The Advantages of Hypnosis With Sexual Anxiety

By: Dr Janet Hall


As a hypnotherapist and psychologist specializing in sexual issues, I suggest that "good sex is simply an erotic trance". Think of the similarities between hypnosis and satisfying sex. Effective hypnosis involves high focus and concentration on the intention and so does effective sex. In hypnosis, there is a strong response to suggestions; in sex, there is a strong response to stimulation.

Sex can and should be wonderful because it is the physical expression of intimacy, which is love and respect being shared with pleasure for mutual good and harmony. As a hypnotherapist and psychologist specializing in sexual issues, I suggest that "good sex is simply an erotic trance". Think of the similarities between hypnosis and satisfying sex. Effective hypnosis involves high focus and concentration on the intention and so does effective sex. In hypnosis, there is a strong response to suggestions; in sex, there is a strong response to stimulation.

When problems develop in sexual performance or enjoyment, it has been my experience that there is some underlying cause which can be detected during hypnotic regression.

Too often we have been conditioned to view our sexual bodies as less than perfect. Because of this we have to use corrective imagery and sensory awakening to restore proper feeling and functions. Hypnosis trains you to change your inner view and explore your real feelings. Negative memories, no matter how distant in the past, have a tendency to be the cause of reduced pleasurable sensations because of the extreme vulnerability of sexual issues.

In hypnotherapy you learn how to convert negative repressive images into positive, releasing ones.

A lot of our negative thoughts and feelings about our sexuality are repressed and stored deeply in our unconscious minds. This repressed material can "sneak up on us" when we least expect it. An example of this is Tricia, who came to see me because she had been experiencing severe panic attacks, for no evident reason. In hypnosis, she accessed repressed memories of severe sexual abuse in her childhood.

Important Note:

There have been some examples of claimed accessed repressed memories which have been used to implicate totally innocent people in accusations of abuse.

Hypnosis should be used wisely in counselling for this situation -access to a "memory" in trance is not proof that the event actually happened.

Hypnosis typically includes facilitation of deep relaxation, both mental and physical. Sometimes this involves direct methods such as "counting", "eye fixation" and "hand levitation". Some people respond more easily to indirect methods where the therapist may be 'seeming to just talk" but is actually weaving powerful, positive suggestions into the talk.

It is important to note that hypnotherapy is not only about giving people with emotional problems suggestions to change. I believe that one first needs to understand the problem and its origins. That is where hypnosis is a useful vehicle to "uncovering". I use regression to understand the origins of the problem. Sometimes people have repressed their trauma so that they have no conscious recall of the events. One often sees this with sexual and physical abuse. If one uses hypnosis cautiously and with the necessary expertise one can uncover trauma. This then gives the person insight into his/her emotional problems but at this stage the symptoms will not be alleviated. The person must still work through and integrate what has transpired. It is also very traumatic for people when they uncover trauma and that is why it's imperative to ensure that the therapist is adequately qualified.

The working through involves uncovering all of the emotions involved and releasing them, understanding and accepting them, and integrating them. This can take a number of sessions. It is at this stage that the person starts to feel a lot better and more in control of his/her life. It is also during this process that positive suggestions and affirmations can be made.

The suspension of critical thinking in the hypnotic state may make the patient more susceptible to accepting the persuasive communications of therapy. Dissociation via hypnosis can provide an adaptive and useful method of reducing reactivity to the anxiety-producing situation. Additionally, alterations in cognitive processes may help patients to accept alternative interpretations of events, their significance, the patient's coping abilities and skills and the expected outcome.

Certain patients in hypnotically assisted therapies may more readily respond to imagery and fantasy as reality, since the hypnotic process provides a powerful way of enhancing imagery. Hypnosis offers an adjunct to desensitization that is potentially extremely powerful, since the attribution of realism to imagined events is a characteristic of the hypnotic state.

The effectiveness of coping rehearsal may similarly be aided by the reality attributions effected through hypnosis.

Arousal reduction and relaxation may be enhanced using hypnotic procedures and there may be increased sense of control of bodily processes associated with anxiety.

There was a very interesting case of a young woman who presented with OCD. She also had an eating disorder. With hypnotic intervention we learned that her uncle had sexually abused her when she was small. With successful uncovering and with the working through and integration of all the associated (previously repressed) emotions, the OCD symptoms subsided. The eating disorder also seemed to abate. Because her uncle effectively raped her she always felt "full" and she recalled under hypnosis that she'd always go and stand on the scales! Obviously the other issues, namely wanting to be unattractive and asexual were also there and we had to address those too.

We hadn't ever directly addressed any of the OCD symptoms, but in a discussion we attributed the OCD to a feeling of control that she otherwise did not have. She felt that this had been one area of her life where she was in control.

People Need to Know "What is NOT Hypnosis?"

Be reassured that you would definitely NOT be made to bark like a dog and that your conscious mind is still available during hypnosis, so that no matter how deep the trance, if you really did not want to follow the suggestions, you would not!

The person in trance is not in the hypnotherapist's power.

You are not being weak or easily led. You are tapping into an inherent personal power for rapid positive change.

Trust is the Essential Element of Success in Hypnosis.

Can You Learn to Hypnotize Yourself to Success?

Please know that hypnosis is not a miracle cure, where you take no personal responsibility for change. People who are motivated to tap into their inner strength to achieve success can greatly benefit from self-hypnosis. You can learn this yourself, but it's often more economical to taught and facilitated by an expert at first. Anyone who is motivated to change is a likely candidate for hypnosis.

How do I find a good hypnotherapist who is trained as a sex therapist?

1. Check out their level of expertise and qualifications. Since the practice of hypnotherapy is not regulated, it is recommended that you ask your prospective hypnotherapist about their qualifications, organizational membership and experience.

2. Only proceed if you have a good rapport and sense of trust with the therapist. After all, they may be about to help you identify deep personal issues.

Dr Janet Hall

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