If you have ever suffered from depression, it may comfort you to know that you are not alone – far from it, in fact. Depression strikes an astonishing number of people. In 1998, the World Health Organization estimated that approximately one-third of the world population may have depression at some point in their lives. The organization’s Global Burden of Disease Study put depression at the top of the list of most burdensome afflictions in the world.
Knowing you are part of a large community will not by itself heal you, however. If you are reading this, you probably already realize that you need to seek treatment for depression.
Perhaps because of the disorder’s pervasiveness, mental health professionals have developed several ways to successfully manage and treat depression. Psychotherapy and antidepressant medication are among the most common, but other types of therapy – including hypnotherapy – have also emerged as effective alternatives.
In addition to being a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, I am also a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. Many clients are unaware of the benefits of hypnotherapy, and even those who do know something about it often think it is only used to treat addiction.
This is not the case at all. Although hypnotherapy can help with addiction, it can also help with other problems – including depression. Like many therapists, I have found that, combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis can be a powerful tool in helping patients change the patterns of thought and feeling that keep them down.
How does it work? People often wonder about that. Rest assured, there is no voodoo involved. In a therapeutic environment, hypnosis is really just a way of helping a client relax deeply enough to let down his or her internal guard, and access memories and feelings that are contributing to problems.
It’s easy to see how this could be helpful with depression. Some recent studies have suggested that hypnosis, if employed correctly by a therapist, can empower people with depression to remap their own thought processes, breaking out of the trenches of negativity, and creating new paths to positive action.
Such results may require weeks or months of therapy; meaningful change rarely comes quickly. The good news is, you have cause to hope for a solution; hypnosis is one possible source of that hope.