Anxiety is the most common mental health problem in Australia. The prevalence of anxiety is on the rise with an estimated 25% of people suffering from the disorder. The causes of anxiety include: genetic predisposition, personality factors, environmental stress, physical health problems, substance abuse and more.
Traditional methods of treating anxiety include:
-Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). CBT is a hybrid of Cognitive Therapy, founded by Aaron Beck, which focuses on thought patterns and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, derived from the work of Albert Ellis which posits that people are not disturbed by things but rather by the way they perceive things. CBT is a structured psychological treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel, There has been much empirical support for CBT as the treatment of choice within the field of psychology.
- Traditional Psychotherapies. This includes the whole gamut of psychotherapy ranging from the early psychoanalysts who believed that our instincts and impulses caused all of our behaviour, to the behaviouralists who focused on stimulus response activities (think everything you've read about conditioning and Pavlov's dogs), to the existentialists who believe that existential anxiety is a theme of existence as we try to find logic in an absurd world and everything in between.
-Psychopharmacology. There are many different medications used in the treatment of anxiety disorders including traditional anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines (typically for short term treatment) to the more modern SSRI antidepressants (a more long term solution). If you have severe anxiety that’s interfering with your ability to function, medication may be helpful—especially as a short-term solution. However, there are some side effects and dependency on medication may hinder motivation and attempts to overcome the problem. Many people use anti-anxiety medication when therapy, exercise, or other self-help strategies would work just as well or better, minus the drawbacks.
Solution Focused Therapy is goal directed and complements the central tenets of CBT whilst doing away with analysing the problem and pathology. When coupled with the 'shortcut' that is hypnosis, positive change can be expected to take effect quickly.
It is estimated that 1 in 6 people will experience depression at some stage during their lives with over one million Australian adults suffering from it in any given year. Depression can be terribly debilitating and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Depression is categorised as a mood disorder by the mental health profession but it is so much more than that on so many levels. The effects of depression extend beyond the suffering of the individual. Each afflicted individual directly affects other, thus multiplying the number of people touched by the illness to millions.
Traditionally, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been the modality of choice for treating depression. In a nutshell, CBT takes a practical, task based approach to address our cognitions and beliefs which represent our potential strengths and weaknesses and examines how this affects our behaviour. There is a huge amount of literature to support the efficacy of CBT for depression.
The Psychpoarmacology industry has played a big part in the treatment of depression. There are a number of medications that may be prescribed by psychiatrists and doctors to alleviate symptoms on a more temporary basis and whilst this does have its place I believe it is preferable to work on a more autonomous level and gain long lasting resources and results.
The great news is that cognitive strategies and skills can be learned more easily with hypnosis as a vehicle for experiential learning, thus speeding up the the process of recovery. When Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) is added to the mix we can examine beliefs, which represent our potential strengths and weaknesses, and discrimination strategies.