Discover The Potential Of Hypnosis For Anxiety Relief

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 9, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Anxiety is generally believed to be a widespread concern that can impact daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. While conventional treatments such as medication and talk therapy are typically available, some individuals may still struggle to find relief from their anxiety symptoms. Hypnosis may be an alternative option that can reduce anxiety and improve mental health by addressing the subconscious directly. It’s normally a safe, non-invasive, effective type of treatment that can be combined with therapy and medication for the best results. If you’re interested in hypnosis for anxiety relief, it may be helpful to speak with a licensed therapist about your treatment options.

Find out whether hypnosis may be right for you

What does hypnosis entail?

Hypnosis can be defined as a state of mind of focused attention in which a person becomes highly suggestible. They don’t typically lose control but are open to new experiences and ideas. This state may be achieved through techniques that relax the mind and body, potentially allowing the hypnotist to communicate with the subconscious directly. During hypnosis, a person is typically guided into a trance-like state in which they are highly focused and attentive. In this state, the hypnotist may suggest new behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs to help overcome anxiety and other mental health concerns.

How can hypnosis address anxiety disorders?

When it comes to anxiety, hypnosis may be used to address the underlying causes of the issue. By addressing core beliefs and behaviors, the hypnotist can help individuals identify and modify these issues to reduce their anxieties. This could lead to decreased physical symptoms, such as decreased heart rate and slower/deeper breathing, as well as improving mental symptoms, like reducing racing thoughts and worries. In addition, hypnosis can also be used to teach relaxation techniques that can help individuals control their anxiety on their own.

Benefits of hypnosis for treating anxiety

There are several potential benefits to utilizing hypnosis for anxiety relief, such as the following:

Safe and non-invasive: Hypnosis is typically a safe and non-invasive treatment that does not involve medications or medical procedures.

Effective: Hypnosis has often been demonstrated to reduce anxiety and enhance mental well-being.

Quick and long-lasting results: Hypnosis has the potential to produce immediate results that could last for a long time.

Can be combined with other treatments: Hypnosis can be utilized alongside other treatments, such as therapy and medication, to increase their effectiveness.

No side effects: Unlike many conventional treatments for anxiety, hypnosis may not have any side effects.

Getty/Sarah Waiswa

What is the process of hypnosis for anxiety?

It may be essential to note that the hypnosis process may not be a one-size-fits-all treatment, and it may vary depending on the individual and their specific needs. During the hypnotic induction phase, the hypnotist may use various techniques, such as eye fixation, progressive relaxation, or guided imagery, to help an individual enter a relaxed state. The deepening phase could involve deepening the trance by using techniques such as counting down from 10 or focusing on a particular sensation in the body.

The suggestion phase is usually believed to be the core of the hypnosis session, where the hypnotist can provide positive and empowering suggestions to overcome anxiety. These suggestions may include affirmations for anxiety, visualization exercises, and behavioral modifications to help the person overcome anxiety.

Finally, the re-integration phase can be crucial in bringing the client back to their normal state of consciousness, ensuring they feel relaxed, refreshed, and ready to continue with their day. The hypnotist may use techniques such as guided breathing or counting up from one to help the person return to their normal state of awareness. Try to remember that hypnosis can be a collaborative process, and that the person being hypnotized must generally be willing to participate and open to the experience. The hypnosis process is usually safe and non-invasive, and the hypnotist's role is normally to guide and support the individual throughout the hypnosis session.

Guided hypnosis for anxiety relief

Guided hypnosis can be an effective and available way for individuals to experience the benefits of hypnosis for anxiety relief. By listening to a pre-recorded session or working with a trained hypnotist, individuals may enter a hypnotic state and receive targeted suggestions and visualization to address their anxiety. The hypnotist may lead the individual through calming visualizations and positive affirmations, potentially helping to reduce stress and anxiety. They could also work with the individual to identify and address the root causes of their anxiety, offering tailored suggestions and guidance to help overcome it.

Guided hypnosis can be a valuable tool for individuals looking for a non-invasive and effective way to manage their anxiety. Additionally, guided hypnosis may provide a supportive and structured environment that can enhance the effects of hypnosis. The hypnotist may guide the individual through the hypnotic process, ensuring they remain relaxed and focused and receive the full benefits of hypnosis. By working with a trained hypnotist or listening to pre-recorded hypnosis sessions, individuals may find that they can take control of their anxiety and improve their mental health.

The science behind hypnosis for anxiety relief

The use of hypnosis for anxiety relief is usually believed to be rooted in the principles of psychology and neuroscience. Research has shown that hypnosis can impact the brain in ways that reduce anxiety symptoms and improve mental well-being. At its core, hypnosis typically involves using suggestion and visualization to influence the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind usually controls our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, and it is often the source of anxiety. By entering a hypnotic state, individuals can reach their subconscious minds and positively change their thoughts and behaviors.

Hypnosis may activate specific areas of the brain that are associated with relaxation and stress reduction. For example, hypnosis has often been shown to activate the prefrontal cortex, which is normally responsible for controlling emotions, and the insula, which may be associated with body awareness and self-control. In addition, hypnosis has frequently been shown to reduce activity in the amygdala, which is generally responsible for the fight-or-flight response and is often overactive in individuals with anxiety. By reducing activity in the amygdala, hypnosis may be able to help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve overall well-being.

Find out whether hypnosis may be right for you

Benefits of online therapy for mental health conditions

Hypnosis may be an excellent complementary treatment to traditional approaches, such as therapy and medication. By combining these treatments with hypnosis, individuals can work on addressing the root causes of their anxiety while also receiving support and guidance from a licensed therapist. This comprehensive approach may lead to more effective results in treating anxiety symptoms and improving well-being over time. Additionally, online therapy typically provides convenient appointments with skilled therapists that may not be available locally. Online therapists may also provide resources like pre-recorded sessions to help individuals relax into a deep hypnotic state. Through this holistic approach, individuals may take control of their anxiety experience and create lasting change for improved mental health.

Effectiveness of online therapy

A study called  The Efficacy of Hypnosis as a Treatment for Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis generally supported the effectiveness of hypnosis for anxiety relief. This study states that, on average, individuals who received hypnosis to manage their anxiety symptoms usually reduced them more than 79% of those in the control group. Furthermore, when combined with other psychological interventions, such as therapy, the effects of hypnosis tend to be even greater. Also, numerous peer-reviewed studies and clinical trials have demonstrated the  efficacy of online therapy. This suggests that incorporating hypnosis into a comprehensive treatment plan involving online therapy could effectively manage and reduce anxiety symptoms while creating lasting change for improved mental health.


Hypnosis may have the potential to be a powerful tool for anxiety relief by addressing the root cause of anxiety at the subconscious level. Whether you choose self-hypnosis, guided hypnosis, or online hypnotherapy, hypnosis may provide a safe and effective alternative to conventional treatments and help relieve anxiety and other mental health conditions. By taking a holistic approach and combining hypnosis with online therapy, individuals may experience success in managing anxiety and improving their mental health. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a therapist who has worked extensively with individuals who experience anxiety disorders. Take the first step toward managing anxiety more successfully and reach out to BetterHelp today.

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