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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Should I see a hypnotherapist for my insomnia?

    I am 34 years old and have been suffering from lack of sleep for so many years. I don't like taking meds because I feel extremely tired during the day and it doesn't help much anyway. Is it worth trying hypnotherapy?
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  • 1

    Thanks

    Lucy Appadoo

    Counsellor

    I am a Registered Counsellor who specialises in career counselling/guidance, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, low self esteem, anger management, and stress management. I have also trained … View Profile

    I would recommend hypnotherapy for insomnia provided there are no presenting mental health issues that prevent you from sleeping, as these issues need to be addressed first. Hypnotherapists would first assess your insomnia and will determine previous strategies that you've tried. There are  sleep specialists who could assist with the insomnia, however, hypnotherapy is simply another option or tool to utilize. There a number of suggestions that can be made during hypnosis that create new associations in the unconscious mind. For example, ‘whenever my head touches the pillow, I feel more and more relaxed and more and more sleepy’. Hypnosis is about switching off the conscious mind to access the unconscious mind, and to be more amenable to direct or indirect suggestions in the hypnotic experience.

    Hypnosis is about getting your mind and body into a relaxed, trance like state whereby the hypnotist offers suggestions as a form of therapy to alter behavior. Recent tests show that hypnosis can be very effective for sleep disorders. However without trying hypnosis, you will never know whether the experience can work for you. It is a safe tool to use, provided the hypnotist is well-trained.

  • Dr Moira Junge

    Health Psychologist, Psychologist

    A health psychologist, specialising in treating sleep disorders without medication, and is passionate about promoting sleep health through research, education and advocacy. Moira has a … View Profile

    Insomnia is a complex and debilitating condition that needs expert assessment and treatment.  If the person performing the hypnotherapy is a sleep specialist, or a health professional with a sound understanding of the causes of the insomnia then it is not unreasonable to have hypnosis as an adjunct to treatment.  It is important to have a thorough assessment of your current sleeping problems to eliminate other medical or psychological issues- it may not even be insomnia, there could be other reasons for your sleeping difficulties. The most effective treatment longterm for insomnia is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT-i). I actually use hypnosis with many of my patients, but never as a stand alone treatment, and only after careful assessment. I am in the fortunate position that most of my patients have also been seen by a medical doctor, often a specialist sleep physician, so other sleep problems and/or psychological problems have been highlighted or ruled out.  All the best with getting your sleeping difficulties sorted.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Jill Brewin

    Counselling Psychologist, Psychologist

    I like to work in collaboration with my clients. They have individual needs, but often have strengths and strategies, of which they are unaware. I … View Profile

    Insomnia is a very distressing and complex problem, often exacerbated by the expectation of sleeplessness. As psychologists, we must continually add to our range of skills. As an experienced psychologist we will first make an assessment and then have an array of techniques to call upon to meet the individual needs of each client. Hypnotherapy and also mindfulness meditation help induce a state whereby sleep more easily occurs. This will be a healthier sleep than one that's drug induced, and with no side effects or addictions. There's also a list of rules which work to improve sleep. When there's been a severe and longstanding problem like you've had, unfortunately, it won’t be cured without effort on your part. But, there can be quite a deal of improvement, so it's well worth contacting a therapist.

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