Discuss the relationship between stress, anxiety, habits and phobias and describe how you would treat these issues with hypnotherapy. Stress Stress can result from many factors and can be a short term or long term problem. Some level of stress is normal and should not be confused with levels of that become debilitating and affect ones everyday functioning. In fact some stress is necessary in order to ensure that we are operating at optimum. Frustration, anger or feelings of anxiety can cause stress. Whilst it is common for stress to be caused by outside factors such as unmanagable workload or demanding children it can be a learned behavior picked up from our parents. We see how the inﬂuential adults deal with situations and we assume that this is appropriate, thus we ﬁnd ourselves stressed by the same things and unable to ﬁnd a way of reducing the impact without help. There are six different types of stress which increase in seriousness from Hypostress which is effectively having insufﬁcient to do or lack of stimulation resulting in boredom, Eustress which is a positive form of stress brought about by having a deadline to meet or something to complete causing the body and mind to “ramp up” activity in order to succeed. Acute stress is where heightened levels of stress begin to have physical impact, Episodic Acute stress is longer term and can have serious physical impact such as heart attack and stroke. It can be treated but will often take some months to see signiﬁcant beneﬁt. 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. When the levels of stress begin to become destructive a sufferer will begin to ﬁnd difﬁculty concentrating, planning and time management begin to deteriorate, sleep can become disturbed and sex drive can also decrease. Stress can be triggered by a speciﬁc event such as a visit to the dentist or the necessity to deliver a speech or presentation to a group of people, or it can be something which is constantly in evidence which would point to there being issues around self-esteem or inadequacy. Anxiety There is a clear link between stress and anxiety and there has been much debate about the precise deﬁnition of anxiety. In their book “Hypnotherapy - A Handbook” Heap & Dryden describe anxiety as “a learned and anticipatory response” in contrast to fear which usually has a clear identiﬁable reason such as a ﬁre alarm going off or someone threatening you with a knife. Anxiety is much more ambiguous and is driven by an unidentiﬁed sense of foreboding that something will happen and it won’t be good, although there is often no evidence or indeed justiﬁcation for these feelings.
The establishing of underlying reasons for anxiety is absolutely imperative for the ethical hypnotherapist because many of the symptoms manifest in anxiety can be caused by psychosis or speciﬁc medical conditions rather than neurosis and therefore should not be routinely treated with hypnotherapy. Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s can all present symptoms of anxiety so the initial consultation is critical in ensuring that it is neurosis that is being treated. Anxiety can sometimes result from long term stress that has not been adequately dealt with. Anxiety in the appropriate situation is actually very positive, for example if we are attacked we should most deﬁnitely feel anxious in order for our in-built “ﬁght or ﬂight” mechanism to work properly. Anxiety can be triggered by our belief system tricking us into thinking that a situation is potentially dangerous when in fact it is perfectly harmless. Our belief system is inﬂuenced by the experiences we have and the way that they impacted us at the time. For example...
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