Depression: How can hypnotherapy help?

Talking about depression can be a thorny subject, I say thorny as sometimes people can become very attached to depression, quite often you hear people talk of "my depression" as if it is some sort of possession of theirs, something that they own. But I will talk about this notion of ownership and why that might be the case later.


To start with I want to look at the commonly accepted causes of what depression could be. I say could be, as the causes of depression are quite complex and individual. A person may have got to the place where they are now due to one, or two, or a combination of what are the main accepted causes of the issue. Or they may frame their reasons in a different way.

With the definitions below, I have attempted to drill down as deep as I can as well as to leave room for a wide selection of possibly interrelated reasons.

What causes depression?

So, what are the four main causes of depression?

1. Deep-seated guilt

A person might have done something, said something, caused something that they regret, and this regret is being carried around like an albatross and eating into their lives. From a hypnotherapy point of view, it is possible that the person’s conscious mind may not remember the exact reason, but the subconscious knows and feeds the raw unprocessed emotion back to the individual. The reason the subconscious does this is down to how the subconscious works. In that its evolutionary function is to always keep the individual safe.

So, it makes connections between events, memories etc and the emotional response that they elicit as a kind of warning. It’s like the subconscious is remembering situations and saying to you, “You don’t want to do that, or go there.” or “You remember how it made you feel, what happened last time?” But it does all this on an emotional level. One such way it may do this in some people is to make them feel down as if you are feeling down, you may avoid certain situations, primarily the situations that the subconscious mind is warning the person against.

Another interpretation of the deep-seated guilt explanation is that the individual is in inner turmoil over something they may have done, caused, or believed to have done, and their internal moral compass is wanting them to either make amends for what they have done or to suffer for it. This latter explanation also connects with the first one above, in the subconscious is warning them not to do ‘it' again.

2. A deep-seated feeling of being unloved or unlovable

The question a hypnotherapist must ask is what has happened to make the person feel this way? The most likely answer is that something has happened in their early life, possibly in their very early life that the conscious mind may not know, but the subconscious does, and it is feeding the feeling back to the individual as a kind of warning, sort of like a failed way to keep them safe from further harm. Consider, if you avoid any kind of social interaction and situations that may remind you of the belief that you are unlovable, you won’t come across that feeling again? At least not to the degree you will feel when presented with a situation that may bring this feeling to mind.

It is equally possible that the main battlefield in this case for both the individual and the hypnotherapist is the notion of their self-belief as well as perhaps the effect of a specific incident. The question that must be asked here is, why does the individual believe this about themselves? And what is the effect of the belief on them? As strange as it may sound. What are the benefits of this belief? Is it a situation like the subconscious actions and processes as outlined above?

3. Fear of what others may think

Could the cause of the client’s depression be a fear of what others may think of them? Fear of judgement and of being evaluated and being found lacking somehow? Or could it be a fear of the unknown, for example, exactly what someone thinks? Either way, again the protectionist aspect of our very powerful subconscious mind comes into play once again to steer us away from any form of danger or perceived threat. Once more the hypnotherapist needs to work with the client to find out why this issue affects them, and why? Equally, what can be done about it?

4. Repressed anger

This is for me the main reason for all depression and it can also include all the above factors as well.

A person is angry with someone or something, or a particular situation for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps they know or feel that what is making them angry is either unresolvable or unreasonable. But rather like the process, I outlined in my article on how stress works (see my website blog or previous article).

The subconscious mind has somehow perceived a threat and has generated chemicals to deal with it that need to be expressed somehow. Usually involving some form of physical activity. But if for a whole load of reasons, it cannot be expressed. The chemicals must go somewhere, and that somewhere is inward. So simply put. If you are angry, but for various reasons, you cannot express this anger. Then that energy must go somewhere, and that is inwards.

There are of course other perspectives on the way that depression works. Such as the lack of the meeting of various needs, love, validation etc, but from my perspective, all the specifics can be included in one or more of the 4 main causes of depression with the effect of anger being, in my view the most profound and deciding factor.

What are the hidden benefits of depression?

I know it sounds strange to say, but when considering and dealing with depression a hypnotherapist must look at each case of depression individually and what positive effects may come from someone who has depression.

Now, remember when I said above a little about how the subconscious mind works? In that its only function is to protect the individual. If someone is depressed, then the person is cocooned in a protective shell where they have emotionally shut down and therefore are no longer vulnerable.

In some cases, rather like the TV program “After Life”, the individual may feel that seeing as they are so depressed, nothing can hurt them anymore and they have a kind of ‘superpower’. This is because they do not care about the consequences of their actions and are no longer tied to any form of ‘comeback’ from anything they say or do. Some people enjoy this feeling as it makes them feel powerful, special and liberated.

Another benefit, that is also connected to the point’s above, is that having depression could give them something to say about themselves and something that they may feel makes them stand out and to be noticed.

In some cases, people can factor depression into their personality, and this can be, in a strange way, quite comforting. I once knew someone who used to use the phrase "I can be taken into account" Meaning that they were considered, listened to, they were noticed and noted. This feeling once again can be enjoyed by a person.

There may be many more hidden benefits to a person keeping their depression, again a hypnotherapist will help the individual to discover them and to seek resolution.

So, how can hypnotherapy help?

Firstly, a hypnotherapist will view each person as an individual and each treatment will be specific to each person’s particular depression based on their individual personality.

Secondly, the hypnotherapist will go slowly and gently to remove the aspects of the issue that is dragging the person down. Rather like pruning back the jungle a bit at a time until the path is a lot clearer.

How they will do this is to use (depending on the individual) a combination of regression to cause (where a person is taken back in their mind to a time and place where a problem started.) And or to set up a ‘parts’ session where the hypnotherapist enables the person to ‘talk’ to different parts of their subconscious mind that are in conflict over this problem to seek a resolution. (Remember what I said above regarding the ‘hidden benefits’ of this condition)

Alongside the above, the hypnotherapist will use powerful positive suggestions specifically designed to help the mind heal and come back to its natural non-depressed state using special hypnotic language that the subconscious mind in its hypnotic and suggestive state will respond to.

The individual may need a few sessions to attain full clearance, but with time and work. This is entirely possible. If you would like some more information on the above topic or would like to book some sessions with me. Please contact me.

Hypnotherapy Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, NG15 7LE
Written by Trevor Bamford, Specialist in anxiety and related issues
Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, NG15 7LE

Trevor Bamford is a practising clinical hypnotherapist in Nottinghamshire as well as a published academic.

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