We all know what it feels like to be depressed or stricken with grief. We are plagued by negative self-talk and self-doubt. We feel sad and a sense of loss. We worry about how others view us, and that we won’t be able to live up to others' expectations of us. Other times we just feel numb. For some of us, these feelings are ongoing and debilitating. We have deep-seated feelings of failure and believe that life will never get better. We may have been feeling this way for months, years, or nearly our entire lives.
When people are depressed or experience a deep sense of loss, they find it especially difficult to visualize a happy life and to conjure the motivation to make changes that would lead to a better life — and this lack of change contributes to feeling hopeless.
While hypnosis alone is not sufficient for adequately treating depression, there are several aspects of hypnosis that are particularly powerful for treating depression, grief, and loss when used in conjunction with therapy. In many ways, depression can be thought of as a ‘creative adjustment’ that develops in response to painful life events that make it difficult for a person to move forward. In order to cope with this adjustment, they find themselves withdrawing emotionally, socially, and professionally. Hypnosis, on the other hand, can counteract this withdrawal by helping a person envision a happier future through visualizing proactive steps they can take to reach their goals. Hypnosis can also help them summon internal strengths and motivation.
When we feel depressed or stuck, we can feel blocked from our desire to be happy again and/or may feel fearful of putting ourselves out there again. Hypnosis allows a safe space for individuals to access their internal feelings of happiness that have been repressed, while also providing a way to help people visualize a happier life. Using hypnosis and integrative therapy, clients can change their internal dialogue from “I can’t” to “I want to,” which empowers a person to change from feeling hopeless to hopeful. In turn, this helps individuals to stop feeling helpless and begin to be active agents in their lives again. This then leads to the alleviation of the sadness that has held them back so that they can create a more meaningful and purposeful life.
When depression is rooted in trauma or complex trauma, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) stands out as a highly recommended treatment, due to its specific effectiveness in addressing the traumatic underpinnings of depressive symptoms. Trauma can disrupt the brain's natural information processing system, leading to the development of maladaptive coping mechanisms and depressive symptoms. EMDR directly targets the memory networks where trauma is stored, using bilateral stimulation to evoke a state similar to REM sleep, during which the brain naturally processes and integrates emotional experiences. This process helps to desensitize individuals to the emotional pain associated with traumatic memories, thus reducing the ongoing impact of these memories, which often manifests as depression.
EMDR also promotes the cognitive restructuring of traumatic memories, which is crucial in altering the negative self-beliefs that frequently contribute to depression. As the therapy progresses, individuals are guided to associate these distressing memories with more adaptive and positive thoughts, leading to an improved sense of self-worth and a decrease in depressive symptoms. This dual action of desensitization and cognitive reprocessing makes EMDR a potent therapeutic approach, particularly for those whose depression is significantly influenced by their traumatic experiences. By engaging with and transforming the fundamental trauma-related issues, EMDR not only diminishes the symptoms of depression but also fosters resilience and aids in the prevention of future depressive episodes.
Both hypnosis and EMDR offer valuable avenues for treating depression, each with distinctive therapeutic techniques tailored to different aspects of the condition. Hypnosis can be particularly beneficial for individuals responsive to suggestion, providing a pathway to reprogram subconscious thoughts that perpetuate depressive patterns. It suits those looking for a method that encourages profound internal change through relaxation and focused attention. On the flip side, EMDR is exceptionally effective for those whose depression is interwoven with trauma, using bilateral stimulation to process and diminish the distress from traumatic memories that often exacerbate depressive symptoms.
Sara Glazer, Psy.D., addresses issues of grief, loss, and self-esteem in adults using a therapeutic approach that combines hypnosis with attachment and mindfulness-based strategies. This integrative method is designed to foster deep emotional healing and improve self-worth.
Rebecca Hoffenberg, Psy.D., specializes in treating depression linked to trauma in adults. She employs EMDR, supported by trauma-informed care and mindfulness techniques, to address the underlying trauma that contributes to depressive symptoms.
Laura Faiwiszewski, Psy.D., focuses on helping adults with depression and self-esteem challenges. Her treatment approach includes hypnosis, EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and acceptance-based methods, offering a multifaceted pathway to emotional well-being.
Irada Yunusova, Psy.D., offers expertise in treating depression related to trauma in adults. Utilizing EMDR, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and CBT, she provides a comprehensive treatment plan aimed at resolving trauma and alleviating depression.
Demi Maglio, Psy.D., caters to adults and teens aged 16 and above, tackling issues of depression, grief, and loss. Her therapeutic process incorporates hypnosis, CBT, and mindfulness, creating a supportive environment for healing and growth.
Micah Zylstra, MA, assists adults dealing with depression, grief, and self-esteem. He integrates hypnosis with attachment-based and psychodynamic approaches, aiming to uncover and heal underlying emotional issues and foster a healthier self-image.
Choosing between these approaches—or indeed deciding on the right provider—can be daunting. Personal experiences, treatment preferences, and the specific causes of depression play significant roles in this decision. To assist with making an informed choice, we always recommend taking advantage of a free phone consultation. This initial conversation allows you to explore your options, ask questions, and gauge which therapist or technique resonates with you, ensuring that you embark on a therapeutic journey that is well-suited to your individual needs and leads to the most effective outcomes.
Research demonstrates a variety of benefits from using hypnosis in conjunction with therapy for treating depression, such as encouraging a sense of empowerment and reducing depressive symptoms (Yapko, 2002). Further, a combined approach of therapy and hypnosis has been shown to alleviate depression to a greater degree than therapy alone, and this effect is maintained even after therapy has ended (Alladin & Alibhai, 2007).
Discover our specialized therapeutic approach aimed at tackling these challenges. Engage in a transformative journey that offers crucial insights and strategies, enabling you to break free from these cycles and regain mastery over your thoughts and emotions.