Written by Rory Z Fulcher
Well, what a crazy couple of years it has been! The whole world has been turned upside down since Covid-19, many people having lost loved ones, lost their jobs, and suffered anxiety, grief and various other conditions which they may have never experienced before.
Hypnotherapy is a highly effective way to deal with so many of the issues that the pandemic has left many people with. It allows us to overcome fears, worries, anxieties, and even take us back to how we were before the outbreak.
Here are some examples of what hypnotherapy can help with:
- Fear of germs
- Coping with wearing a mask
- Worry of being in public
- Job loss
- Relationship breakdowns
- General social anxiety & health anxiety
- Compulsive cleaning
- Low mood/depression
Let’s look at some of these in more detail, and exactly what a hypnotherapist can do in order to help people overcome these issues.
Fear of germs
This is something that, unfortunately, people suffer with on a day-to-day basis. This was true even before we had heard of Covid-19, but has become much more prevalent after the events of 2020-onwards. This fear (mysophobia/germophobia) involves an over-response of anxiety relating to the potential for contamination or sickness. It can result in obsessive cleaning rituals, of both themselves and also the things around them, especially in the home. People with a fear of germs also become highly focused on what (or who) they are touching, and the need to clean their hands excessively.
There are various techniques that can be used to help alleviate a fear of germs, including phobia techniques, the control room of the mind technique, systematic hypnotic desensitisation and also a healthy dose of future pacing. Obviously we are unable to remove germs with hypnosis, but we are able to help clients to reduce their anxiety and any related ‘over-responses’.
Coping with wearing a mask
For many of us, mask-wearing was a completely new thing, and something that we never thought we would need to do in any situation, let alone whilst performing our day-to-day tasks. For many people the thought of wearing a mask for sometimes eight-hours or more in the work place, was a scary thing. In many cases, whether due to physical issues or psychological elements, mask-wearing causes some people to feel like they are unable to breathe properly (such as those with pre-existing conditions), or gave the feeling of being trapped (for those with claustrophobia, severe anxiety, and other issues).
Hypnosis has helped so many people to overcome these feelings, by using different coping techniques for example, behavioural techniques such as hypno-desensitisation, and other ego-supportive coping strategies that they’re able to apply in the hypnotherapy session and carry forward into their day-to-day lives.
Worry of being in public
Worry of being in public, also known as agoraphobia, can be absolutely crippling for those who suffer from it, let alone with the added pressure of the pandemic and other considerations. From simple tasks like doing the food shopping, to meeting friends in a pub or restaurant, this fear can completely isolate the sufferer, especially if it something they are not used to dealing with and has stemmed from the world’s recent events. However, there is help out there for those suffering in silence!
By using hypnotherapy the hypnotherapist can use various cognitive hypnotherapy approaches (including working with beliefs) and teaching the client self-hypnosis. Obviously, there are so many more techniques that can also be used to significantly help clients who are unable to face going out in public, whether they’re suffering mild through to severe symptoms.
During the last couple of years so many of us have lost loved ones and those close to us, both very unexpectedly in many cases, and also, for some, in a terribly isolated and unfair way. From having to let go of loved ones without any goodbyes or any contact whatsoever, to not being able to grieve and hold a funeral with everyone together to say their last farewell, these experiences are something that will stick with some people for the rest of their lives. As well as suffering with loss, the limitations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic have further caused feelings of anger, sadness, blame and depression.
Grief is something that hypnotherapy can help with, especially over a period of sessions. Though it is by no means a ‘quick fix’ when working with loss, by using techniques like ego strengthening and analytical, insight generation approaches like parts therapy.
Whether you are self employed or work for a company, there have been so many companies that have ‘gone under’ during the pandemic, or have had to make significant cut backs. Some people have had their working hours restricted, whilst others have completely lost their livelihoods and everything they have worked so hard for over many years. This, in many cases, has left people ‘in limbo’, or needing financial help, and for many this is a completely new situation that they’d never expected to be in, and they have had to learn how to deal with it. However, some have not been able to deal with it, and the stress of losing jobs and stability, coupled with other factors, has led to many people suffering, and in too many cases, even taking their own lives.
