There have been major developments in the application of hypnosis to the treatment of anxiety. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment as the conditions represent a complex set of heterogeneous symptoms. It is thus important for therapists to promote a multi- modal approach to treating anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behaviour Hypnotherapy combines hypnosis with CBT and it provides the best integrative lodestone for assimilating empirically supported treatment techniques derived from various psychotherapies.
This post is based on an article presented by Alladin on Integrative CBT for Anxiety Disorders: An Evidence-Based Approach to Enhancing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy.
I would like to focus this post on one of the concepts presented there and add my understanding on this topic: the lack of acceptance of the initial trauma in patients with anxiety disorder.
These are some of the definitions of acceptance included in that article.
· Acceptance can be defined as receiving experience without judgement or preference but with curiosity and kindness (Germer, 2005).
· Acceptance is not merely tolerance; it is the active non-judgemental embracing of an experience in the here and now, involving undefended exposure to thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations as they occur (Hayes, 2004).
Acceptance is simply acknowledging that things are as they are. It is what it is. It’s a willingness to experience the thoughts and emotions you are having in that moment of time. It’s letting go of trying to control the things that are beyond your control.
In CBHT we learn about the importance of self-acceptance as the basis of healthy emotions and beliefs. It is not only important to accept ourselves as we are, but also accept the circumstances, our past and the world around us as it is to increase our happiness and wellbeing. Of course, we might want to change our circumstances or do things differently in the future; the true power of acceptance is accept things as they are in the present moment. From the moment that we accept how our life is at the present, we can assess if we are fully satisfied or if there is anything we would like to change; full acceptance of the reality gives us the power and motivation to move to a different emotional state if we do desire so. If we are not happy with our reality it is futile to complain, resist or damn the current situation or circumstances; thoughts like ‘it shouldn’t be like this’ or ‘it’s unfair’ only bring more tension in the body and more stress and anxiety in the mind; as per Carl Jung’s quote: “what we resist, persist”; the true power lies in the acceptance of the current reality, understanding if it’s within our control to change it or not.
Of course, it’s always helpful to find the reason for any unwanted situation; acknowledging and accepting it, despite how painful it might appear to deal with that; even if you cannot find the cause, it’s important to accept it. Sometimes when people experience traumatic events, they prefer to forget about it, ignoring any emotions or feelings that remind them of that event; however the subconscious never forgets and if something has not been dealt with, in one way or another, it will come back to the surface of our conscious mind; so the key here is acceptance; this is the basis of emotional and mental wellbeing and empowerment.
“What we resist, persists”. – Carl Jung
“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein