Using Hypnosis with depression.
Three things you should know.
Hypnosis has been around for as long as consciousness itself, much longer than depression, which is relatively new on the scene. If we are stuck in a mood it is as if we have been hypnotized. When we absorb information, whatever it might be, it is because we have taken it in through a process that is effectively hypnotic. As young children we are in a state akin to hypnosis all the time. We learn to make rapid associations unconsciously, and we become adept at responding to life, based on those associations. We have learned unconsciously to do what we do, to feel as we feel. Hypnosis is that function of the mind that allows us to absorb information unconsciously. Sometimes, when the information we absorb is intrinsically contradictory, we respond by feeling depressed.
Let me ask you: what is the capital of France? I assume you know. I would like to ask you to reflect for a moment on how amazing it is that you can access the name so quickly, instantaneously, from all the countless other pieces of information that are available to you. The access you have, as well as all the various possible choices you have in how you respond to whatever comes your way, such as that question, for example, is anchored within functions that are also effectively hypnotic.
You may have heard how in certain cultures a curse, or a hex, a 'magic' spell, can actually cause someone to die. It has been well documented, and although we may not succumb to such magic, we are equally susceptible to the effects of our own, often equally inexplicably irrational, belief systems.
Your belief system determines how you operate. Your belief system can even make you do things against your own best interests. It can trigger strong emotions based on the way it forces you to interpret the world. Based on your interpretations, your beliefs ever more solidified. Hypnosis can be used to address the limitations that come from that solidification, it can help you melt rigid beliefs, such as "I am depressed."
I often work with clients who have been diagnosed as 'clinically' depressed, or bipolar, or with a 'chemical' imbalance. The diagnosis often serves the clinician who gave it, and the drug company who provides the drug prescribed for it, more than it does the client. In the short term. that prescription may be a lifesaver. In the long term it may become part of a debilitating life sentence.
My issue is that individuals are sometimes forced to live for years with a diagnosis that traps them, reinforcing the behaviors that caused depression in the first place. Depression is something you learn to DO. Diagnosis tells you that it is who you ARE.
If it is who you ARE you are doomed. If it's something you DO, then you can stop doing it as soon as you know HOW.
EVERYTHING is chemical in one way or another. EVERYTHING is behavioral too. Many things respond exactly the way you expect them to. The filters your expectations impose on your perceptions make sure of it. A chemist looks at chemistry, a behaviorist looks at behavior. A hypnotist asks HOW you can do something different from what you have been doing, so that your life can work better.
Hypnosis can change a lifelong pattern of depression because it addresses the deep underlying and often unconscious behaviors and beliefs that have supported it.
Living in the Light
Humans are diurnal. That means we live our lives by day, unlike owls, bats, badgers, (as well as a few musicians I know). Most of us need light to feel at our best. Even if it's only a few hours a day. Along with light comes physical activity, looking our towards the horizon, looking upwards with your eyes; a few simple physiological actions that engage you with the external world.
Take a comfortable deep breath or two. Look upwards, relax your body. Be aware of everything that's around you. It should take no more than a few seconds to do this, to reconnect with where you are.
Depression is a withdrawal. Reconnecting with people and things; moving; engaging creatively with the world, even when you don't feel inclined to do so, will change your mood. This is only a beginning; but explore how easy it is to begin. You might be surprised to lean that you really CAN change your mood.
Honesty is the Best Policy
I do not want to diminish the debilitating effect of depression. It's something I suffered from myself for many years; and during that time the depression felt entirely non-negotiable, impervious to anything I might do to shake it. Then something changed. I learned that the depression was a choice, and that it was something I DID, rather than something I WAS.
I learned that there were moments of choice, when I could choose how to interpret my experience. My interpretation could affirm whatever I wanted. If I wanted to believe that my life was not worth living, the evidence was certainly there; and if I wanted to believe that my life was full of promise, I discovered that I could choose to believe that instead.
I also learned that my depression had a lot to do with living in a way that was not entirely truthful and open. When I was not in full congruence with myself, when I was not 'walking my talk', I tended to become isolated and depressed. What that means exactly might be different for each of is.
Suffice to say, we can all benefit from coming out of whatever closets we hide in to prevent ourselves from being who we truly are, and from expressing the fullness of our creative capacity.
In my Los Angeles hypnotherapy practice, I have used hypnosis for depression with countless clients. I would say that a majority of the people who come to me for hypnotherapy, regardless of what else is going on in their lives, suffer from some degree of depression, mild or otherwise.
I am not suggesting that hypnosis is a universal cure for depression, but in my experience hypnosis works with depression to help you recognize that you are not just a victim of your emotions.
You do have a choice about how you deal with depression; just as you have a choice in how you deal with everything life sends your way.