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hypnotherapy and ADD

hypnotherapy and ADD2010-08-04T16:27:07+00:00

The Forums Forums Tools, Techniques & Treatments hypnotherapy and ADD

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  • #88483

    Post count: 14413

    Thoughts? Experience?

    I want to start pushing but I’m getting in my own way it seems. I think using hypnotherapy to help establish new habits will help.


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    My mom tried it a couple of years ago, to deal with her fear of heights, and for weight loss. $2000 and a dozen treatments later, she’s still terrified of heights, and she still weighs over 225 lbs. The hypnosis was no more effective than if she’d just read a couple of books on conquering phobias and losing weight.

    The effectiveness of hypnotherapy is still being debated. There haven’t really been any large-scale, double-blind, clinical tests that have proven its effectiveness. That’s why it is still considered an “alternative therapy”, so most legitimate medical professionals will advise against it as quackery. And most medical insurance won’t cover it.

    One of the problems is that it’s quite easy for someone to take a course in it—particularly if it involves using some sort of device, like lasers and/or subliminal sounds—then open their own very lucrative “clinic”. So, before you try this route, do some VERY thorough research on any hypnotherapist or clinic you’re thinking of trying. Thoroughly research their methods and effectiveness, and ask your psychiatrist and doctor for their opinions on it, before you put your trust—and hundreds or thousands of dollars—into hypnosis.

    But you could try a little hypnosis technique yourself, and it won’t cost you a cent.

    Meditation is a form of self-hypnosis, because it can help you to relax and achieve the calmness you need to think clearly. The technique is essentially the same as a hypnotist would talk you through to get you into the deeply relaxed state when you’d be open to hypnotic suggestion.

    Sit in a very quiet, dimly lit room; close your eyes, and inhale slowly and very deeply. Exhale, very, very slowly. Focus only on your breathing. Don’t let your mind wander or dart all over the place. (Yes, I know this is very hard for someone with ADD.) Think only of your breathing. After a while, you will feel much calmer. Once you’re in this state, focus on the specific thing you want to achieve—such as changing a bad habit—and the steps you need to take to do it. Visualize yourself doing it. Concentrate. Keep breathing deeply. Gradually bring yourself back to reality, so you can get on with your day (unless you’re doing this at bedtime, in which case, use the technique to relax yourself off to sleep). But try to keep as much of the calmness and focus as you can, as you go about the rest of your day.

    If you do this enough, so it becomes a habit, it really will help you. And it won’t cost you a penny!


    Post count: 227

    Larynxa, I had a bad experience with a place that had “sound and light machines” and recordings where an experienced hypnotherapist should have been.

    While it’s true that the effectiveness of hypnotherapy is still being debated, might I add that so is the effectiveness of Vitamin D, the number of hours of sleep you need at night and whether people over 60 should be taking an aspirin every day. The fact is that there has been a lot of properly documented research into hypnosis. At the bottom of this message I have cited a number of studies. Because hypnosis is so good at helping people deal with emotional issues, and feelings are often wrapped around “bad habits”, like smoking and overeating, hypnotherapy is an effective part of a weight-loss strategy (including nutrition, sleep and exercise).

    I am looking into how hypnosis can help people deal with ADHD. I don’t have a definitive answer yet and am interested in what other forum members have found. I know that hypnosis can be a big help with some of the side issues people with ADHD face, such as low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and addictive behavior. I suspect that hypnosis can help you set up or reinforce good habits and discipline.

    Here is what one hypnotherapist said about working the ADHD children:

    – – – – –

    “I’ve found that ADHD kids don’t just suffer distractibility or ‘novelty addiction’. A feature of ADHD seems to be an amazing ability to focus of attention when something is found to absorb their interest.

    I liken this to being a hunter in the wild. A hunter needs speed, to be able to respond to unexpected new stimuli but they also need to sustain focus for long periods and be able to narrow down their sights when the prey comes into view-whether this ‘prey’ is a soccer goal or tiger.

    I will often start off a discussion by describing a prehistoric hunt then ask them to close their eyes and picture seeing hunters moving swiftly then, bit by bit, as they get closer narrowing down their focus-but I’ll blend it with references to their school day or sporting challenges. This also reframes ADHD from a purely pathological, dysfunctional deficit into an attribute that can be harnessed.”

    – – – – –

    If anyone has had any experiences with hypnosis and ADHD, whether helpful or not, I’d encourage them to add to the discussion.



