Although addiction can have a chemical aspect to it, a large part of any addiction is down to learned behavior. It has long been understood that we learn to do things by receiving rewards and that the more we get a reward, the more likely we are to behave in that way. Some things like alcohol consumption, gambling or sex have perceived positive rewards, so are more likely to be repeated and may develop into a habit.
Habits are repeated behaviors that are done by choice and the individual can stop if they wish. However, sometimes those habits become addictions. When an addiction is formed there is a psychological and a physical element, making it difficult for the individual to control this behavior.
In our society we are constantly bombarded with images and reminders of things that will reward us through advertisements, people we know and things that we experience. We are constantly and sometimes subliminally encouraged to get the next reward: whether it be food, drinks, cigarettes, holidays, winnings or new and better alternatives to what we have already and that will make us feel better and reward us. When you think of it this way, it’s easy to understand how we sometimes arrive at the point of addiction without always realising what is happening to us. An instant cure-all to feelings of boredom, loneliness, tiredness, anger, resentfulness, fear and doing things that reward make us feel better in the short term. A quick fix, a feel safe, a comfort and a moment or two of excitement.
So how on earth do we stop this? Advanced hypnotherapy can help you break addictions by helping you find the source of the issue that you are trying to feel better about. You may know or think you know what the issue is, but if you did, wouldn’t you have solved it by now?
Once the true source of the need for reward is found, advanced hypnotherapy helps you understand what started that need and helps you see it from a different perspective. It helps you tp disconnect from the feelings and behaviors that resulted from something that happened long ago and that is no longer relevant. It also helps you find new, healthier alternative behaviors than the addictive behavior that you have been engaged in and then helps you to put that in place.
For some addictions - for example prescribed, illegal, over the counter drugs and alcohol - it is wise to combine this with medical input, as often instant abstinence from such substances can have severe health implications. In addition, it would not be appropriate to take someone into hypnosis if they were intoxicated.
Advanced hypnotherapy is very effective in helping recovering addicts to stay on track, helping them to recognise their triggers for relapse and offering them tools to help manage cravings.
Hypnotherapy is also deeply relaxing, which is rewarding in itself. Hypnosis is indicated by changes in metabolism, breathing, brain patterns and feelings of comfort and restfulness, often the very rewards individuals are seeking. Following therapy, clients are often taught self-hypnosis so that they can continue with their recovery long after the therapy has finished, giving them a powerful weapon against relapse and perhaps a new healthy way to achieve a reward.
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About Claire McDonough
A fully qualified Advanced Hypnotherapist, integrative Counsellor, Life Coach and Trainer.
Her career has been spent in different areas of mental health and wellbeing. She uses a range of techniques including Advanced Hypnotherapy, Person Centred Counselling, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Gestalt Therapy and Transactional Analysis.