Hypnosis for Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attack

Hypnosis for Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attack



Feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and panic attacks can be debilitating. The constant worrying, racing thoughts, and physical symptoms can interfere with daily life and prevent individuals from enjoying the present moment.

Fortunately, there is a solution that goes beyond traditional therapy approaches.

Hypnotherapy, a form of therapy that utilizes the power of hypnosis, has been gaining popularity as an effective method for treating anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

Hypnosis for Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attack

What is Hypnotherapy and How Does it Work?

Understanding the concept of hypnosis

Hypnosis is a state of mind in which a person enters a deeply relaxed and focused state, similar to a trance. This altered state of consciousness allows for increased suggestibility and heightened concentration. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis does not involve mind control or manipulation. Instead, it taps into the subconscious mind to facilitate positive changes and explore the root causes of anxiety and panic attacks.

The role of hypnotherapy in treating anxiety and panic attacks

Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic application of hypnosis. It is conducted by trained professionals, known as hypnotherapists, who guide individuals into a hypnotic state and utilize various techniques to address their specific concerns. When it comes to anxiety and panic attacks, hypnotherapy aims to reprogram negative thought patterns and replace them with more positive, empowering beliefs.

One study has showed (1) hypnotherapy plays an important role in helping children and teenagers who experience clinical anxiety, excessive worry, and fear.

Anxiety disorders, including specific phobias and panic disorder, are highly prevalent in both the United States and Europe. Various therapeutic approaches, such as pharmacotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, systematic desensitization, hypnosis, in vivo exposure, and virtual reality exposure therapy, have been employed to address these conditions. However, no single modality has demonstrated complete success in treatment. While some limited attempts have been made to combine psychological therapies for specific phobias and panic disorder, these have primarily involved systematic desensitization or cognitive-behavioral therapy in conjunction with hypnotherapy.

Benefits of using hypnosis for anxiety disorders

When we experience anxiety, our thoughts and feelings can become a tangled web that feels overwhelming. But with hypnosis, we can untangle those thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Hypnotherapy, which is like a special version of hypnosis, can be used to target specific anxieties, such as fear of spiders, heights, or making new friends.

Main benefits of hypnosis are:

  1. Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Hypnosis can lead us to a state of deep relaxation, melting away stress and tension like ice on a sunny day. When we are relaxed, our minds become clearer, and we can better cope with anxiety triggers.
  2. Building Self-Confidence: With hypnosis, we can strengthen our self-confidence and believe in ourselves. Imagine feeling like a brave superhero, ready to face any challenge that comes our way!
  3. Overcoming Fears: Hypnotherapy can help us face our fears, like a brave adventurer exploring new territories. Whether it’s fear of darkness, heights, or the big test at school, hypnosis can give us the courage to conquer them all.
  4. Managing Panic Attacks: When we experience panic attacks, it can feel like we are stuck in a whirlwind of emotions. Hypnotherapy can teach us techniques to manage these attacks and find peace within the storm.

Hypnotherapy provides a safe and non-invasive alternative to medication. By addressing the underlying causes of anxiety, hypnotherapy helps individuals develop long-term coping strategies, reducing the need for reliance on medication.

Additionally, hypnosis can be highly customized to suit each individual’s unique needs, making it a versatile treatment modality.

Hypnosis for Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attack

How Can Hypnotherapy Help with Anxiety and Panic Attacks?

Exploring the use of hypnosis for anxiety reduction

When used for anxiety reduction, hypnosis can help individuals achieve a deep state of relaxation, which can alleviate feelings of anxiety.

By accessing the subconscious mind, hypnotherapy can assist in identifying and reframing the negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety. Through guided imagery and positive suggestion, individuals can learn to replace anxious thoughts with more calming and empowering ideas.

Understanding the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for panic attacks

Panic attacks can be likened to a sudden storm that engulfs an individual, leaving them feeling helpless and out of control. When we experience a panic attack, a surge of fear arises unexpectedly, often reaching its peak within minutes. Common physical symptoms include heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom. Although panic attacks are not life-threatening, they can be emotionally and physically debilitating, impacting a person’s quality of life and well-being.

