Depression affects 9.5% of the adult American population, around 18.8 million people. Not only does it cause sufferers untold distress. It also destroys families. Sometimes there are reasons for it, but more often than not, it creeps up on you and has you in its clutches without any known trigger whatever.
Catching it in the early stages is ideal, naturally, because a cure is that much faster and more sure, but the problem is that most people just think they're going through a 'down' period and leave it at that. Before they know what's hit them, they have full blown clinical depression. So what to do about it?
Medications, of course. That's the first and most obvious course, but you're stuffing chemicals into your body which, certainly in the long term, won't necessarily do you a great deal of good. If you stop taking them, back comes the depression.
Is there an alternative? Can Hypnosis cure the condition? Yes and relatively quickly.
However, there are caveats. Simply being hypnotized by someone who calls themselves a hypnotist is not only pointless, it could be dangerous. It's most important that anyone with a mental disorder of any kind be treated by a professional with a thorough understanding of that condition.
There are people who suffer mental illness who should never be hypnotized at all. Psychotics, for one. So first of all, make certain you visit a hypnotherapist who is thoroughly conversant with depression. Please remember that hypnotism isn't a catch-all.
The first and most important fact is to like and trust your therapist and this cuts both ways. It almost goes without saying that you must agree with, and wish to undergo, hypnotism. Assuming that all's well in these areas, the basic aim is to focus the mind so that distractions are eliminated and that it's open to suggestions that promote the reasons for the treatment.
It's an interesting point that, when you're depressed, you're in a form of negative self-hypnosis. You're making negative suggestions to yourself all the time, probably without even realizing it, but all the time, these adverse attitudes are being impressed on your subconscious.
Assuming you are clinically depressed, in other words suffering major depression, your mind is unable to move beyond the bars of the mental prison into which you feel locked. Your mind is trapped and cocooned, made devoid of choices. However, a good hypnotherapist, through various hypnotic techniques, will slowly and gently open the door of that prison in order to re-programme your subconscious.
All this, remember, with your full permission and co-operation. Bear in mind that you're by no means asleep nor detached in any way from your surroundings. Indeed, you're in a highly alert state with heightened concentration.
The therapist will then explain four steps that he or she proposes to take and make quite certain you're in agreement with these.
Firstly, change the negative self-suggestions that you've been unconsciously making to yourself throughout your depression.
Secondly, you may well have been feeling guilty and blaming yourself. These must be at least reduced, preferably negated.
Thirdly, help you to begin making positive changes to your thinking.
Fourthly, shift your perspectives about your negative experiences.
In a later article, we'll delve further into this process
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Hypnosis for Depression in Philadelphia