Can Hypnotic Regression Therapy Eliminate Mental Disorders?

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Last Updated on 11 July 2024

Today, people are more and more affected by various mental disorders. These modern diseases are spread everywhere, by now. And when we say everywhere, it means everywhere in the World: from developed to underdeveloped countries.

Inequalities, massive usage of mobile devices, stressful life conditions, and several kinds of fear, are working as triggers for anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and over.

Traditionally, the psychological treatments for these mental disturbances consisted in individual or group psychotherapies coming from different scientific approaches, but their function was to relieve the symptoms, not to completely eliminate the disorder, which, in turn, could be controlled with lifetime psychotropic drugs.

Recently, however, an emerging therapy seems to give promising results. That is Hypnotic Regression Therapy, a psychological technique that aims to make a person aware of past negative experiences which could have triggered a current mental disorder.

Until decades ago, hypnotic regression was regarded as sorcery or a magic ritual that was mistakenly practiced as a medical treatment. Nowadays, instead, this method is largely approved by scientific communities and scholars, who consider it as a helpful method to cure several mental diseases.

But is hypnosis useful to permanently eradicate the illnesses that afflict our mind/soul system? And what mind disorders benefit most from regression therapy?

This article delved into the matter to find the proper answers to these questions.

Hypnotic Regression Therapy Overview

Hypnotic Regression is a practice or science coming from East Asian culture. It is closely intertwined with the relaxation exercises of Yoga, and originally had the function to connect the mind to the Universe energy, retrieve inner peace, and a balanced body spirit wellness.

In the previous centuries, hypnosis was used to induce an artificial state of unawareness in which one entered a condition of trance, with the partial incapacity to control his own behavior.

Hypnosis was initially practiced in ancient China, in the twentieth century B.C.

In Europe, this psychological treatment was applied by Sigmund Freud, the neurologist who founded psychoanalysis, namely the science that studies the subconscious mind, which, according to Freud, is a reservoir for past emotional conflicts that cause mental disorders.

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Initially, hypnosis was performed with a pendulum the hypnotherapist made oscillate before the face of the patient, to induce a drowsiness sensation leading to trance.

Nowadays, the classical hypnotic trance is no longer executed, for the fear of generating false memories, altered behavior and further mental symptoms. This technique, in fact, aims to make the patient regress to a hypothetical past life, following the principle of reincarnation. The latter is a sort of religious belief that many psychiatrists consider as unethical and extremely dangerous, especially to treat disorders causing mental vulnerabilities.

However, according to the Canadian Hypnosis Association, hypnotic trance is among the most effective treatments to permanently fix several conditions of mental and physical malaise, because it mainly allows to remove negative core beliefs and thought processes, negative emotions, patterns of unwanted thoughts, emotions, habits, attitudes, external unknown stressors, negative impacts of any Wifi or EMF, 5G, radiation and other environmental contaminants or substances, such as nanobots, spike proteins etc.

Today, past life regression is almost totally replaced with other techniques of hypnosis. Among these, Visualization, and Age Regression are the most practiced.

In the visualization session, the therapist leads to mentally imagine scenes in which one can focus in order to interpret the message coming from them.

In a session of age regression therapy, the therapist leads the patient to rethink things happening in the various stages of life, starting from the present moment to childhood.

Hence, by now, hypnotic regression therapy coincides with age regression therapy.

How it Works

Generally, a typical session of hypnotic regression works as follows:

The patient is in a comfortable and relaxed position, sitting on the sofa, a chair, or the therapist’s couch, in a silentious room. The hypnotherapist talks in a quiet and relaxed tone. He suggests the patient to slowly breathe, inspire and expire, to calm the mind and eliminate stress.

After this step, the therapist suggests to think to a previous age of the life, as a descend into a well, where the person relives moments of the youth, childhood, and even his own birth, up to regress to the pre-birth stage, and more again to when he was a luminous star in the Universe.

This technique leads a person to a pre- disorder phase with the goal to remove past inner conflicts, stress, traumas and possible abuses that generated the mental disease.

Before the session ends, the patient is invited to envision the reverse process: climbing out of the well, moving from the prenatal period to adulthood, to see the sunlight, and embrace a renewed mental wellness.

I know this technique, because I experienced it personally.

Hypnotic regression therapy can be executed in person, with the therapist, online, and with self-hypnosis.

In reality, the latter is not self-hypnosis, but a form of breathing meditation that mimics age regression, with the same stages suggested by a therapist.

There are many free YouTube videos on this hypnosis technique. But the doubt that remains is if hypnotic regression therapy can remove mental illnesses.

First of all, it is important to know what are the disorders treated with hypnotic regression therapy.

What Mental Disorders It Treats

The main function of hypnotic regression therapy is to induce an awareness state in the subconscious mind, which contains the memories of traumas and abuses, following the same principles of Freud’s psychoanalysis.