Understanding the underlying mechanisms of panic attacks is crucial to developing effective interventions. Studies have shown that panic attacks are closely linked to the brain’s limbic system, responsible for processing emotions and fear responses. The amygdala, a key player in the limbic system, plays a central role in detecting potential threats and initiating the “fight or flight” response. In individuals with panic disorder, the amygdala may become overactive, triggering panic attacks in response to perceived threats that may not pose real danger. It is often difficult for individuals to manage panic attacks.

Panic attacks can be terrifying and unpredictable. Hypnotherapy offers an effective approach for managing and reducing the frequency and severity of panic attacks. By teaching individuals’ relaxation techniques and providing tools to control their breathing and thoughts during an attack, hypnotherapy equips them with the necessary skills to regain control and prevent panic from escalating.

The role of self-hypnosis in managing anxiety symptoms

Besides in-session hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis can be a valuable tool for managing anxiety symptoms on a day-to-day basis. Self-hypnosis involves using techniques taught by a hypnotherapist to induce a state of relaxation and positive suggestion.

With regular practice, individuals can take control of their anxiety and become more resilient in the face of triggers and stressors.

Self-hypnosis facilitates anxiety reduction through several mechanisms:

  1. Relaxation Response: Self-hypnosis induces a state of deep relaxation, counteracting the physiological arousal associated with anxiety. This relaxation response lowers heart rate, reduces muscle tension, and calms the nervous system.
  2. Cognitive Restructuring: In the hypnotic state, individuals can access their subconscious mind and reframe negative thought patterns. By replacing anxious thoughts with positive affirmations and coping strategies, self-hypnosis empowers individuals to approach anxiety-provoking situations with confidence.
  3. Enhancing Coping Mechanisms: Self-hypnosis equips individuals with effective coping mechanisms, such as visualization and mental imagery. These tools can be utilized during anxious moments, promoting a sense of control and resilience.

The Process of Hypnotherapy for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

What to expect in a hypnotherapy session

A typical hypnotherapy session for anxiety and panic attacks begins with an initial consultation, during which the hypnotherapist gathers relevant information about the individual’s history and concerns. The actual hypnosis session may involve a combination of relaxation exercises, guided imagery, and positive suggestions tailored to the individual’s specific needs. Each session is conducted in a safe and confidential environment to ensure a comfortable and productive experience.

Choosing the right hypnotherapist for anxiety treatment

Choosing the right hypnotherapist is essential for successful anxiety treatment. It is crucial to find a licensed and experienced professional who specializes in anxiety and panic disorders. Reading testimonials and seeking recommendations can help in the selection process. Establishing a good rapport and feeling comfortable with the hypnotherapist is also essential for building trust and achieving optimal results.

How hypnosis can be used alongside traditional anxiety treatments

Hypnosis can be used as a complementary therapy alongside traditional anxiety treatments, such as medication and talk therapy. It can enhance the effectiveness of these treatments by addressing the underlying psychological factors contributing to anxiety. Integrating hypnosis into a comprehensive treatment plan can provide individuals with a holistic approach to managing their anxiety and panic symptoms.

Specific Anxiety Disorders and Hypnotherapy

Overcoming phobias with hypnotherapy

Phobias are intense, irrational fears that can significantly impact daily life. Hypnotherapy can help individuals overcome phobias by gradually exposing them to their fears in a controlled and safe environment.

Through guided relaxation and positive suggestion, hypnotherapy can reframe negative associations and promote a sense of calm and mastery over the feared object or situation.

Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique that uses hypnosis to access the subconscious mind and create positive changes in thought patterns and behaviors. During a hypnotherapy session, the individual enters a deeply relaxed state, similar to daydreaming, where their mind becomes more receptive to suggestions and guidance.

  1. Exposure and Desensitization: Hypnotherapy employs a technique called systematic desensitization to gradually expose individuals to their phobic triggers in a controlled and safe environment. Through repeated exposure, the subconscious mind learns to reevaluate the perceived threat, reducing anxiety and fear.
  2. Cognitive Restructuring: Hypnotherapy helps identify and challenge the negative thought patterns associated with phobias. By replacing these thoughts with more positive and rational ones, individuals can change their emotional responses to phobic triggers.
  3. Root Cause Resolution: Sometimes, phobias stem from past experiences or traumas that have been buried in the subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy allows individuals to access these memories and process them in a safe space, leading to resolution and healing.
  4. Building Self-Efficacy: Hypnotherapy instills a sense of empowerment and self-confidence, enabling individuals to feel more in control when faced with their phobias. With newfound courage, they can approach previously anxiety-provoking situations with ease.

