H Hypnotherapy is a series of sessions with a highly qualified professional who puts the recovering addict into a trance-like state of mind. This trance is necessary as it calms the person and puts them into a state where they are more open to ideas and positive suggestions. The positive suggestions the professional makes are about sobriety, concurring their addictive behavior, and strategies for curbing intense cravings.
Hypnotherapy must be paired with other treatment modalities as this series of positive reinforcement only works if the addict is dedicated and motivated to kick their addiction and stay clean. Sessions of hypnotherapy can begin when the addict has overcome the detox process and has learned healthy coping mechanisms for their cravings.
This type of treatment does not change a recovering addicts mind about getting clean nor does it give the person a new outlook on life or sobriety. This treatment tends to use positive suggests to focus the mind on the drive to get sober by using the recovering addicts passion and ambition for getting back their life.
W When a recovering addict is in an environment where they are watching people drink or do drugs a sense of anxiety overcomes them. They can relapse to get rid of that anxiety or rely on a coping mechanism that was adopted in rehab to handle that anxiety. Hypnotherapy sessions helps the recovering addict feel less anxious when those temptations occur, so the right decision can be made at that time.
The hypnotic trance also induces a sense of deep relaxation that can change in metabolism, breathing patterns, and even brain patterns. During this trance, the person being hypnotized can explore the mechanics of their addiction to determine what will be a trigger and how they will feel when tempted. Knowing what triggers a craving before they are put into that situation can help therapists develop strategies to overcome them. For example, if the sound of a beer can being opened is a trigger for a recovering alcoholic, they know that every time that occurs they need to leave the room or recite the 1st step for strength.
Vickers, A., Zollman, C., & Payne, D. K. (2001). Hypnosis and relaxation therapies. Western Journal of Medicine, 175(4), 269–272.
Neukrug, E. (2011). Counseling theory and practice. Australia: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.