Ask the expert: How can hypnotherapy help me cope with my break-up?
Relationships add so much to our lives, so it’s no surprise that when they end, they can feel devastating.
Whether you’re finding it tough to move on after a break-up, or you need a confidence boost to get back on the dating scene, hypnotherapy may be just what you need. Here we talk to hypnotherapist Caroline Silvestre to learn more.
Hypnotherapy for break-ups
I’ve recently gone through a break-up and I’m finding it difficult to move on. What steps can I take to do this?
Truly moving on from a breakup means feeling independent, optimistic, and free of resentment. Giving time to a relationship only to see it end can make us want to hold on to something. Sometimes we take anger as a souvenir. Anger keeps sadness away, so it is easy to hold onto it instead of allowing ourselves to grieve and accept it’s over. Carrying anger from one relationship onto the next can prevent us from fully opening up to new possibilities and enjoying a new start.
Practising detachment and compassion through meditation can be extremely helpful for letting go of resentment. Pursuing activities and hobbies that you enjoy help increase feelings of self-efficacy and self-sufficiency. Finally, educating yourself in relationship dynamics by reading books or seeking talking therapy can help you process the loss and turn it into an opportunity for self-development.
A friend recommended hypnotherapy to help me get over my breakup. How can this help?
Hypnotherapy is an effective method that greatly complements talking therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). By applying special visualisation and relaxation techniques, hypnosis promotes a state of calm, relaxation, and focus, reducing stress hormones, enabling clear and logical thinking, and promoting future planning.
Hypnosis harnesses the power of imagination, enabling us to visualise our goals and contemplate possibilities. This exercise helps make plans more actionable and realistic, leaving us inspired and uplifted. Hypnosis also enables imaginal exposure, which is the practice of rehearsing scenarios carefully in our minds.
I’m struggling with jealousy in my new relationship, is this something hypnotherapy can help with?
Hypnotherapy can certainly help reduce the discomfort of jealousy. Jealousy can have different sources such as trauma, fear of abandonment and fear of embarrassment. Understanding this root cause will direct the course of intervention.
Hypnosis can help by first regulating the nervous system to a more relaxed state, where we can identify the source of jealousy. With the guidance of a therapist and with clear thinking, we are able to unpack the thoughts, feelings, and trigger events that encompass jealousy.
Clear thinking is essential because jealousy can cause paranoia. Is the threat real or imagined? The first thing is to understand your fears, your relationship dynamics, and examine the situation from a place of calm and logic.
With hypnosis, we can work to desensitise the fears linked to jealousy, just like reducing the fear of snakes and spiders. At the end of the day, if jealousy is justified, we must address it as we all deserve to be in a relationship based on trust and shared values.
My confidence has taken a hit since my relationship ended and I’m nervous to date again. How can I rebuild my confidence?
It is understandable to feel nervous to date again following the end of a relationship. It is like going back on the bicycle after a painful fall: for a moment, we feel we cannot trust ourselves and we will just fall again. What is needed then is time. Time to heal and recollect ourselves from the shock.
It is important to be able to look beyond the breakup. One relationship does not predict another, we are all too complex and unique and each combination of people will result in very different dynamics.
I hear “I wasn’t outgoing enough for my ex” just as much as I hear “I was too outgoing for my ex”. There is no standard “lovable” trait. We just have to trust and have faith because as long as we are true to ourselves we will, eventually, be exactly what someone out there needs most. Allow them to find you.
Can you share your top three tips for moving on after a break-up?
My first tip is to openly talk about what happened. This makes it more real, helps you process what happened, and helps orient your friends and family towards your new reality as a single person.
Another piece of advice is to list everything you always wanted to do and places you always wanted to go. It will remind you of the good side of being single: new freedom. Breaking up causes a sharp drop of many neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Finding healthy activities to replenish those substances will help keep depression away.
Lastly, be mindful of jumping into new relationships too quickly, at least not before you heal. Healthy relationships flourish when two independent people care about each other. Being single is an opportunity to find self-sufficiency, to discover yourself in ways you never expected, and to find the strength you never knew you had.