Hypnosis for Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attack

Managing social anxiety through hypnosis

Social anxiety disorder can make social interactions distressing and overwhelming. Hypnotherapy can assist individuals in managing social anxiety by targeting the underlying beliefs and thought patterns that contribute to their fears. By instilling confidence, enhancing self-esteem, and providing coping strategies, hypnotherapy empowers individuals to navigate social situations with greater ease and comfort.

Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is a condition characterized by an overwhelming fear of social situations and a constant worry about being judged or embarrassed. Individuals with social anxiety may experience physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, or a racing heart when faced with social encounters. This fear can significantly impact their daily lives, leading to avoidance of social gatherings, affecting relationships, and diminishing overall well-being.

A randomized controlled trial of hypnosis in social anxiety disorder examined the impact of hypnosis on individuals diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Participants were divided into two groups: one receiving traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) alone, and the other receiving CBT with hypnosis. The results revealed that the group receiving CBT with hypnosis experienced significant reductions in social anxiety symptoms compared to the CBT-only group. Hypnosis was shown to enhance the effectiveness of traditional therapy, providing a valuable tool for social anxiety management.

Another study, The Efficacy of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Psychosomatic Disorders: Meta-analytical Evidence (1), focused on adolescents with social anxiety disorder and explored the benefits of adding hypnotherapy to their treatment plan. The results indicated that participants who received hypnotherapy alongside traditional treatment showed greater improvement in their social anxiety symptoms compared to those who received traditional treatment alone. Hypnotherapy was found to increase treatment efficacy and foster a sense of self-confidence in adolescents facing social anxiety challenges.

The long-term effects of hypnosis in social anxiety disorder have also been studied. In this longitudinal study, individuals with social anxiety disorder underwent hypnotherapy over an extended period to assess its long-term effects. The findings revealed that participants experienced a sustained reduction in social anxiety symptoms even after the hypnotherapy sessions had ended. Hypnosis was shown to facilitate lasting changes in thought patterns and behaviors, promoting continued growth and resilience.

Hypnosis provides a unique approach to managing social anxiety by targeting the subconscious mind, where fears and negative thought patterns are deeply ingrained. Through hypnosis, individuals can explore the root causes of their social anxiety, challenge irrational beliefs, and replace them with more positive and empowering ones. Moreover, hypnosis fosters a sense of calm and relaxation, reducing the physiological symptoms associated with social anxiety.

Hypnotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (2) (GAD) is characterized by excessive worry and apprehension about various aspects of life. Hypnotherapy for GAD aims to reduce anxiety levels and promote a more balanced state of mind.

Hypnotherapy offers a holistic approach to addressing GAD by working with both the conscious and subconscious mind. In a state of deep relaxation induced by a trained hypnotherapist, individuals can access their subconscious, where deeply ingrained beliefs and thought patterns reside. By exploring and reshaping these underlying beliefs, hypnotherapy aims to transform anxious thinking and behavior.

Hypnotherapy utilizes powerful techniques to reprogram anxious thought patterns and replace them with more constructive and empowering beliefs.

During hypnosis, positive suggestions and affirmations are introduced into the subconscious mind.

For example, individuals may be guided to visualize themselves handling challenging situations with confidence and ease. By instilling new thought patterns, hypnotherapy empowers individuals to face their anxiety with a sense of resilience.

GAD is often associated with a heightened state of physiological arousal. Key part of hypnotherapy is to teach relaxation techniques that help individuals reduce their stress response and achieve a state of calm. Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery are some of the relaxation skills integrated into hypnotherapy sessions. These tools can be used outside of hypnotherapy sessions as coping mechanisms to manage anxiety in daily life.

Through deep relaxation and suggestion, hypnotherapy addresses the cognitive and emotional components of GAD, helping individuals develop a more positive and resilient mindset.

