How hypnosis, breath therapy and guided imagery can help
Terrified of public speaking? When anxiety and depression get in your way personally or professionally, it’s wise to tell your doctor.
You may get a prescription for antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. You may also get a referral to a psychologist or counselor for talk therapy.
That’s the traditional approach. And it works.
But adding holistic psychotherapy to the mix can deepen the healing experience, says practitioner Maura Lipinski, LISW.
“Holistic therapy allows you to access your subconscious mind easily. You can then integrate new personal insights with conscious behaviors,” she explains.
This form of therapy complements — but doesn’t replace — standard care. It can help you:
- Experience fewer symptoms of illness
- Deal with emotional issues
- Improve family dynamics
- Cope with age-related issues
- Manage work-related stress
- Heal from abuse and trauma
- Recover from addictions
Here are four holistic tools used to complement talk therapy:
Suffer from fatigue? You may repeatedly be telling yourself how tired and worn out you feel.
A therapist can use hypnosis to help you access a relaxed state and then make post-hypnotic suggestions to ease your symptoms.
“An effective hypnotic suggestion would be, ‘You experience increased energy in the morning and have the energy you need to complete all your daily tasks with ease,’” says Ms. Lipinski.
Changing negative conclusions to positive affirmations is a powerful tool that can create new neural pathways in the brain, she notes.
2. Heart-centered hypnotherapy
“Heart-centered hypnotherapy helps you release emotions you may not have full access to in everyday life,” says Ms. Lipinski. “It can provide deeper insight into the way past experiences affect your current perspective on life.”
If you’re afraid of public speaking, for example, you can gain insight into your feelings when asked to speak in front of your high school class and how they impact you today.
“You can replace negative self-talk such as ‘I am a failure,’ with positive conclusions, such as ‘I am powerful,’” says Ms. Lipinski.
“These are not simply words. By opening you to the positive aspects of yourself, heart-centered hypnotherapy strengthens and reinforces your new beliefs.”
This can help you reframe unhealthy behavior patterns, reduce anxiety and depression, increase self-esteem and confidence, and create healthier relationships.
3. Breath therapy
Ever notice that you don’t breathe deeply on a regular basis? Many people use their breath to repress emotions, says Ms. Lipinski.
“Breath therapy is an amazing tool to reduce stress,” she says. “We use various techniques to help release repressed emotions and limiting beliefs.” Breath therapy can also reduce the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects of trauma, she says.
Learning to increase and expand your breath will arm you with a valuable new tool — one that’s readily available in any situation.
4. Guided imagery
Creating mental images of well-being can help you cope with a medical or emotional condition. This practice can lead to tangible improvements in overall health.
The therapist may start by asking you to imagine a calm, relaxing place, like the beach or the mountains. “You connect to how you feel in that place – calm, peaceful and free,” says Ms. Lipinski. “The therapist can then help you put your body into a relaxed state whenever you reconnect to that place.
“Imagine how useful this can be when facing stress at home, work or school.”
Holistic therapy is supportive and moves at a comfortable pace. If you have questions or concerns, sharing them with the therapist before you start will be beneficial, she notes.
How can you tell when holistic therapy is starting to work?
“Overall, clients tell us they’re walking around differently, feeling more energetic, more empowered in their lives and relationships, and more hopeful about the future,” says Ms. Lipinski.
Health screening results may improve as well, she adds.