Discuss the Relationship between Stress, Anxiety, Habits and Phobias and Describe How You Would Treat these Issues with Hypnotherapy In this essay I shall seek to define stress, anxiety, habits and phobias. I shall explore their individual attributes and symptoms and how they may be related. I will also explain methods of treatment for such neurotic conditions, as I have seen fit and the ethical issues that I believe would need to be considered. Stress and anxiety are often coined together, almost into one phrase; where there is one, you will find the other. However there is a distinction between the two and as a therapist it is crucial that one is aware of this. Stress is a response to an external stimulant, resulting in feelings of frustration, anger and/or indeed, anxiety. Stress is in fact a biological reaction to outside pressures. These pressures can vary from work, family, or social changes, to simple changes in one’s environment, to major life changes. All these situations stimulate the age old “fight or flight” response, thereby pumping the body with adrenaline and heightening the senses in preparation to respond. Of course this is not such a negative reaction, indeed in evolutionary terms it would have been this very reaction that has allowed the human race to continue to exist and flourish, however, there is a point at which this ceases to be healthy and begins to have negative consequences. As a result, stress is categorised into six varieties. These vary in the severity of their implication to the individual. Hypostress is when a person is stuck in the monotony of life and thus finds themselves bored and unmotivated. Eustress is that stress which everyone will be familiar with and which is considered healthy and necessary. It is what motivates and drives people to meet their deadlines, goals and
challenges. Acute stress is that which causes tension and physical disturbances. Episodic Acute stress is a more severe form of acute stress and has symptoms similar to that of hypertension, migraines, stroke, heart attacks and gastrointestinal disorders. This can be treated with therapy but may take up to six months and will often need medical intervention too. Chronic stress is a very serious state and is linked to cancer and other life threatening disease. Whilst it can be treated, due to its seriousness it can take years to treat successfully. Finally there is Traumatic stress which will usually have been brought about by a seriously stressful event or situation and will need a multi-disciplinary team to treat. (Module 5 Notes.) Prolonged bouts of stress may in turn result in feelings of inadequacy and poor self-esteem. In such circumstances a therapist would need to work with the client on building their selfesteem too as the implications of these are far reaching as well; impacting negatively on
motivation, learning, time-management, sleep and sexual function. As has been mentioned, anxiety may be a symptom of stress, but is distinct from stress in that stress has a recognisable stimulant. The cause of stress is usually clearly identifiable. Anxiety born out of stress may be termed situational anxiety. Then there is that type of anxiety which has been referred to as ‘existential anxiety’, and this is the anxiety which is distinct from stress (Knight). This is anxiety which is the result of a fear or apprehension which does not always have an easily identifiable source. In fact one may even be able to go so far as to say that it is ‘all in the mind’ or as Hadley and Staudacher put it, ‘Anxiety actually arises out of your thoughts. In a given situation, it’s the thought of potential danger, not the actual danger that produces the symptom of anxiety.’ Dryden and Heap state that anxiety is essentially, ‘a learned and anticipatory’ response to any distant or even imagined situation. Both stress and anxiety are natural responses from the artillery of responses the human is equipped with. They are both necessary...
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