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How Hypnotherapy Can Help Intrusive Thoughts...

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Here at See Change Hypnotherapy in Leeds, we are seeing more and more people struggling with intrusive thoughts and images so we thought we should write a little piece about this common complaint. They can be successfully managed – if not conquered – with the right help. If you are suffering with unwanted or distressing thoughts, please read on...

What are intrusive thoughts?

Plainly put, intrusive thoughts are unwanted, involuntary and distressing thoughts, images or impulses that enter a person's mind. They are typically repetitive and obsessive in nature, causing significant distress, anxiety or discomfort. These thoughts can be disturbing, violent, taboo or sexually explicit and often go against a person's values, beliefs, or desires.

Every person has intrusive thoughts to a small degree; indeed, having occasional intrusive thoughts is a common human occurrence. Many people experience fleeting thoughts that may be inappropriate or disturbing, but they are usually able to dismiss or ignore them without significant distress. However, in some cases, intrusive thoughts can become more persistent, intrusive and distressing, leading to psychological distress and anxiety disorders.

Intrusive thoughts are commonly associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but they can also occur in other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and certain personality disorders. It is so important to seek professional help if intrusive thoughts start impacting daily life, causing significant distress or leading to negative behaviours (often because of the anxiety surrounding the thoughts).

Can intrusive thoughts affect your life?

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that intrusive thoughts can significantly affect a person's life. They can cause distress, anxiety and a sense of helplessness, which can impact various aspects of daily functioning, including:

Emotional well-being: Intrusive thoughts can lead to intense feelings of fear, guilt, shame or disgust. These emotions can be overwhelming and may interfere with a person's overall emotional well-being and quality of life.

Relationships: Persistent and distressing intrusive thoughts can cause a huge strain on relationships – both professional and personal. They may lead to increased irritability, withdrawal, or difficulty in connecting with others. Individuals with intrusive thoughts may also feel hesitant to share their thoughts with loved ones due to the fear of being judged or misunderstood.

Work or academic performance: Intrusive thoughts can cause difficulties with concentration, focus, and productivity – which potentially can affect performance at work or school. The distress caused by these thoughts may also lead to absenteeism or avoidance of certain tasks or situations.

Daily activities: When intrusive thoughts are severe, they can interfere with daily activities and routines. People may develop certain compulsions, habits or avoidance behaviours to cope with the distress caused by the thoughts, which can disrupt every aspect of the person’s life.

Sleep problems: Intrusive thoughts can disrupt sleep patterns, which can lead to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep or even experiencing nightmares. Sleep issues can contribute to fatigue, irritability, a lack in cognitive ability and reduced overall well-being.

Self-esteem and self-image: The content of intrusive thoughts can be disturbing, violent, or taboo, which may lead to feelings of guilt, self-doubt or even questioning one's character or morality. This can obviously have a massively negative impact on someone’s self-esteem and self-image.

How can Solution Focused Hypnotherapy help with intrusive thoughts?

Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) can be an extremely helpful and gentle approach in managing intrusive thoughts by promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety, and assisting individuals in developing positive coping strategies. Here's how SFH can potentially help:

Inducing relaxation: SFH uses relaxation techniques and guided visualisation to induce a state of deep relaxation. This can help calm the mind, reduce anxiety and create a more receptive state for therapeutic suggestions.

Accessing the subconscious mind: Hypnosis allows the therapist to bypass the critical conscious mind and access the subconscious, where patterns of thought and behaviour are deeply rooted. By accessing the subconscious, SFH can help identify and address underlying factors contributing to the intrusive thoughts.

Reframing negative thought patterns: SFH focuses on identifying and reframing negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive and constructive thoughts. By shifting the focus from the intrusive thoughts to more empowering and positive perspectives, individuals can gradually weaken the hold of intrusive thoughts and develop new ways of thinking.

Developing coping strategies: SFH can assist individuals in developing effective coping strategies to manage intrusive thoughts. This may involve learning relaxation techniques, visualisation exercises or implementing self-soothing techniques that can be used in daily life to reduce anxiety and interrupt the pattern of intrusive thinking.

Enhancing self-confidence and resilience: SFH can help individuals build self-confidence and resilience, empowering them to manage the intrusive thoughts easier and more effectively. Through positive suggestions and reinforcement of strengths and resources, individuals can gain a greater sense of control and belief in their ability to cope with and overcome intrusive thoughts.

If you suffer from intrusive thoughts and would like to discuss how we can help, give us a call or book in for a face-to-face or online an appointment or initial consultation with See Change Hypnotherapy in Leeds here*

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