Many view hypnosis as a controversial method of treating psychological issues (Yapko, 2013). However, there is a growing amount of evidence to support that hypnosis does aid in coping with depression (Yapko, 2002). With depression affecting around 10% of men and women, hypnosis may be very usefull in preventing and coping with this common mental illness (Burrows & Boughton, 2001).
Depression is a debilitating mental illness that could potentially not only affect the individual that has been diagnosed, but also the loved ones that are close them (Yapko, 2002). It is often characterized by a loss of interest in daily activities, change in appetite, and possibly suicidal or self-harming thoughts (Burrows & Boughton, 2001). There are many potential symptoms of depression and an individual may not exhibit every single characteristic (Yapoko, 2002). There are over twenty million people, in America alone, who suffer with depression (Yapko 2002). From this information it is can easily be classified as a frequently diagnosed illness that has greatly affects society as a whole (Yapko, 2002).
There are many different methods of treating depression. Treatment through the use of anti-depressants and psychotherapy are commonly used to combat depressive behavior (Yapko, 2002). Both of these forms of treatment have been proven to be successful, however, there are side effects to certain treatments of depression, in particular with the use of anti-depressant drugs. Drugs used to treat depression can cause dependency issues and further negatively influence an individual’s sleep and appetite (Yapko, 2002).
Although there seems to not be a perfect way to fix this psychological disorder, hypnosis may be a significantly less risky option (Burrows & Boughton, 2001). Hypnosis has been more commonly used to assist in pain management, especially with cancer patients, burn victims, and pain caused from surgery (Untas et al., 2013). Using hypnosis does not necessarily mean using the stereotypical definition and image of hypnosis, but rather using it as an additional tool that can be implemented into other forms of psychological treatment (Burrows & Boughton, 2001) There is not a large amount of research on the positive effects of hypnosis in regards to treating depression, but the exploration into using this tool as a method of treatment is growing (Yapko, 2013). Burrows and Boughton (2001) states that hypnosis is adaptable to many various psychological approaches to treatment and should be viewed as a device that is applicable to other therapeutic methods.
There are many different ways that hypnosis can be applied to treatment for individuals that have been diagnosed with depression (Yapko, 2013). Yapko (2013) addresses several various methods, such as solution-focused therapy, Ericksonian approaches, and formal clinical hypnosis in his research on the effects of hypnosis. Solution-focused therapy is primarily based around questions that are asked to the individual that has been diagnosed with depression (Yapko, 2013). These questions range from discussing coping mechanisms to the outcome they desire from treatment (Yapko, 2013). This can create a positive result by allowing the individual look forward toward their desired outcome of treatment (Yapko, 2013). Yapko (2013) also states that the Ericksonian approach is “an indirect hypnotic way method that focuses on its use of directives, such as allowing change to happen quickly and trying to promote equal input from the individual and professional” (p. 223). Clinical hypnosis is what an individual would typically think of when they hear the word, “hypnosis” (Yapko, 2013). Clinical hypnosis can be described as, “providing a bridge between the normal walking state and the experience of hypnosis, engaging the conscious mind while simultaneously dissociating it from conscious functions, and facilitating a consistent response” (Yapko, 2013, p. 224). For those that suffer from severe depression, there are hypnotic techniques that help individuals with the inability to focus (Burrows & Boughton, 2001). These techniques help them relax and restore the patient’s ability to focus on the sessions (Burrows & Boughton, 2001). All of these forms of hypnotic therapy can be implemented into aiding with the recovery of those with depression.
Hypnosis may not only be helpful with treating the psychological elements of depression, but the physical aspects as well (Untas et al., 2013). One of the most influential outcomes of using hypnosis to treat depression is the high response of individuals who state they experienced positive change, both physically and psychologically, while being treated with hypnosis (Beach, 2002). Depression can be used to promote positive physical change and aid in relieving physical symptoms of depression (Yapko, 2002). The study conducted by Untas et al. (2013) found a positive result in the individuals who used a form of hypnosis as a way to treat depression. In this study, it not only aided in depression, but hypnosis also helped improve fatigue, anxiety, and sleepiness (Untas et al., 2013).
Hypnosis may be a great tool to combat depression due to the amount of self-empowerment it gives to the individual (Yapko, 2002). By giving patients the confidence in themselves, hypnosis could potentially improve seemingly hopeless situations and aid in overcoming depression (Yapko, 2002). Being optimistic with psychological treatment while actively expecting and striving for a positive outcome is crucial in the effectiveness of hypnosis in regards to treating depression (Yapko, 2002).
Hypnosis has been viewed as controversial in regards to its helpfulness in a variety of fields (Yapko, 2013). However, there is a growing amount of substantial evidence proving that this tool can be potentially affective in treating individuals with depression (Yapko, 2002). There is not an extensive amount of research on the concrete positive effects that hypnosis may have on depression patients, but the use of hypnosis in this field is increasing considerably (Yapko, 2013). Hypnosis is more commonly used to aid with physical symptoms such as fatigue and poor sleeping habits, all of which are physical side effects of depression (Untas et al., 2013). If integrated properly, hypnosis could become very adaptable to other methods of therapy for individuals with depression (Burrows and Boughton, 2001). Hypnosis may, in fact, be a very useful and advantageous tool to aid in the treatment of depression.