A new scientific study published this week by Professor Roger Hagen of the Norwegian University of Science suggests learning to stop repetitive brooding on problems can lift people out of depression.
The study used an approach called meta-cognitive therapy which is similiar to mindfulness and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The experiment looked at 39 people suffering from depression over 10 weeks. The group was divided into those receiving the therapy and the others were untreated. Six months after the trial, 80% of the therapy group acieved a full recovery with the relapse rate only a few per cent.
The therapy approach is similiar to the hypnotherapy one I use when working with depressed clients as it trains people to become aware of how much control they have over their thoughts and just realising this is liberating for a lot of people.
Many clients ruminate because they think going over the problem again and again will lead to a solution, however this only strengthens the negative thinking neurological pathways which then leads to the thinking becoming the automatic default mode which then feels uncontrollable.
The first stage of any hypnotherapy is to cognitively be aware of how your thinking leads to the negative depressive feelings. Challenging both the negative interpretations of reality and the process of ruminating is powerful in getting clients to firmly feel in control of the NOW and how the old thinking pattern can be interrupted.
The next stage is to deal with reprocessing any actual negative thoughts or events through a process called Thought Field Therapy which is very effective at dealing with the negative thoughts and emotions at the root cause level.
The final stage of the process is to use hypnosis to learn both to relax and access altered states of internal peace and quiet, programming the mind to deal with stress and problems in a calmer more resourceful way. This approach integrates mindfulness to let the thoughts be, so they will disappear naturally.
You cannot control what you think as thoughts are generated by so many environmental triggers, however you can control how you respond to what you think. Learning how to do this is at the heart of the hypnotherapy work that I do with clients.
For more information about how hypnotherapy can help you beat depression, please call or email me to discuss how this would work for you.
John Plester is the Principal Tutor of the East Anglian Institute of Hypnotherapy and Lead Consultant at Norwich Hypnotherapy Practice.