In reality, modern hypnotic regression therapy applies a mix of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic, psychoanalysis and meditation. Today, we can say that, what is considered as hypnosis is only regression meditation, where the main therapeutic pillar is a relaxation condition, with mental exercises suggested by a therapist. The trance state never occurs in this type of regression.

And it is always hypnotic regression therapy that is applied to cure several modern mental disorders, such as anxiety, unipolar, and bipolar depression. If the benefits for stress, mild anxiety and sleeplessness have been previously studied, the application of hypnotic regression therapy for more severe mental diseases is not fully explored, yet.

What Clinical Studies Say

A randomized and controlled blind trial, performed in 2017, revealed that, alone, hypnotherapy, compared to Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is not effective to treat unipolar depression, while it can be used in addition to the latter, in order to treat mild or medium depression. Hence, according to current studies, hypnotic regression therapy does not eradicate depression.

As regards bipolar depression, which is more severe and debilitating than unipolar depression, a study always published in 2017, to test the hypnosis susceptibility in bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 disorders, revealed that hypnotic regression therapy does not eradicate these mental illnesses, but serves only to assess the degree of emotional vulnerability and cognitive impairment that underlie the bipolar personality. In short, to cure bipolar disorders, it is better to rely on other psychotherapies.

According to the current medical research and the Institute of Clinical Hypnosis, the control and management of bipolar disorder can be obtained through a combination of CBT + Hypnotherapy, in addition to suitable medications, even though, the simultaneous administration of drugs with antidepressant effects may induce or exacerbate manic episodes.

Even the aforementioned controlled blind trial of 2017 found that hypnotherapy can improve depression in bipolar disorders, but can increase the levels of mania in vulnerable patients.

By contrast, age regression therapy, which makes the patient aware of past traumatic events, is effective to overcome PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which, sometimes, can be a transient condition, and not a mental disease heavily rooted in the subconscious mind (unless it does not relate to a previous chronic depression).

According to the Edge Foundation, instead, hypnotherapy is an alternative treatment that works for treating ADHD symptoms in several different ways, increasing focus and motivation, and eliminating the sense of distraction, for example.

Further clinical studies are also trying to discover if hypnosis regression therapy can induce chemical changes in the brain, leading at the same time, to the permanent removal of psychiatric conditions.

According to the aforementioned Canadian Hypnosis Association, hypnosis allows the release of old programming within the DNA and RNA, resulting in positive changes of biochemistry.

Effects on the Brain

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An article published in My Counseling Jym titled Rewiring the Brain: The Transformative Power of Hypnotherapy, reported that cognitive and behavioral changes induced by Hypnotherapy are effective in reprogramming the brain circuits and improving neuronal plasticity.

The brain, in fact, has an innate and natural neuroplasticity, which allows it to retrieve several lost functions. Improved emotional patterns, and removal of negative emotions have an efficacious impact in the reprogramming plasticity in the brain.

This positive effect has been explored in a study performed in 2016, where the brain activity has been measured with Electroencephalogram. During the clinical examination, the researchers have observed oscillations in the brain waves. However, many electrical waves in the neuronal circuits have been impossible to detect, due to the different areas in which they are located.

Furthermore, the study has revealed that emotional changes in hypnotherapy also occur with other techniques, such as meditation or mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy.

It is, anyway, true, that an ameliorated mental state can help people solve their problems, better cope with stress, and undertake a personal development path. A missed personal growth is, in fact, considered, by many psychiatrists, such as Pina Salomone, former executive at the Mental Health Department in Catania, one of the main causes of mood disorders, such as bipolar. The elimination of this emotional blockage can bring to the permanent removal of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disease, while hypnosis, which allows to remember and eliminate past traumas, may help improve the emotional balance in anxiety, unipolar depression, and ADHD.

Conclusion

Hypnotic Regression Therapy is an emerging and alternative treatment that must be performed by trained therapists. It was also practiced by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, and this fact made hypnotherapy exit the field of magic to acquire the legit status of medical science. But even though hypnotherapy is becoming more and more popular, the research is still scant, and the permanent eradication of mental disorders is hard to reach. Not only with this therapy, but also with the others that preceded it.

Author: Rosalba Mancuso
Rosalba Mancuso is a medical journalist, an international content writer credited at the University of Washington and a blogger born in Sicily. She is internationally appreciated for founding a network of four websites in English. On Modernhealthinfo.com, Rosalba writes well researched and detailed health articles backed by her experience as a medical writer for pharma companies and as a PR assistant for a clinical analysis laboratory. She is also a member of the AHCJ, American Association of Health Care Journalists and Center for Excellence in Health Journalism. Her health magazine survives thanks to spontaneous donations, and sponsorships with brands and clinical organizations.