Motor City Hypnotist Podcast with David Wright – Episode 24 Hypnosis for Depression

Hypnosis for Depression Show Notes In this episode of the Motor City Hypnotist Podcast we are going to discuss depression, it’s causes and coping strategies including hypnosis. And I’m also going to be giving listeners a FREE HYPNOSIS GUIDE! Stay tuned! INTRODUCTION What is up people? The Motor City Hypnotist Podcast is here in the Podcast Detroit Northville Studios. Thank you for joining me on this episode of the Motor City Hypnotist Podcast. I am David Wright and with me is my producer Matt Fox. FIND ME: My Website: My social media links: Facebook: YouTube: Twitter: Instagram: motorcityhypno If you would like to contribute financially to the show, you can find me on Patreon: FREE HYPNOSIS GUIDE Please also subscribe to the show and leave a review. (Stay with me as later in the podcast, I’ll be giving away a free gift to all listeners!) This episode of the Motor City Hypnotist Podcast is brought to you by Bedrock! I want to thank them for their sponsorship! WINNER OF THE WEEK; Brandon Boyer TOPIC INTRODUCTION DEPRESSION!! Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime. The World Health Organization states that close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Suicide is a global phenomenon and occurs throughout the lifespan. Effective and evidence-based interventions can be implemented at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. WHO also indicates that for each adult who dies by suicide there are more than 20 others attempting suicide. What Is Depression? Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include: o Feeling sad or having a depressed mood o Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed o Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting o Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much o Loss of energy or increased fatigue o Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others) o Feeling worthless or guilty o Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions o Thoughts of death or suicide Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression. Also, medical conditions (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes. Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime. TYPES OF DEPRESSION I’m going to simplify this and say that there are generally two types of depression. Situational and Chemical. Situational Depression : Causes of situational depression Stressful events, both positive and negative, can cause situational depression. Stressful events include: • relationship or marital problems, such as fighting or divorce • situational changes, such as retirement, going away to school, or having a baby • negative financial situations, such as money problems or losing a job • the death of a loved one • social issues at school or work • life-or-death experiences such as physical assault, combat, or a natural disaster • medical illness • living in a dangerous neighborhood Previous life experiences can affect the way you deal with stress. You are at higher risk of situational depression if you have: • gone through considerable stress during childhood • existing mental health problems • several difficult life circumstances occurring at the same time Chemical Depression The brain is a complicated mechanism and depression can come from a myriad of brain “malfunctions”. To break it down more simply, Chemical depression is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Figure 2: How neurons communicate 1. An electrical signal travels down the axon. 2. Chemical neurotransmitter molecules are released. 3. The neurotransmitter molecules bind to receptor sites. 4. The signal is picked up by the second neuron and is either passed along or halted. 5. The signal is also picked up by the first neuron, causing reuptake, the process by which the cell that released the neurotransmitter takes back some of the remaining molecules. How Hypnosis Can Help: From Mark Tyrell Depression is already a sort of hypnosis A depressed person is, from one perspective, already in hypnosis. Some of the severely depressed patients I recall from my time in Acute Psychiatric naturally exhibited many of the features we see in hypnotized subjects. Two common features of depression and hypnosis 1. Catalepsy This is a rigidity or disinclination to move the body. It happens to all of us when we dream at night during REM. Our anti-gravity muscles become ‘paralyzed’ to prevent us actually acting out our dreams. Catalepsy sometimes occurs spontaneously in hypnosis. The person becomes very still or responds easily to the suggestion that an arm will become numb. Because catalepsy happens naturally during hypnosis, it can be utilized easily for pain control or as an organic metaphor for ‘immovable determination’ and the like. But some depressed patients show signs of catalepsy too. They might feel emotionally numb or sit for hours in exactly the same position (especially when in deep or ‘clinical’ depression). It’s fascinating that this is essentially a hypnotic feature. 