    90.6% Success Rate for Smoking Cessation Using Hypnosis University of Washington School of Medicine, Depts. of Anesthesiology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2001 Jul;49(3):257-66. Barber J. 87% Reported Abstinence From Tobacco Use With Hypnosis Performance by gender in a stop-smoking program combining hypnosis and aversion. Johnson DL, Karkut RT. Adkar Associates, Inc., Bloomington, Indiana. Psychol Rep. 1994 Oct;75(2):851-7. PMID: 7862796 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    81% Reported They Had Stopped Smoking After Hypnosis

    Texas A&M University, System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, College Station, TX USA. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2004 Jan;52(1):73-81.

    Hypnosis Patients Twice As Likely To Remain Smoke-Free After Two Years

    Guided health imagery for smoking cessation and long-term abstinence. Wynd, CA. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2005; 37:3, pages 245-250.

    Hypnosis More Effective Than Drug Interventions For Smoking Cessation

    Ohio State University, College of Nursing, Columbus, OH 43210, USA Descriptive outcomes of the American Lung Association of Ohio hypnotherapy smoking cessation program. Ahijevych K, Yerardi R, Nedilsky N.

    Hypnosis Most Effective Says Largest Study Ever: 3 Times as Effective as Patch and 15 Times as Effective as Willpower.

    Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking, according to the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit.

    University of Iowa, Journal of Applied Psychology, How One in Five Give Up Smoking. October 1992.

    (Also New Scientist, October 10, 1992.)

    Hypnosis Over 30 Times as Effective for Weight Loss

    Cochrane, Gordon; Friesen, J. (1986). Hypnotherapy in weight loss treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 489-492.

    Two Years Later: Hypnosis Subjects Continued To Lose Significant Weight

    Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1985)

    Hypnosis Subjects Lost More Weight Than 90% of Others and Kept it Off

    University of Connecticut, Storrs Allison DB, Faith MS. Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for obesity: a meta-analytic reappraisal. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996;64(3):513-516.

    Hypnosis More Than Doubled Average Weight Loss

    Kirsch, Irving (1996). Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments–Another meta-reanalysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64 (3), 517-519.

    Hypnosis Showed Significantly Lower Post-Treatment Weights

    Weight loss for women: studies of smokers and nonsmokers using hypnosis and multi-component treatments with and without overt aversion. Johnson DL, Psychology Reprints. 1997 Jun;80(3 Pt 1):931-3.

    Hypnotherapy group with stress reduction achieved significantly more weight loss than the other two treatments.

    J Stradling, D Roberts, A Wilson and F Lovelock, Chest Unit, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, OX3 7LJ, UK

    Hypnosis can more than double the effects of traditional weight loss approaches

    University of Connecticut, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 1996 (Vol. 64, No. 3, pgs 517-519).

    Weight loss is greater where hypnosis is utilized

    Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1996)

    Hypnosis Reduces Frequency and Intensity of Migraines

    Anderson JA, Basker MA, Dalton R, Migraine and hypnotherapy, International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis 1975; 23(1): 48-58.

    Hypnosis Reduces Pain and Speeds up Recovery from Surgery

    [Hypnosis and its application in surgery] Faymonville ME, Defechereux T, Joris J, Adant JP, Hamoir E, Meurisse M, Service d’Anesthesie-Reanimation, Universite de Liege, Rev Med Liege. 1998 Jul;53(7):414-8.

    Hypnosis Reduces Pain Intensity

    Dahlgren LA, Kurtz RM, Strube MJ, Malone MD, Differential effects of hypnotic suggestion on multiple dimensions of pain. Journal of Pain & Symptom Management. 1995; 10(6): 464-70.

    Hypnosis Reduces Pain of Headaches and Anxiety

    Melis PM, Rooimans W, Spierings EL, Hoogduin CA, Treatment of chronic tension-type headache with hypnotherapy: a single-blind time controlled study. Headache 1991; 31(10): 686-9.

    Hypnosis Lowered Post-treatment Pain in Burn Injuries

    Patterson DR, Ptacek JT, Baseline pain as a moderator of hypnotic analgesia for burn injury treatment. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology 1997; 65(1): 60-7.

    Hypnosis Lowered Phantom Limb Pain

    Treatment of phantom limb pain using hypnotic imagery. Oakley DA, Whitman LG, Halligan PW, Department of Psychology, University College, London, UK.

    Hypnosis Has a Reliable and Significant Impact on Acute and Chronic Pain

    Hypnosis and clinical pain. Patterson DR, Jensen MP, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA USA 98104 Psychol Bull. 2003 Jul;129(4):495-521.

