Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy as an addiction treatment is gaining credibility in the medical and psychiatric community. This treatment can help those who have already come through the initial stages of rehabilitation cope with cravings and stave off relapse. In order for hypnotherapy to serve a meaningful role in overcoming addiction, it is essential that the person receiving treatment be sober. Deep concentration is the cornerstone of hypnotism, and the toxins and dulling effects of alcohol limit the effectiveness of a hypnotic trance. Along these lines, hypnosis serves a greater role in preventing relapse than it does in quitting drinking. After a person who has been struggling with an addiction to alcohol 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.
This is where hypnotherapy really becomes effective. It allows the client 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. The sessions can be anywhere between two to four weeks, and highly individualized. The work includes seven basic principles to guide the client into as state positive self-awareness and control.
1. Belief: If you have a belief that you are powerless, if you believe that every day is just one day at a time, let me make it till midnight. If you believe that you have a disease that will be with you your entire life. This creates core values, which determines how you feel from day to day. These core values tell your body how to react, how to feel when you are expose to certain triggers in life. If you can change you belief patterns, and how you deal with everyday triggers, you can create a whole new set of core values, and how you feel about your world.
2. Self Talk: The way you talk to yourself is absolutely critical. The words we use definitely create an effect on our mind and body. Maybe you have been taught the self talk that enforces the thought of making it to midnight, or just one day at a time. Or maybe you have been taught that relapse is to be expected. What is that telling your brain and your body? Is it setting you up for success or failure? If your just looking to get though the end of the day, what about tomorrow? If relapse is expected, then you will always be on the verge of falling off that wagon. While in hypnosis, self talk that enforces a future, that tomorrow and twenty years from now, you are free to live an amazing life. That each day makes you stronger, healthy and in control.
3. Expectation: Do you expect to always struggle with your addiction? With the expectation that each day will be a battle to make it to midnight, makes you powerless and weak over your addiction. Your expectation, when you decide to overcome your addictions should be that you are powerful, healthy and in control.
4. Identity: The identity that you hold determines your core beliefs, core values, the reactions and responses you are going to get. Your identity is going to determine whether you succeed or fail in overcoming your addictions. If your identity is wrapped up in going meeting for the rest of your life, you identify who you are by what you have surrounded yourself with. Your identity is that you are an alcoholic or an addict. Your identity is that you are broken, that you’re never going to be whole, you are never going to be fixed, and you are diseased. When you transform your identity to powerful, healthy and in control, you gain a new perspective on how you see yourself, that person in the mirror is worthy of a life that is perfect, whole and complete.
5. Self Sabotage: Means, that our worst behaviors, any of our bad behaviors are fueled by our best intentions. That there is some positive reason why we are doing what we are doing. With addictions, drug or alcohol abuse, we understand that there is a positive intention. You may drink because it takes away some of the pain, it makes the hurt a little bit less. You may use drugs because you don’t feel worthy of having a good life, so you sabotage your success. Because underneath it all, you don’t feel worthy. In order to find the positive intention of your behavior, we have to look at what the ego states are, and what parts of you that are fueling the bad behavior by trying to get something positive. It’s critical to find the positive intention behind the addiction, so you don’t keep doing it again and again. If the issue is not cleared up, no matter how successful you are, it’s possible to slip back into old patterns and behaviors.
6. Repetitions: We’ve got to change the message being sent into our body. Changing the pathways and rewire our brain chemistry. Anytime we learn a new activity our brain responds on a cellular level. If our thoughts are controlling the body and we are instructing it to be powerless and weak that is the result that will manifest. But if we use repetition, with our thoughts, instructing the body to be powerful, healthy and in control it will create a new message, a new pathway to the brain and the body.
7. Energetic Shift: At some point during the process you may experience what might be considered an epiphany, similar to a spiritual awakening. A moment that reaches deep within you to your very core, to create lasting commitment that will end your struggle with addiction, and a solid belief that you are powerful, healthy and in control. Imagine how good you will feel when you are able to create the life you want.