An upcoming article on Agoraphobia & Social Phobias is planned for this page. In the meantime the American Hypnosis Association recommends the following articles to learn more about how hypnotherapy can help with these situations. The synopses are supplied by the AHA.
If you or someone you know would like more information about how hypnotherapy may help with an issue, contact us online or call the office at 469-225-9040.
Study 1: “Agoraphobia: A case study in hypnotherapy”
Abstract: “A 58-year-old woman with a 43-year history of agoraphobia was treated with ego-supportive direct suggestion and hypnoanalytic techniques. Literature pertaining to etiological factors and treatment problems is cited. Pertinent details of the patient's recent and past history are presented. The treatment plan, course of therapy, and outcome are discussed in the context of limited therapeutic goals and anticipated moderately successful results. The author advocates a psychodynamically oriented rather than technique-centered approach to hypnotherapy” (Gruenewald, 1971).
Study 2: “Cognitive-Behavioral Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome-Induced Agoraphobia”
Abstract: There are a number of clinical reports and a body of research on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Likewise, there exists research demonstrating the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of IBS. However, there is little written about the integration of CBT and hypnotherapy in the treatment of IBS and a lack of clinical information about IBS-induced agoraphobia. This paper describes the etiology and treatment of IBS-induced agoraphobia. Cognitive, behavioral, and hypnotherapeutic techniques are integrated to provide an effective cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy (CBH) treatment for IBS-induced agoraphobia. This CBH approach for treating IBS-induced agoraphobia is described and clinical data are reported” (Golden, 2007).
Study 3: “The Place of Hypnosis in Psychiatry Part 4: Its Application to the Treatment of Agoraphobia and Social Phobia”
Notes: This paper is based on a world-wide search of the literature, and focuses on the use of hypnosis in the treatment of social phobia and agoraphobia. Hypnosis is employed as an adjunct to therapy: it is used to help patients to reduce cognitive and physical symptoms of anxiety, and provides them with more control in every day situations. The author reviews a range of treatment procedures that have been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of both social phobia and agoraphobia. An extensive search of the literature has uncovered seven studies which have used hypnosis in the treatment of agoraphobia: the first two studies (Gruenewald, 1971; Jackson & Elton, 1985) use a hypnoanalytic approach with age regression, the third and fourth studies (Schmidt, 1985; Hobbs, 1982) both use audio tapes, the fifth study (Mellinger, 1992) employs a hypnotically-augmented multidimensional approach, while the sixth study (Roddick, 1992) uses a fantasy technique to encourage cognitive re-structuring. Finally, the seventh paper (Milne, 1988), is useful in that the therapist employs a number of approaches in treatment including group therapy, ego strengthening and the gradual introduction of hypnosis from a process similar to meditation.
Results: This review of world-wide research and literature concludes that hypnosis is a powerful adjunct to therapy for agoraphobia and social phobia. The case studies presented here demonstrate that hypnosis has been highly effective in helping patients (1) to explore feared situations in a safe environment; (2) to reduce anxiety using desensitization; (3) to gain more control using anchoring, fantasy techniques and autogenic training; (4) to enhance coping strategies using ego strengthening and breathing techniques; and (5) to reduce affect using television screen imagery. Age regression (6) was also employed effectively to help a patient to address, and come to terms with, inner conflicts and traumatic events in early childhood. Finally, carefully-designed audio tapes were employed to encourage two patients to practice self hypnosis at home, and this had the effect of enhancing treatment outcome. (Kraft, 2010)
Study 4: “Counteracting Resistance In Agoraphobia Using Hypnosis”
Notes: The author describes how clients are often resistant to treatment for agoraphobia. Resistance takes on many forms. One case study is discussed in detail in which successful treatment consisted of the stages as shown below (Roddick, 1992). Note that the client in this case study had a particular aversion to being driven in a car and that these principles can be adapted to suit the needs of the patient. Stages: 1. Relaxing in the presence of the therapist; case history (approx. 4 sessions); 2. (a) Hypnosis is introduced using progressive muscle relaxation induction; (b) Experiencing special place imagery like a desert island beach; (c) Addressing the unconscious mind focusing on (i) the importance of practicing relaxation, (ii) being able to travel in a car, (iii) being able to eat and drink ‘as well as ever’; 3. (a) Direct suggestions of bringing the three parts together; (b) Ideomotor signalling used to ascertain whether the strategy has worked and was acceptable; (c) Re-integration of unconscious mind and conscious mind on the desert island beach; 4 (a) ‘Throwing out’ of negative thoughts; (b) Direct suggestions that the skills that the patient has learned in the special place can be utilized at any time. After 8 sessions of using this technique, the patient was able to drive herself to sessions and continued to make further progress thereafter.
Results: This research paper focuses on the treatment of agoraphobia and, specifically, on how hypnosis is employed in order to counteract resistance, thus reducing negative transference and providing the patient with the coping skills to become independent in the outside world. The author describes one case study in 1992 in which hypnotherapy was gradually introduced and used in stages; after 8 sessions, the client was able to drive herself to sessions and continued to make further progress. (Kraft, 2011)
Golden, W. L. (2007). Cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy in the treatment of irritable-bowel-syndrome-induced agoraphobia. Intl. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 55(2), 131-146.
Gruenewald, D. (1971). Agoraphobia: A case study in hypnotherapy. The International journal of clinical and experimental hypnosis, 19(1), 10-20.
Kraft, D. (2010). The Place of Hypnosis in Psychiatry Part 4: Its Application to the Treatment of Agoraphobia and Social Phobia. Australian Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 38(2).
Kraft, D. (2011). Counteracting resistance in agoraphobia using hypnosis. Contemporary Hypnosis & Integrative Therapy, 28(3), 235-248.