Searching For The Root Cause – Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket
Perhaps one of the most enduring ideas and misconceptions about hypnotherapy is that it relies on seeking and finding some sort of originating root cause for your anxiety. There is often a sense that hypnotherapy always involves spending a long time trying to uncover things from way back in the past and into childhood.
Certainly it is an approach and model employed by some hypnotherapists who do wish to try and find the historic root cause for what led to your anxiety. They will often want to spend a great deal of time talking about your childhood experiences or encouraging you to revisit the past in some depth. They will describe how their approach helps you to discover the root cause for your issue as a way of overcoming your current anxiety. They are of the view that by discovering and uncovering this long forgotten root cause, your current emotions and unhelpful thinking patterns will be transformed.
Yet while it can be helpful to look back on significant events that have contributed to your current challenges, I’m not sure it logically follows that knowing why something started changes how it currently happens. All too often a client knows, or believes they know, what contributed to the development of their unhelpful anxious thoughts and feelings, yet the anxiety persists. If someone was fine in a plane or car and then has a traumatic experience travelling that causes anxiety and panic whenever in a car or plane, then it’s reasonable clear how the problem started and the root cause of it but the anxiety and panic in those situations remains all too real. And if someone doesn’t know what caused their anxiety, do we really want to spend session after session trawling through the past hoping and trying to find and discover ‘the thing’.
So do we actually need to spend some time searching for the root cause of a problem, or can we just get on with ending the anxiety pattern and having you feel better now and into the future?
Searching For The Root Cause of Anxiety
One thing I always cover at an initial consultation is how hypnotherapy works and how it can help with overcoming issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem and panic attacks.
Recently I had someone come for a free consultation. They were suffering from anxiety and low self-esteem and, due to this misconception of needing a specific root cause, were concerned that maybe hypnotherapy couldn’t help them because they did not know what had started their issues and couldn’t think of what caused it. It nearly put them off seeking help.
As I’ve mentioned, it can be useful to spend a little time exploring what sort of issues and experiences have contributed to your anxiety over time and any information you have about when it became an issue and how it has affected you since then. You may or may not know what led to your anxiety developing. The purpose of covering some of the history is less to uncover some repressed mythical root cause and more to understand how your anxiety has evolved and the sort of thinking and feeling patterns that have developed and that are problematic. The goal is less about history and more about your current habits and patterns that mean your anxiety persists even though you don’t want it to.
By changing the pattern of your anxiety and the thoughts, feelings and behaviours you currently struggle with, you start to change the outcomes and results you experience in your life. Instead of worry and anxiety you start to develop patterns of calm and confidence.
And because our memories and perceptions are always coloured by our current feelings, once you start feeling better now, any historic events and experiences usually become more comfortable in your thinking too. They become things that have happened that no longer affect you emotionally, like so many other memories and experiences you have had (yet, of course, if you have traumatic or emotionally charged events in your past there are psychological ways of addressing these if needed too).
As we address, change and help you take control over your own thoughts and feelings, your anxiety subsides and you find yourself feeling calmer and more confident, stronger and happier. Rather than seeking some sort of root cause from the distant past, we tackle the current, ongoing patterns and change your habitual thoughts and feelings.
Even if you know what led to your anxiety, we still need to change things now and into the future in order for you to feel better. Sometimes people do know what they think started off their anxiety when they were younger, although we have to allow for the possibility that there were other events, however small, that also contributed. There is also the difficulty of looking back that comes from our inability to remove everything we have seen, heard, developed and learnt since then. We can’t delete our ongoing experience, growth and gained wisdom and truly put ourselves back into our younger selves as we were at that time. Yet the same challenges would remain in any case, you think you know what the root cause is yet you still struggle with anxiety.
In essence, the real root cause of your anxiety is not some historic experience, event or challenge. The real root cause is those habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that you have inadvertently developed to deal with things over time. Patterns of anxiety can be useful when faced with an actual threat of harm where you need to take action to keep safe, yet most threats these days come from our own perceptions and thoughts (and our thoughts have a nasty habit of following us wherever we go!). You worry and feel anxious about something and suffer an internal torrent of catastrophising and imagined worst case scenarios. You struggle with all the uncomfortable physical feelings of anxiety and then seek to avoid the thing that makes you anxious (or else endure it and suffer through it). This then adds to problematic thinking about the thing or situation that means that you have more anxious thoughts and feelings and so on.
And so, whether you know what started your anxiety or you don’t, hypnotherapy can still help you to feel better. Rather than seek some sort of surprising revelation of a long past incident, what you do recall and the sort of anxious challenges and situations you have had over the years allow us to recognise the problematic patterns that allow your anxiety to continue. And so by changing those patterns, you change the end result with the consequence being that you start to feel more calm, confident and in control and you learn how to to sustain and support that resilience and strength whatever challenges may come your way in the future.
To your health and happiness,
Award Winning Hypnotherapist in Ely & Newmarket
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