Anxiety, Stress & Panic

HOW HYPNOSIS CAN AID IN THE TREATMENT OF ANXIETY

While hypnosis alone cannot adequately treat anxiety disorders, the addition of hypnosis to the therapeutic treatment of anxiety can have a profound impact on helping a person mitigate and cope with their anxiety. As Clinical Psychologists, we find that by giving our clients the additional tool of hypnosis, they are often able to it to calm themselves in times of anxiety and panic. We combine hypnotic techniques with traditional therapy modalities to address the troubling symptoms associated with anxiety and panic.

In a relaxed and reflective hypnotic state, our clients are able to decrease the intensity of their anxious feelings, while gaining insight into the root causes of their behavior. By tapping into their inner resources and creative problem-solving skills, clients can challenge the irrational beliefs and catastrophic thinking patterns so often associated with anxiety. And through the use of guided imagery and indirect suggestion, clients learn to accept and cope with their fears.

Why we treat anxiety & HOW WE TREAT anxiety

Anxiety can be paralyzing. It can keep us from making friends, engaging in social activities, or moving forward in our careers. Worse, it is extremely uncomfortable and interferes with our health and our everyday lives.

Anxiety can manifest both somatically and cognitively, and a person’s reactions to anxiety often exacerbate their symptoms. Somatically, anxiety can show up as a racing heart, shallow breath, or other uncomfortable bodily reactions. Cognitively, anxiety can take the form of intrusive thoughts that something terrible might happen or as worries about what others might think.

Your reactions to anxiety might lead you to overindulge in food or develop a drinking problem. Anxiety can also interfere with your work or relationships, which often results in lowered self-esteem. To address the complexities of anxiety, our therapists employ mindfulness, psychoanalysis, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to delve into the underlying causes of anxiety, while applying hypnosis to the specific difficulties that arise as a result of anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety and Social Phobia

Some types of anxiety, such as GAD, social anxiety and social phobia, seem to impact every aspect of our lives. It can feel like non stop racing thoughts and constant worry, even when we know logically that the worry is exaggerated or feels more intense than what we believe is proportionate to the concern. Intense anxiety can have a physical impact on us, such as muscle tension, sleep difficulties, headaches, and fatigue; it can also have debilitating cognitive effects, such as fear of being humiliated or judged, worry about interacting with others, or expecting the worst possible outcomes in social situations.

While all of our therapists specialize in GAD and Social Anxiety and Social Phobia, each clinician blends hypnosis with their unique perspectives and backgrounds:

Dr. Sara Glazer integrates hypnosis with her background in attachment theory, relational psychoanalysis, and mindfulness to help her clients address issues with anxiety as well as grief, self-esteem, and relational trauma. In combination with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), self-compassion practices, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), her approach uses hypnosis as a powerful tool for change, and she assists her clients in exploring how their struggles relate to their self-perception and relationships with others.

Dr. Rebecca Hoffenberg relies on her expertise in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), CBT, and mindfulness to work with her clients on identifying and addressing problematic behaviors associated with anxiety. She is an expert in anxiety that is related to trauma, and her approach allows clients to understand their motivations so they can move forward in their lives with increased confidence and resilience.

Dr. Kimberly Fishbach uses an approach that is direct and straightforward, giving people practical tools to deal with anxiety on a conscious level, while using hypnosis to instill calm on an unconscious level. With extensive training in CBT, DBT, mindfulness, and hypnosis, she uses integrative psychotherapy methods and hypnotic techniques to help her clients address roadblocks, learn new ways of coping, and develop solutions and skills to improve their quality of life.

Dr. Karolina Pekala combines her expertise in CBT and DBT with hypnosis to help her clients recognize and embrace their inner strengths. Her holistic approach incorporates hypnosis to help her clients achieve their goals. She is experienced working with  adolescents, teens, and adults and has a keen focus on how unconscious processes influence feelings and complex behaviors.

Dr. Meghan Downey combines her expertise in traditional therapy methods with hypnosis, mindfulness, and positive psychology to improve the quality of her clients’ lives. With a focus on integrating hypnosis with ACT, DBT, CBT,  Jungian, East-West, and existential psychology, Dr. Downey guides her clients through self-inquiry and helps them gain insight into their unconscious patterns so they can create meaningful change.

