Recovery, at its core, is about making changes to attitudes, behaviors and habits, all of which can become self-destructive through years of untreated addiction. Sometimes, achieving these changes requires going deeper than the conscious mind, and into the unconscious. Hypnosis therapy has been successfully used with many clients to strengthen their substance abuse rehab experience.
Thanks to its frequent appearance on television shows and in movies, most people have an idea of hypnosis, and some aspects of Hollywood’s depiction are accurate. For example, clients do indeed enter a “trance-like” state of mind. However, other common assumptions, like patients losing control over their thoughts or actions during treatment, are inaccurate.
Hypnosis is meant to help clients make the changes they want to make, but have thus far struggled to achieve. Because hypnosis makes patients more open than usual to suggestions and proposed alterations in behavior, it’s an ideal instrument to help substance abuse treatment clients accomplish sobriety, as well as other life goals.
Though some associate hypnosis with falling asleep or being unconscious, that isn’t how it actually works. “People who have been hypnotized for the first time often believe they have not entered into an altered state because they have remained alert and have heard everything that has transpired,” states a hypnosis guide published by the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine. “In fact, a hyper-alertness is characteristic of the hypnotic state.”
According to a 2004 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, hypnosis increases the ability of recovering addicts to adopt new patterns of behavior, and “the deep relaxation naturally addresses the recovering person’s need to manage stress and handle cravings.”
In the case of substance abuse rehab clients suffering from alcoholism, this American Journal study found that including hypnosis as part of a treatment plan produced a 77% success rate among recovering alcoholics. Other scientific findings demonstrating the usefulness of hypnosis include:
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