Anxiety. In a world where people are in constant states of overwhelm, it’s no wonder anxiety is such a common complaint. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), it is the most common reason people go to therapy, and more than 40 million adults in the United States suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder.
What is anxiety, exactly? There are many different types of anxiety disorders, but they all have a few things in common. Such clients display persistent, excessive fear or worry in circumstances that are not immediately threatening.
Anxiety is fueled by thinking about the past and future instead of focusing on the present. Many people fail to experience joy in their lives because they wonder what would happen if the source of their happiness were to be suddenly taken away. Anxiety also arises in times of uncertainty, when people wonder if they’ve done enough to prepare for an event, or how well they will survive a disconcerting situation. No one can deny that conditions such as these are ubiquitous in our world these days.
While anxiety is a state of mind, it is not, in and of itself, an emotion. The emotion underlying anxiety is fear. Whether that be fear of the future, fear of the consequences of past actions, or an unexplainable, existential sense of trepidation, it all boils down to the emotional experience of being afraid. Fear is a very common feeling among human beings, but when it rises to an emotional volume that interferes with a person’s ability to function effectively, it can be devastating.
Also, people with anxiety often are not aware of their fear. They may not even be able to put a finger on what it is that sets off the anxious feelings and behavior that doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.
Treating anxiety with CBT, relaxation techniques, or even medication can be effective, but do these approaches do anything more than treat the symptoms? Therapy might achieve this, in many instances, but it is often difficult and certainly time consuming to get clients to express their irrational fears when equipped solely with their rational minds. Therefore, it is challenging to get them to overcome these fears.
Getting to the roots of fear can be complicated. There are often events that provoke fearful reactions, but they are not always apparent, or even existent, as far as your client might be concerned. However, it is rather easy to see that fear intensifies when a person feels unprotected, unloved, and mainly, disconnected, from a source of emotional and spiritual support.
The way transpersonal therapists and coaches approach the treatment of anxiety has some of the same characteristics of conventional therapeutic methods, but it differs sharply in other respects. The chief distinction between transpersonal tools and conventional therapy is the integration of the spiritual aspect of the client.
This approach does not imply or require any set of beliefs in a religion or prescriptions for certain ways of living. Transpersonal psychology addresses the relationship between the client’s normal waking awareness and the more refined consciousness some might call the “higher self.”
Transpersonal psychology evolved from the humanistic work of Carl Jung into a way of helping clients that reaches beyond humanistic concerns. The focus is on assisting clients in their search for meaning and purpose in their lives. This article from Psychology Today provides a highly accessible summary of the Transpersonal school of psychology.
Some of the tools used by transpersonal practitioners include meditation, relaxation, dreamwork, visioning, holotropic breathwork, and hypnotherapy. In all cases, the transpersonal approach seeks to offer the client ways to open a channel of communication between the conscious mind and other states of consciousness.
You don’t have to become a full-fledged transpersonal psychologist to treat anxiety with methods of this type. but you can learn how to use these tools. The most powerful of all of them, we believe, is hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy allows the client to examine the feelings of fear and disconnection that give rise to anxiety, and reframe old beliefs that affect their current behavior. After being induced into a slightly altered state of consciousness, the client is invited to bring up an experience that provokes anxiety, or simply describe how it feels when the feeling comes over them.
The hypnotherapist encourages the client to identify the emotions underlying the anxious feelings, and express them. From there, the client is taken through age regression. The client shifts awareness back to another time where the same or similar feelings were present, to find the source of the anxiety.
A person who has panic attacks in elevators, for example, may have a “forgotten” memory of being locked in a closet by a mischievous neighborhood playmate. Or, someone who gets anxious about starting or being in a fire might find there is something in the past—way back in the past—that created that fear. Regression experiences, especially those that have produced fear and anxiety in the patient, can go back to infancy, perinatal and prenatal periods, and even past lives. Perhaps the person lived through a house fire in a past life. It very well could be.
It doesn’t matter if you, as the therapist, believe that such things are possible. Your client, however, when experiencing such memories, has experiences that are vividly real. As the hypnotherapist, you simply guide clients through the process of going to the source of their fears, confronting them, expressing the underlying emotions, and then reframing both the beliefs and behaviors that were formed at those times.
Clients also get an opportunity to connect with an adult version of themselves that will provide protection when fears arise. There is also the opportunity to identify a spiritual source that resonates with them, reconnecting the client with the power of faith, which is a potent antidote against fear.
These devices give the clients tools they can access in daily life. Eventually, a dialogue with that “higher self” develops, and the client can identify and embrace new meaning and purpose in life.
Hypnotherapy is indeed an extremely powerful way to deal with a client’s anxiety, and it is also exceptionally effective. What’s more, it’s very easy to acquire the skills needed to work with your clients using hypnotherapy.
Not all hypnotherapy training courses offer training that allows you to go this deep with clients. They often glaze over the more penetrating dimensions of healing and avoid those deeply emotional and spiritual experiences.
At The Wellness Institute, you will learn and become certified in Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy™, so you can receive the full benefit of the transpersonal dimensions of treatment for your clients. Our Six Day Hypnotherapy Training and Certification Program lets you learn how to conduct sessions in less than a week.
You’ll also get the chance to participate in sessions as an observer and as a client as you work with your peers. Experiencing hypnotherapy for yourself is a tremendous way to understand what you will give to your clients, and it will also help you to begin your own journey of healing.
All classes are taught online by live teachers, and breakout sessions are supervised by seasoned Advanced Certified Heart-Centered Hypnotherapists. You will receive top-notch training without having to leave the comfort of your own home or office space. In addition to anxiety, you’ll learn how to treat:
- sexual abuse
- eating disorders
- childhood issues
- mind-body issues
and more. After your training, teachers can support you in special supervision sessions, if you would like feedback as you complete your practice sessions for full certification.
The Wellness Institute offers a wide range of courses, from Introduction to Hypnosis to this Six Day Hypnotherapy Training and Certification Program, and on to The Advanced Internship, which enhances your clinical skills and takes you on a more comprehensive healing journey of your own. You can continue further by expanding your practice with our Personal Transformation Intensive Leadership course, and immerse yourself in Jungian psychology with our Mentors program. Most courses are CE-eligible, depending on your licensure.
The Wellness Institute offers high quality training that gives you tools to help your clients and foster your own growth. Plug your clients back into the world so they can live a free, happy and anxiety-free life.