OCD Hypnotherapy-Can it help?

OCD hypnotherapyDoes OCD hypnotherapy work? There has been plenty of research around the causes of OCD over the years, however thanks to brain scans we now know for sure that people that have OCD do have abnormalities within the orbital cortex ,the basal ganglia and the thalamus areas of the brain. However, research is still divided upon what actually causes this abnormal neurological response in the brain. Although some research does point to OCD as being a genetic disorder, there is also research that suggests  that OCD could be caused by depression, infection, stressful and or traumatic life events during childhood, or behavioural associations. There is also strong evidence to suggest that an imbalance in serotonin, dopamine or glutamine (neurotransmitters) may contribute to these  abnormal responses. It is now thought that OCD could be caused by any one of the above factors or indeed a combination of these factors .

What  Researchers are telling us however, is that  when an OCD sufferer experiences any form of anxiety, an abnormal neurological response can occur which cannot be controlled by the sufferer just by trying to rationalise his/her thoughts. This is very much the same as someone that suffers from a phobia, no matter how much they KNOW that their  behaviour is irrational, no matter how much you tell them that their behaviour is irrational, the OCD response is not something that can be rationalised or stopped without the correct intervention.

So what does this mean for OCD sufferers?

It means cognitive behavioural Hypnotherapy in combination with exposure response therapy can help manage OCD.*

OCD Hypnotherapy with DO Hypnosis Kent

By taking a well rounded approach to the disorder, and by considering all factors mentioned above, we can establish the possible trigger and cause and start to address this directly. It means that OCD can be managed, and symptoms can be reduced.* It means that it is not necessarily a disorder that you just ‘have’ because of genetics. * It means that you do not have to live the ‘OCD’ label.*

Neurotransmitters

Let’s consider briefly the function of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Research suggests that 80% of Americans have brain chemical imbalances .What is the cause of these imbalances ? Simply…lifestyle habits – poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, hormone imbalances, lack of sunlight, environmental toxins, recreational drug use. When a person has bad lifestyle habits excitatory neurotransmitters are depleted resulting in a chemical imbalance within the brain. So as a therapist this is one of the first things I would be looking at when a client comes to me to be treated for OCD.

Trauma

Identifying any childhood trauma as a cause for OCD would most certainly be a consideration, and if a client came to me who was suffering with OCD I would ensure that any trauma had been addressed and dealt with by the client.Very often a client will not associate their OCD symptoms with past trauma, but research has shown that OCD can be brought on in childhood or adolescence by a traumatic event or indeed if the client has had a traumatic childhood. It can even be a single event, that can initiate the onset of OCD. As an example this could be a single incidence of bullying,or even long term bullying. Or it could simply be that a child felt isolated or left out at school. As a hypnotherapist I would ensure that these issues are dealt with both in and out of hypnosis, using a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy.*

Medication

Off course, medication is often prescribed for OCD sufferers in the form of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), however , as a holistic therapist I would never recommend this as the first course of action (unless the client is suicidal). Holistic therapies help to address the problem at its core rather than suppressing the symptoms with drugs. I am not allowed to advocate coming off medication and if it has been prescribed by a GP or psychiatrist I would always work in conjunction with the professional involved.

OCD Hypnotherapy – what next?

Ritualistic behaviours that are so characteristic of OCD, such as constant hand washing, counting, cleaning,checking and repeating behaviour are a response to obsessive thoughts of what the sufferer fears. The ritualistic behaviour occurs because the sufferer is trying to get rid of what they fear. For example, constant hand washing can be the fear of picking up germs and becoming ill. Hand washing as we know is a healthy behaviour that does help ward off unwanted germs. However, when it is done continually often to the detriment of living a normal life  this is no longer considered healthy.

So – anxiety provoking situation = anxious response = abnormal neurological response = OCD response (obsessive thoughts/ritualistic behaviours ).