Exploring the Benefits of Hypnotherapy for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Reducing anxiety symptoms with clinical hypnosis

Clinical hypnosis is a researched and evidence-based approach to reducing anxiety symptoms. Numerous studies, including those published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, have shown the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in alleviating anxiety. Clinical hypnotherapy sessions can provide individuals with the tools and techniques to manage their anxiety and reduce the impact it has on their daily lives.

Addressing the root causes of anxiety through hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy goes beyond symptom management; it delves into the root causes of anxiety.

By exploring past experiences, traumas, and deeply ingrained beliefs, hypnotherapy helps individuals understand the underlying factors that contribute to their anxiety.

By addressing these root causes, individuals can experience long-lasting relief and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

The power of hypnosis in treating post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be debilitating, but hypnotherapy offers hope for healing. By accessing the subconscious mind, hypnosis can help individuals process and reframe traumatic memories, reducing the intensity of flashbacks and nightmares. Through guided imagery and relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy empowers individuals to regain control over their emotional responses and reduce the impact of PTSD on their daily lives.

Hypnotherapy offers a promising avenue for breaking free from the shackles of anxiety and panic attacks. By combining the power of hypnosis with the expertise of trained hypnotherapists, individuals can gain a greater understanding of their anxiety and develop the necessary tools to overcome it. If you are struggling with anxiety or panic attacks, it may be worth exploring the benefits of hypnotherapy and embarking on a journey towards a calmer and more fulfilling life.


Q: What is hypnosis?

A: Hypnosis is a technique that allows a person to enter a state of deep relaxation and focused attention. It is often used for therapeutic purposes. Hypnosis induces specific brain changes (4) that promote increased emotional control and reduced self-consciousness. As a result, individuals are more inclined to immerse themselves in imaginative scenarios, where they can maintain better command over their emotional reactions.

Q: How can a hypnotherapist help with anxiety?

A: A hypnotherapist can help with anxiety by using hypnosis to access the subconscious mind and address the root causes of anxiety. This can help individuals develop coping mechanisms and reduce the intensity of their anxiety symptoms.

Q: Can hypnosis be used for self-hypnosis?

A: Yes, hypnosis can be used for self-hypnosis. With proper guidance, individuals can learn techniques to induce a hypnotic state on their own and use it to achieve various goals, including reducing anxiety.

Q: Can hypnosis be used to treat phobias?

A: Yes, hypnosis can be an effective treatment for phobias. By accessing the subconscious mind, hypnosis can help individuals identify and address the underlying fears that contribute to their phobias.

Q: Is hypnosis a viable option for managing social anxiety?

A: Yes, hypnosis can be a viable option for managing social anxiety. Through hypnotherapy, individuals can learn relaxation techniques and develop strategies to overcome self-consciousness in social settings.

Q: Can hypnosis be used for generalized anxiety disorder?

A: Hypnotherapy can be used as a complementary treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. By helping individuals relax and reduce stress, hypnosis may help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.

Q: What is clinical hypnotherapy?

A: Clinical hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that combines hypnosis with traditional therapeutic techniques for the treatment of various psychological and physical conditions, including anxiety.

Q: What can hypnosis be used for?

A: Hypnosis can be used for various purposes, including treating anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and even as an alternative treatment for managing symptoms of anxiety. It can also be used to help individuals overcome specific fears, such as the fear of flying.

Q: Is there any research on the effectiveness of hypnosis for anxiety?

A: Yes, there have been studies that suggest hypnosis may be helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and limitations of hypnosis for anxiety.

Q: Can hypnotherapy be used for children with anxiety?

A: Yes, hypnotherapy can be used for children with anxiety. However, it is important to work with a qualified hypnotherapist who specializes in working with children to ensure their safety and well-being.


(1) Childhood Anxiety and Psychophysiological Reactivity: Hypnosis to Build Discrimination and Self-Regulation Skills: American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis: Vol 56, No 4 (tandfonline.com)

(2) The Efficacy of Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Psychosomatic Disorders: Meta-analytical Evidence: Erich Flammer und Assen Alladin: International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis: Vol 55, No 3 (tandfonline.com)

(3) Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Revisited – PubMed (nih.gov)

(4) Brain Activity and Functional Connectivity Associated with Hypnosis | Cerebral Cortex | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

(5) Integrating Hypnosis with Other Therapies for Treating Specific Phobias: A Case Series – PubMed (nih.gov)

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