In the hypnotherapy session, as well as offering important talking therapy approaches (such as counselling and CBT/REBT), and helping point your client in the right direction, in hypnosis we are able to make use of future pacing and many metaphorical approaches, such as the ‘garden technique’ and the popular ‘Performance Palace Protocol‘ to help people deal with the loss of their jobs, and enabling them to progress and move on to pastures new, even if only temporarily while they await for the perfect opportunity to present itself.
Stuck at home, whether in a house, a flat, a caravan or a mansion with the same person or people 24/7, day-in day-out, for a prolonged period of time can be enough to send anyone over the edge. This is true even of the most loving and caring families. With nothing new to necessarily talk about, tensions running high, and restrictions that would not allow us to even meet our friends and relatives outdoors for months, people were unable to take time for themselves. For many relationships, this had a huge negative impact, and many relationships (both long and strong, but also new and fragile) were broken down during the lockdown restrictions. Therefore, unfortunately, Covid has cost many people their relationships, homes and even children.
In the therapy room, techniques such as assertiveness training in hypnosis, anger management, and dealing with unhelpful ‘cognitive distortions‘ can allow the client to look at the big picture and others point of views, whilst developing flexibility and tolerance in order to preserve their most important relationships – and their own mental health at the same time!
General social anxiety & health anxiety
For the past two years, it has been a very unpredictable and scary world outside of our homes and in the media, so it is no wonder that thousands of people now suffer from social anxiety, and also health anxiety, and would much rather just stay at home in the safe environment that we have all tried to create for ourselves.
Anxiety can come in many forms and can affect people in so many different ways so no two people will be the same in their experience of it. The good news is that are so many fantastic hypnotherapy techniques that can be used, not just for social anxiety but all the other areas of a person’s life where anxiety has pervaded.
As well as many of the techniques we have already spoken about, and primarily focusing on cognitive approaches, regression therapy may be used in order to connect a client to the fact that they haven’t always responded in this way, and to help a client draw from their own vast storehouse of past resources.
Most people love a clean and tidy home, and to have that ‘fresh bedsheets feeling’ after a nice soak in the bath or a shower. But since Covid, for some, cleaning has become almost an addiction, if not a compulsion. Be it ‘anti-bac wiping’ door handles after every touch, or cleaning items bought from a shop before they are put away through fear of catching Covid. Some people’s new cleaning rituals are even more significant and disruptive. As well as cleaning items, many people are compulsively cleaning their hands, using antibacterial gels and sprays every time we touch something or simply feel that we’ve gone too long since we last ‘sanitised’. This has lead to many people having very sore, cracked, damaged and dry hands, which in turn can lead to other problems.
Cleaning and sanitising is something that can very easily become a habit, and then a compulsion, that is quite simply exhausting. It becomes almost like a ritual for some, and is something that we are seeing a lot more of in the hypnotherapy profession. Helping people to overcome this compulsive behaviour and re-learn behaviours that are more appropriate (and still safe) can be done in a variety of ways, from working with beliefs to mindfulness approaches and thought stopping techniques, as well as many others!
Finally, we all all aware that the NHS and mental health services in the UK are stretched beyond their capabilities, resulting in many people not getting the help that they need. During these very uncertain times, and times of extremely heightened stress, many have developed low moods and even severe depression, and in many cases this is something that people have not experienced before, and can be extremely scary. Therefore, many different therapy practices are seeing more enquires for help with depression and low mood.
Using hypnotherapy is a great way to change behaviours and thoughts, to gain insight into the cause of the low mood, as well as helping people engage with ego strengthening approaches and future pacing and mental rehearsal. A broad therapy approach often leads to the best results for clients, and this is especially true of working with clients who’re suffering with depression due to Covid and their current circumstances.
Hypnotherapy can help
We hope you’ve benefitted from this blog, and if you are a hypnotherapist (or hypnotherapy student), make sure you plan every therapy session appropriately, tailoring it to each individual client and focusing on their needs and challenges at the time. Remember also, the benefits of setting your client homework as this is such a valuable tool.
As a therapy client, make sure to search out a hypnotherapist that is well-trained and able to give you the best possible level of help, using a range of hypnotherapy approaches. Check out our blog on ‘how hypnotherapy works‘, and look for the ‘HypnoTC Professional Practitioner’ logo when choosing a well-trained hypnotherapist.
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We hope you enjoyed this blog about hypnotherapy for post-Covid issues. If you have any questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Rory Z Fulcher