The Hobart

How You Can Use Hypnotherapy for Health

by Melissa McGrath
How You Can Use Hypnotherapy for Health

The statistics in the Primary Health Network Needs Assessment Report (2019 – 2022) told a worrying tale. It’s noted that an estimated 15% of Tasmanian adults self-reported a mental health problem. In real terms, that is over 81,000 residents.

I moved from New South Wales two years ago to be more aligned with a peaceful environment in which to work from home, while still being able to assist those from all around the country, with the increase in acceptance and use of telehealth. My background and qualifica­tions are in education and social science, and it was due to the amount of clients I’d referred to traditional counselling over the years, who had reported little or minimal benefit that had me return to study seeking an alternative therapy.

Hypnotherapy is more mainstream than you think.

In recent decades Australia has been catching on to how effective hypnother­apy can be for treating an astounding range of medical and mental health conditions. Hypnosis is now recognised as a valuable tool by medical practitioners and psychologists, being used to help individuals for stopping smoking, weight loss, phobias, pain control, and certainly for anxiety.

So how does clinical hypnotherapy work?

When in hypnosis, the conscious mind (that busy, critical, analytical part of the mind) takes a rest. Hypnosis allows people to tap into the storehouse of information that lies in the subconscious mind and make positive changes to thought patterns, habits or the effects of traumatic incidents that are having a negative impact either mentally or phys­ically. If you have ever found yourself drifting off and forgetting where you are for a moment – that is a state that can be likened to being under hypnosis. Despite what you may have seen with on-stage hypnosis, you’ll remain aware of what you’re doing.

Addressing trauma and associ­ated mental health conditions with hypnotherapy.

I have noticed two significant areas of enquiries since setting up my therapy room in Hobart. Firstly, those in the 35-55 age bracket who have been suffering since childhood with the after effects of having either witnessed domestic violence growing up, or been victims themselves; and those in long term recovery from sexual assault, PTSD and depression. The other main area of enquiry is for weight loss and to stop smoking. Sadly Tasmania has a higher percentage of those over­weight than any other state, with 71% in 2018, up from 64% a decade earlier, according to the ABS.

Addictions, whether they present through overeating, cigarette smoking, alcoholism or other drug use, can stem from learnt behaviour/upbringing, they are also a common ‘release’ for those escaping the pain of past trauma. Examples of clients who have accessed hypnotherapy programs initially seeking assistance for weight loss and cannabis addiction, often understand very quickly that much deeper causes exist for those dependencies.

One client who had exited a cult-like religion, after herself and siblings had been brought up in a very restrictive way of life, had turned to alcohol in order to cope with now being shunned by friends and family for leaving. What commenced as an inquiry for how to reduce her alcohol dependency became a program focussing on eliminating guilt and building self-esteem in order to move forward. Her lack of confidence in what the future might hold for her, was the instigator of the drinking. Once we worked through the anxiety, the reduction in alcohol accordingly took care of itself.

Another client had lived with the effects of being sexually abused as a child and had recognised in themselves that the pain was entrenched and causing relationship and other problems over many decades of adulthood. This person simply wanted to be happy again. To live a fulfilled life. Others are simply not able to drag them­selves out of a rut after divorce, or having a business collapse, losing employment. Anxiety comes from many different spheres, many life events.

Melissa McGrath is the owner of Clinical Hypnosis Tasmania, you can find out more at clinicalhypnosistasmania.com.

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February 2024

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