Understanding Addiction & how Hypnotherapy can help
We all have behaviours that are driven unconsciously. An addiction or compulsion is often born from an inability to cope with a particular aspect of life coupled with an absence of skills or strategies to overcome or move through it.
It's true - Some people are more pre-disposed to addiction than others. A combination of biological and environmental factors can influence the development of an addiction or compulsion. Genetics as well as modelling received during formative years can significantly influence the development of addiction. It is estimated around 60% of individuals affected by alcoholism have a family history of alcoholism.
Pre-exisiting, underlying conditions such as anxiety and depression can also lead to a higher tendency towards addiction. If an underlying condition causes imbalance and a sense of overwhelm or strong feelings of anger, sadness or confusion, the individual may seek self - medication in the form of alcohol or drug taking.
Trauma plays a distinctly prominent role in the development of addiction. Addiction experts including Dr Gabor Mate state cites ' emotional loss and trauma as the core of addiction'. It is commonly thought that although not everyone impacted by childhood trauma will necessarily become an addict, most addicts have experienced some form of trauma. Traumatic events such as abuse, neglect, deprivation, the loss of a loved one etc can significantly factor into addiction. Our formative years - up to around the age of 10, is a time when we form beliefs of who we are in the world as well as our core beliefs, urges, habits and behaviours. The bench mark of our sense of safety in the world is also set up during this time. It's important to point out that trauma doesn't have to mean severe abuse or deprivation. Childhood is a vulnerable time; careless, insensitive words from a parent, teacher or other figure of authority, bullying from other children and other perceived hurts can be enough to have a long lasting or permanent traumatic impact on an individual.
Under every addiction is a belief and a perceived need that the addiction fulfils. A belief maybe - ' The pain is too much and I need a break', 'If I do this, I'll feel better', 'I need not to feel right now'. The need that an addiction provides is either a coping strategy, a means to escape reality, a way of easing physical or emotional pain, a need for an adrenaline surge or a need for attention. The fundamental human desire to feel protected is a major driver of all behaviour.
The first step in breaking an addiction is recognition. You become aware that the need that your addiction has been created from has a harmful impact on aspects of your life. Your physical health may be suffering, relationships compromised or harmed, you've noticed changes in your mental or emotional health, you're bank balance is dwindling or your performance at work, school or uni has declined. inner conflict becomes prominent as you battle the perceived benefit or need of the addiction and the accompanying fallout or downside of the addiction.
HYPNOTHERAPY FOR ADDICTION
Hypnotherapy and in particular, Hypnoenergetics can be highly effective in treating addiction. Being 100% dedicated to change and fully recognising the higher gains of ceasing an addiction is key to the success of any therapy. Seeking Hypnotherapy because a loved one wants you to stop isn't enough - You have to want to stop for your own future wellbeing. Being completely committed and open to the process of change is essential to successful recovery.
Hypnoenergetics is an energy based Hypnotherapy that works on the understanding that we are all energetic beings, that energy flows through us and connects us to others and the world around us and that everything we have ever experienced in life is held energetically in our bodies. Behaviours and habits are formed through a process of experience with subsequent beliefs formed as a result of our experiences. When the belief formed is limiting, a 'harmful' behaviour such as a habit or addiction can be formed in an effort to 'protect' the individual. Hypnoenergetics works to access the 'core belief' that is keeping you 'within' an addiction. It works to reveal the reason behind it and with the support and perspective of your adult self, facilitates a shift in energy and behaviour in a highly effective and empowering way.
At the start of a Hypnotherapy session and before Hypnosis has begun, I'll capture your own personal history in relation to your specific addiction - is there a history of the behaviour in the family culture? Who is the family has the same addiction? When and why did the behaviour start? Tirggers and associations are also important - such as anxiety, stress, boredom, socialising, bad day at the office, unhappy relationships.
All behaviours seem to have a primary and secondary gain even if the gain is accompanied by harm. These following four questions provide invaluable insight into primary and secondary gains and form a solid platform from which to break the cycle of addiction.
The four questions I'll ask you to determine a secondary gain are:
1. What do you gain from your addiction?
2. What do you lose from your addiction?
3. What will you gain from losing your addiction?
4. What will you lose by losing your addiction?
Try it for yourself now - just simply addressing and answering these 4 questions will effectively reveal a telling portrait of your addiction and its associated conflict and profoundly help springboard you towards effective recovery.
There are many techniques at the Hypnotherapists disposal to assist people overcome addiction. I often use Energetic Parts Therapy in my sessions as it's a very powerful tool which effectively helps track to the core and the source of the beliefs and feelings that sparked or initiated the addiction in the first place. Gordon Emmerson's Ego State work and Roy Hunter's Parts Therapy forms the foundation of this approach. During hypnosis I address the inner conflict of my client by connecting to the part of the individual that likes to partake in the addictive/habitual behaviour as well as that part of the client that wants to be 'healthy and balanced' for example. This type of therapy is particularly helpful in assisting to cease inner conflict and dismantle long held beliefs - often set up during childhood that don't actually serve a client's best interests,
We all have many parts within us, operating on a subconscious level that represent us in any given situation . Each of these parts comes with it's own belief, feeling and a set of personal traits. Each of these parts is like a separate individual. During trance, I facilitate connection to 2 or more parts of the client and converse with each of these parts as if they were separate beings. It is not unusual for these 'parts' to have completely different mannerisms, personality even the accent can be distinctly different. I had a client recently of Italian heritage, seeking therapy for smoking addiction. When she connected with that part of her that likes to smoke, her accent and demeanour changed dramatically and she both looked and sounded like a character from The Sopranos!
Typically these parts come into being as a response to childhood events. They are created by the individual to deal with specific triggers. Their intention is always to serve or protect and therefore, they are usually keen to change their function or behaviour when they become aware that it doesn't actually serve.
Once the intention of a part's behaviour is actually identified, I help to support, mediate, educate and negotiate with that part and other parts as necessary with the intention always being to access the core of the issue in order to transform.
With Hypnoenergetics, the intention is to access the source of the addiction, that is, that moment in time whereby a belief was formed in response to an event or circumstance. Hypnoenergetics aims to facilitate regression back to the first time a limiting belief was set up which led to the addiction being formed. You would most likely regress back to a moment in childhood where most of our 'programming' takes place. Utilising the resources of your older, wiser adult self, you are able gain insight into the reason behind the addiction and subsequently change your overall perspective of the event which in turn triggers an empowering energetic and behavioural shift.
My addiction sessions typically involve a blend of Energetic Parts Therapy, Childhood Regression as well as Suggestion Therapy to assist with the habitual aspect of addiction. Whilst Hypnoenergetics allows for profound insight and powerful energetic shifts to transpire, Suggestion Therapy addresses the habitual aspect of an addiction and aims to replace unwanted, limiting and harmful behaviour with desirable, healthy and supportive behaviour. Introducing alternate behaviour is important in the coming days and weeks after Hypnotherapy as you may still become triggered whllst trying to form new patterns and behaviours. Positive replacement behaviour could be as simple as deep breathing, going for a walk or drinking a glass of water.
Depending on the addiction, sometimes a change in lifestyle or living circumstances may be required such as moving away from dysfunctional relationships and living environments. It is important that a plan is put in place to offer support, resources and guidance if necessary. Essentialist Hypnotherapy also offers specific Self-Care coaching to assist clients develop healthy practices to support their new way of being. Techniques such as meditation, visualisations, nutrition and exercise support and more are provided.
For more information, or to reserve a 15 minute complimentary consultation to learn more about Hypnotherapy for addiction, please contact Kirsty direct.