Public Speaking & Performance Anxiety

Dr. Kimberly Fishbach and Dr. Karolina Pekala are our experts in using hypnosis and therapy to help actors, athletes, performers, and those in public speaking roles decrease their anxiety and increase their confidence when engaging in public speaking or performing. They use hypnosis and mindfulness in conjunction with CBT and DBT to empower their clients to reclaim control over their lives. Their integrative approach allows their clients to develop new coping skills, boost confidence, and gain deeper self-awareness while they address the emotional and psychological issues interfering with their personal, relational, and professional goals. With attention to humor, creativity, and empathy, they offer a warm and comfortable environment for their clients to let down their guard and focus on their growth.

Hypnosis can be extremely beneficial as a complement to therapy in addressing different aspects of public speaking and performance anxiety. Hypnosis focuses on physical reactions through relaxation and visualization techniques. This can counteract obsessive thinking by guiding the client to focus on positive thoughts, while quieting negative self-talk. Hypnosis also helps clients tackle the difficulties that often develop in response to anxiety, such as adverse lifestyle habits or problems that interfere with daily living.

Dr. Fishbach and Dr. Pekala specializes in working with clients who are struggling with issues related to anxiety, motivation, and professional achievement. With extensive training in CBT, DBT, mindfulness, and hypnosis, they use integrative psychotherapy methods and hypnotic techniques to help clients address roadblocks, learn new ways of coping, and develop solutions and skills to improve not only their performance, but also the quality of lives.

Executive Stress & Career Anxiety

Anxiety is often thought of as an amount of emotional discomfort that is disproportionate to the amount of stress one encounters. However, many of us in demanding jobs endure an extraordinary amount of stress that comes from the pressure of our jobs, and while that stress may indeed be proportionate, it can wreak havoc on our lives, impact our relationships, and leave us in a state of continual hyper-vigilance. These work demands are further exacerbated by financial stress, worry about the changing economy, and pressure to provide for our families.

Dr. Karolina Pekala and Dr. Kimberly Fishbach are our experts in helping clients address the stress that accompanies demanding careers, so they can truly enjoy the benefits of having a successful career while also living their best lives. They help clients navigate the challenges of a high pressure career in a comfortable and supportive environment, while working with them to create a life that feels fulfilling, prosperous, and balanced.

They use traditional CBT and psychodynamic approaches to help their clients make systematic and practical decisions for their lives. Additionally, they incorporate hypnosis and mindfulness to alleviate stress and to allow their clients to envision a more gratifying future of greater joy, wellbeing, and peace - both in the workplace and at home.

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Although not life-threatening, a panic attack can be disorienting and frightening. When you experience a sudden surge of intense fear — accompanied by a pounding heart, shortness of breath, body chills, sweating, and/or trembling — you might even feel like you’re having a heart attack. Though they typically last only a few minutes, panic attacks can have significant impacts on quality of life. You might feel anxious about going to the movies, driving a car, or attending a meeting out of fear that another panic attack may strike. Panic disorder can lead to problems at school or work, avoiding social situations, the development of phobias, and substance abuse.

Dr. Meghan Downey is our expert in helping clients with concerns around panic attacks and panic disorder. She takes a holistic and integrated approach to facilitate awareness, growth, and positive change. By combining hypnosis along with relational psychodynamic therapy, mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Eastern philosophy, and positive psychology, Dr. Downey helps alleviate her clients’ suffering and improve the quality of their lives.

Dr. Downey focuses on the client’s psyche, attachment, personality, and cultural background to create a collaborative and validating environment to nurture individual health and healing. By integrating hypnosis and self-hypnosis into her treatment, she is able to empower people to overcome their panic attacks so that they can resume living free of worry and learn to enjoy life again.

RESEARCH ON HYPNOTHERAPY FOR ANXIETY

Research has shown that hypnosis is particularly beneficial in treating people with anxiety, as well as addressing the issues that arise in response to anxiety. Generally, people can become fearful of both the stimuli, as well as their somatic reaction to it. Our approach to anxiety focuses on altering the way a client views the fear, while calming their reaction to that fear.

For more information about research related to hypnosis and integrative therapy for treating anxiety and related struggles, please visit the scholarly articles below:

Hypnosis & Anxiety (Sunnen, 2016)
Hypnosis Today (Smith, 2011)
Self-hypnosis for anxiety associated with severe asthma (Anbar, 2003)

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