2. Loss of external contact Another thing depression has in common with hypnosis is the narrowed inward focus. During hypnotic trance (which can be deeply pleasurable and therapeutic), our attention turns inwards as our perception of the outside reality fades away. This happens to all of us in nature’s deepest trance: when we dream at night. As you fall into the REM state, your focus becomes exclusively attuned to the contents of your imagination, to the extent that your imaginings become 100% real to you. Your bed and the room you’re dreaming in become no more than a distant memory. Depressed people often look glassy-eyed and report feeling disconnected from the real world. They experience a feeling of unreality or ‘derealization’. They will often be very inwardly focused, ruminating on the contents of their imaginations and creating hopeless or fearful scenarios about the past, present, and future. Sure enough, this is a feature of hypnosis too, in which inner focus overrides outer focus. Clearly, hypnosis as a mechanism to deliver therapy is likely to resonate strongly with depressed patients who are already experiencing some features of the trance state. More of the same misery Back when Kevin’s psychiatrist was trained, the psychotherapy of the day was analytical. The patient was encouraged to focus on the unchangeable past. Sessions involved dragging patients through their pasts to ‘get in touch’ with ultra-painful feelings and memories. This ideology favoured the idea of ‘cathartic collapse’, in which the client was essentially re-traumatized. This was thought to lead to ‘release’ and therefore better mental health. In reality, it was a very painful process. Now if hypnosis were used as the ‘delivery system’ for this kind of therapy, leading to uncontrolled cathartic collapse, it could indeed be catastrophic for the patient. Depressed patients can certainly be worse off after receiving hypnosis as part of such a scary therapeutic model. And there’s a good reason for that. Depressed clients already exclusively focus on painful memories at the expense of better ones. They are already likely to have lost perspective through over-rumination and analysis of ‘why things went wrong’(2). So if the therapy is focused on bringing up lots of painful memories, essentially giving their feelings of misery a ‘booster’, it’s no wonder depressed clients could suffer. Hypnosis simply powers and magnifies whatever therapy is being given through it. That’s why much of the advice about not using hypnosis for depressed patients was quite right: the type of analysis being used was, from a modern perspective, toxic for depression anyway. Likewise, it’s no surprise that another anti-therapeutic use of hypnosis caused more problems than it solved. When the aim of therapy was to find out what happened or ‘release suppressed memories‘, there was no way applying hypnosis could turn out well. First, there’s no evidence that hypnosis can be used to ‘find out what happened’. And second, there’s no evidence that finding out the cause of a problem solves the problem anyway – Hollywood psychobabble notwithstanding! Using trance to treat trance Hypnosis, not as a therapy but as a ‘delivery system’ for therapy, is only as good as the competence and practice of the clinician delivering it. If the therapy is positively orientated, enabling, constructive, and solution-focused, then hypnosis can magnify those benefits hugely. I’m glad to say that psychotherapy has progressed tremendously since my days nursing patients like Kevin. This is good news for depressed patients, who can finally access the powerful healing hypnosis can deliver. Depressed people are stressed people. We know this objectively, because they have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their bloodstreams(3). So any treatment for depression should include deep rest and relaxation to give the client a break from the exhausting effects of depression. Hypnosis, one of the most soothing, relaxing experiences available to our patients, should not be overlooked for short-term relief. Hypnosis can also be used to help reframe past events constructively, and rehearse new ways of feeling and thinking. It can calm the brain down enough to start to feel hope and set realistic goals. Hypnosis may not be the active ingredient, but it is a part of therapy – often a vital part, helping important messages hit home. Those who don’t understand the fundamental nature of hypnosis and its role in learning, healing, and overcoming emotional difficulties, may still talk of contraindications. But what they may not realize is that any therapy, including the old school analytical kind, is, in a way, hypnotic. If it gets clients to narrow their attention to feelings or something beyond the immediate, such as an imagined future or a remembered past, it is effectively a form of hypnosis. Practitioners themselves may not understand the hypnotic elements in their own work – indeed, often they have no idea. In fact, looking back, I’m sure Kevin, as he sat there surrounded by authority figures, frozen still with his eyes fixated on the floor, was in a kind of trance. But alas, not a good one. Hypnosis for Depression MP3 NEXT EPISODE: Best and Worst Stage Hypnosis Routines! Change your thinking, change your life! Laugh hard, run fast, be kind. David R. Wright MA, LPC, CHT The Motor City Hypnotist