As a therapist first of all I will address any underlying issues such as trauma, environmental factors, biological factors (such as past infection) and lifestyle factors, in this way addressing any underlying anxiety.* It is essential to do this to ensure that the sufferer is as stable as possible with regard to brain chemical imbalances .

I then move onto hypnotherapy where I will use systematic de-sensitisation to desensitise the fear structures in the amygdala which relate to the things that the person actually fears and obsesses about (and this could be many) e.g. fear of contamination. What is addressed in hypnosis will then be addressed with exposure and response therapy (ERP). This is real life exposure to the things the sufferer fears the most. Real life exposure is essential for the OCD sufferer. Why? using the example of germs, the sufferer can never get through life without germs, in fact some germs are essential to build a healthy immune system. So exposing the client to germs  in such a way that is not dangerous to the client shows the client that they will not die if they expose themselves to what they fear. (please follow this link for an interesting article on this ).*

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/triggered/201205/full-exposure-the-sickening-treatment-ocd

Of course some exposure would be impossible and exposure therapy is always done sensitively and with the full consent of the client .

ERP and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy combined is a very effective form of treatment for OCD and I am offering structured courses of treatment to help OCD sufferers.*

If you are unsure if you have OCD , please read through the following symptoms .

OCD Symptoms

We all have unnatural thoughts and intrusive thoughts from time to time but if these thoughts are starting to take over your life or become obsessive then it may be time to consider there may be a problem.

Obsessive thoughts
  • Do you have obsessive thoughts, i.e. unpleasant persistent thoughts that you cannot seem to get rid of and that dominate your thoughts for long periods of time ?

Example of this may be :

  • Obsessive thoughts about symmetry
  • Obsessive thoughts about cleanliness
  • Obsessive thoughts contamination
  • obsessive thoughts about the fear of harming self
  • Obsessive thoughts about the fear of harming others
  • Obsessive thoughts of a sexual nature
  • Obsessive thoughts of a violent nature
  • Obsessive thoughts about the fear of being a paedophile
Compulsive behaviours

Are you displaying compulsive behaviours such as:

  • Constant hand washing.
  • Constantly checking something e.g. checking that the windows are locked.
  • Do you arrange and rearrange things so that they are perfectly in order.
  • Do you have to do things in even numbers.
  • Are you constantly asking for reassurance of the things you do.
  • Do you constantly repeat words in your head.

Are you displaying avoidance behaviours. e.g. avoiding things that set off obsessive thoughts or compulsions.

If you are displaying any of these thoughts or compulsions you may be suffering from OCD .

If you think you have OCD or are not sure, I offer a free one hour consultation where we can establish what is going on with you and the likelihood that you may or may not have OCD.

If you already know you have OCD and you are not sure if hypnotherapy is for you I offer a free one hour consultation where we can chat through your issues and discuss a way forward. I will conduct a small half hour hypnosis session in this free consultation to give you a feel  of what to expect.

OCD is typically treated over twelve sessions depending on the severity of the OCD. Sometimes more sessions are required. Generally the sessions are conducted two to four weeks apart.

Block bookings can be made for a treatment of therapy for OCD. The cost of twelve sessions is £720 which is a saving of £120 ( or £60 per session ) Or sessions can be individually paid for each week, each fortnight or each month at a cost of £70 per session. Please note that sessions need to be paid 24 hour in advance.

If you would like a free consultation for OCD hypnotherapy please email me on enquiries@dohypnosiskent.co.uk or call on 01634 37070.

Please note results may vary from person to person. There are never guarantees when undergoing any form of therapy and for this reason we do not offer any guarantees for any of our hypnotherapy services. *

 

I am happy to say that I am now working face to face with clients again. I have put in place strict Covid-19 safety measures in line with Government guidance to keep my clients safe .
I would ask that clients continue to choose online sessions over face to face sessions but I do appreciate that this does not suit all clients.

 

Any client wishing to work face to face will be asked to fill out a Covid-19 risk assessment and to sign a Covid-19 liability waiver.

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