Afraid of spiders? Try sleeping on it

“Phobias are one of the most common forms of psychological disorder, with almost 10% of people reporting that they have had problems with these intense, irrational fears during the previous 12 months and perhaps a quarter of us experiencing a phobia at some point in our life…The recommended treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)…This technique is usually very effective –… But it doesn’t work perfectly for everyone. The answer for this minority of phobia patients, it seems, may be surprisingly simple: schedule a nap immediately after the therapy session...The idea is that sleep helps both to diminish the emotions associated with an existing memory (for example, the fear felt during previous arachnid encounters) and to store new memories (in this instance, that the spiders weren’t dangerous after all)…(This) Swiss study, which was published in the July issue of Psychological Medicine, is far from definitive. For one thing, the number of participants was small. But it does suggest tantalising new possibilities for the treatment of anxiety and other psychological disorders…

We’ve known for a long time that people with psychological problems often don’t get enough good-quality sleepInsomnia, to use the jargon, was seen as a secondary, symptomatic condition….Now, however, there’s plenty of evidence that the process can work in the opposite direction, with lack of sleep actually helping to trigger conditions such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, alcohol dependence, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder…”

Read whole piece at The Guardian, August 8, 2012, by clicking here.

Daniel Freeman is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford. Jason Freeman is a writer and editor. Together they wrote The Stressed Sex: Uncovering the Truth about Men, Women, and Mental Illness. On Twitter they are @ProfDFreeman and @JasonFreeman100

The treatment of phobias with CBT has been observed to result faster and more effective with the complement of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy offers techniques for the treatment of, amongst others, those conditions listed in the present article: depression, anxiety, paranoia, alcohol dependence, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder. Hypnotherapy can also be used for the treatment of insomnia. This presents hypnotherapy as a potential aid to other medical and psychological tools for the treatment of the above conditions.

More interestingly, the hypnotic state can be understood as an altered state of consciousness which shares similarities with that altered state of consciousness which is sleep- body muscles relaxed, blocked senses and a potentially heightened access to the subconscious mind. It could be suggested that the use of hypnosis complementing the treatment of those conditions mentioned above may share or present some effects similar to those of sleep. The study presented in this article may suggest many positive aspects towards the potential use of hypnosis in the treatment of psychological conditions. More research is needed in the field of hypnosis and its effects on the brain, memory and its similarities to sleep.

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About Anna Pons

Certificat (CPPD), Post Graduat Certificat (PGCert) i Post Graduat Diploma (PGD) en Hipnoteràpia Clínica, London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) i Universitat de West London (UWL)
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