Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be challenging enough at the best of times. But for people with OCD or other anxiety disorders, the Covid-19 crisis may have aggravated symptoms.
A recent Anxiety UK survey showed that 67% of their members have felt an increase in anxiety since the lockdown restrictions were eased.
This rise is understandable, of course.
Contracting the virus (57%), taking public transport (49.3%), going shopping (45.9%), and returning to education or work (45.8%) are some of the most common concerns.
With this in mind, managing symptoms of OCD and anxiety are particularly vital at the moment.
But what role does OCD hypnotherapy have in all this?
In this week’s article, we’ll discuss:
- How common OCD is
- Whether hypnosis can help with OCD
- What makes hypnotherapy for OCD different from other approaches
HOW COMMON IS OCD?
Together, the unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repeated behaviours (compulsions) of OCD can be exhausting to manage day-to-day.
The symptoms can impact a person’s life in a variety of areas, from their health to their career and relationships.
Sufferers of OCD may be hesitant to tell people what’s going on. Feelings of embarrassment or shame can often arise.
The causes of OCD aren’t clear, with many factors thought to contribute to the disorder, such as life events, brain differences, and family history.
Two-thirds of the time, the major symptoms of OCD begin before the age of 25. Cases of OCD vary in nature and can present in many ways.
Possible types of “obsessive” thought include:
- Excessive attention to order and neatness
- Fear of germs or dirt
- Fear of harm or loss of control
- Violent or extreme thoughts/images
And potential types of “compulsive” behaviour are:
- Excessive cleaning/washing
- Fear-based rituals
- Repeated checking e.g. locks and appliances
- Tapping, counting or repeating words
CAN HYPNOSIS HELP WITH OCD?
Hypnosis can help with OCD through the implementation of two key methods.
First, an OCD hypnosis treatment brings the body and mind into a calm “trance” state using relaxation techniques.
This can include progressive muscle tension release, metaphors, and the use of anchors.
Then, with the support of a qualified hypnotherapist, a client is encouraged to imagine the emotions and memories that tend to be anxiety triggers.
When the mind pictures the triggers and memories whilst the body remains in this calm state, anxiety associated with OCD is reduced.
Often, the body carries a high amount of tension throughout the day that people are not fully aware of. Bodily tension increases the likelihood of anxious feelings and sensations.
The customized process of relaxation in hypnotherapy allows an individual to neutralize the feeling of anxiety in a safe, quick, and practical way.
Results for both anxiety-related disorders and depression are encouraging.
Hypnotherapy is equally effective as and cheaper than CBT, a meta-analysis of 18 studies showed.
In addition, hypnotherapy sessions are less time-consuming than CBT.
WHAT MAKES HYPNOTHERAPY FOR OCD DIFFERENT FROM CBT?
What sets hypnotherapy apart from other therapies is that the focus is not on changing obsessive thoughts.
Changing these thoughts demands a lot of mental effort from the person experiencing them. This can be tiring and difficult to maintain long-term.
As well as this, trying to change the thoughts can build further resistance and tension within the body, which increases the likelihood of anxiety.
Instead, hypnotherapy for OCD helps a person reduce their level of reactivity to obsessive thoughts.
By taking this alternative approach, the OCD sufferer can distance themselves from the thoughts and stop feeling guilty or ashamed by their presence.
We sometimes forget that the mind is an amazingly complex, yet impressionable tool.
The mind can be trained to view repetitive thoughts as “mental chatter” without identifying with them.
Does anyone ask to have obsessive thoughts?
A person does not actively create such thoughts. Therefore, the thoughts are not part of the true self.
Whilst we do recommend trying treatments such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), which can be effective, this modality targets the conscious mind.
But CBT and similar cognitive therapies do not concentrate on the subconscious mind.
Did you know that 95% of cognitive activity (emotions, decisions, behaviours) is estimated to take place outside of the conscious mind?
OCD hypnosis treatment works by engaging directly with the subconscious mind. When the body is in a deeply relaxed state, the subconscious mind is more accessible.
With the guidance of your hypnotherapist, you’ll move through a series of self-empowering verbal cues and images to break the intrusive thought patterns.
The subconscious mind is often viewed as a more powerful part of the brain. At its core, this is what makes hypnotherapy for OCD such a unique, anxiety-reducing treatment.
Thank you for reading!
(This article is co-authored by Declan Davey – Health Copywriter)
LOOKING FOR OCD HYPNOTHERAPY?
If you would like to enquire into hypnotherapy for OCD, feel free to get in touch with the UK’s most recommended hypnotherapist — Aaron Surtees.
If you can’t travel to London to see Aaron or a member of his team, City Hypnosis also offer online hypnotherapy for OCD.
Schedule an appointment with the City Hypnosis team:
Phone: 07732 888 397
(Please leave a voicemail or text message if busy and we will reply as soon as possible, usually within 2 hours)
We’ll reply to any questions that you may have about hypnotherapy for OCD or book a session for you.