or a future in which the child can cope better with their illness. 
  3. Interact with the subconscious in order to figure out what psychological stressor might be causing a symptom to persist, and then addressing this stressor. 
  4. Use hypnosis to achieve a spiritual perspective.  By keeping things in perspective big problems can seem smaller and more manageable. 
  5. Focus on the positive instead of negative aspects of stressful situations.  Much of anxiety and depression is rooted in patients’ negative thought pattern that can self-perpetuate.  For example, a child who expects to fail socially, tends to be more awkward, which can lead to more social problems, and increased negative expectations. 
  6. Live in the moment.  Philosopher Lao Tzu said, “Those who are depressed live in the past.  Those who are anxious live in the future.  Those who are at peace live in the present.” 

 

Take Home Message 

Hypnosis can help achieve rapid improvement in health in certain situations, including those that can benefit easily from hypnotic relaxation.  With patience and practice, virtually everyone can use hypnosis to improve the mind/body connection. 

 

About Center Point Medicine  

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Author
Profile Photo or Ran D. Anbar, MD, FAAP Ran D. Anbar, MD Ran D. Anbar, MD, FAAP, is board certified in both pediatric pulmonology and general pediatrics, offering hypnosis and counseling services at Center Point Medicine in La Jolla, California, and Syracuse, New York. Dr. Anbar is also a fellow and approved consultant of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Anbar is a leader in clinical hypnosis, and his 20 years of experience have allowed him to successfully treat over 5,000 children. He also served as a professor of pediatrics and medicine and the director of pediatric pulmonology at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, for 21 years.

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