    Hypnosis is a Powerful Tool in Pain Therapy and is Biological in Addiction to Psychological

    Functional anatomy of hypnotic analgesia: a PET study of patients with fibromyalgia. Wik G, Fischer H, Bragee B, Finer B, Fredrikson M, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden Eur J Pain. 1999 Mar;3(1):7-12.

    Hypnosis Useful in Hospital Emergency Rooms

    Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2000 May;18(2):327-38, x. The use of hypnosis in emergency medicine. Peebles-Kleiger MJ, Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences, Menninger Clinic, Topeka, KS, USA. peeblemj@menninger.edu

    Significantly More Methadone Addicts Quit with Hypnosis. 94% Remained Narcotic Free

    A comparative study of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy in the treatment of methadone addicts. Manganiello AJ, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1984; 26(4): 273-9.

    Hypnosis Shows 77 Percent Success Rate for Drug Addiction

    Intensive Therapy: Utilizing Hypnosis in the Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders. Potter, Greg, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Jul 2004.

    Raised Self-esteem & Serenity. Lowered Impulsivity and Anger

    American Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy (a publication of the American Psychological Association)

    2004 Apr;46(4):281-97)

    Hypnosis For Cocaine Addiction Documented Case Study

    The use of hypnosis in cocaine addiction. Page RA, Handley GW, Ohio State University, Lima, OH USA 45804. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1993 Oct;36(2):120-3.

    Study 1: Healed 41% faster from fracture

    Study 2: Healed significantly faster from surgery

    Two studies from Harvard Medical School show hypnosis significantly reduces the time it takes to heal.

    Harvard Medical School, Carol Ginandes and Union Institute in Cincinnati, Patricia Brooks, Harvard University Gazette Online at http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2003/05.08/01-hypnosis.html.


    Post count: 913

    Tried it – the problem with ADD – can’t focus or concentrate enough to be hypnotised.

    I was with my first wife when a hypnotist who worked with smokers, and dieters,etc did a bit just for fun at the Iowa State Fair. He had a dozen or so folks, including my wife on stage. She was “in” pretty quickly and it was amazing.

    Somewhere I’ve got a book and a record of his, but bottom line, as he put it, “some people can’t concentrate, or their mind is too busy”, can’t recall the exact words he used, but in the end, it’s impossible for me to be hypnotised, and I’d say, due to ADD. Makes sense – gee, if we can’t concentrate on a book, or lose focus in a meeting, or when someone right in front of us is talking, how could it work on me?

    For smoking, I’ve heard from folks – friends, who have done it and they say it really works, In fact, smoking now leaves a terribe taste in their mouth.


    Post count: 227

    Many hypnotherapists and meditation web site post samples of their work. These samples tend to stick to general topics, such as relaxation or stress reduction, but they give you an idea of what hypnosis can feel like. Like most skills, letting go and relaxing takes a few repetitions to get the idea and you may find that you work better with one therapist’s style than another’s. I will post links to a variety of samples so you can experience hypnosis in the quiet and comfort of your own home (rather than somewhere full of distractions, like the Iowa State Fair!)

    Here is a site with a selection of absolutely free guided visualizations done with a calm, female voice (Mary Maddux) http://www.meditationoasis.com/podcast/listen-to-podcast/

    The sessions are short – 10 minutes or so – so they won’t take much out of your day. They are a nice way to calm down for sleep as well. Please pay attention to your breathing. Deep, slow breaths (i.e. “belly breathing”) are a sign to the body to relax. They are the opposite of the shallow, fast breathing people do when excited.

    I will post other samples over the next little while


    Post count: 227

    Here’s a fun way to try hypnosis. Wendi Friesen is a popular hypnotist who has produced literally hundreds of commercially available therapeutic recordings. She also has an informative, free podcast. But the reason I think she is good for us distractable ADHD types is her rapid fire delivery. If you think of hypnosis as being slow, boring and monotonous, Wendi’s the exact opposite, along with being a lot of high energy fun.

    She has a quiz to see how hypnotizable you are here: http://www.wendi.com/hypnoquiz/hypnoquiz.cgi

    After she goes through a few multiple choice questions, there’s an advanced quiz with a short sample hypnosis session, so you can see what hypnosis actually feels like.


    Post count: 913

    I’d hope she’s fast as I can’t pay attention long enough to anyone to get more than the first sentence………….. and then I miss the first couple words as it takes me a bit to get tuned in.

    I’m like the old crystal radios, not the new digitally tuned FM models………… Takes a while to get tuned in, then I drift off station.


    Post count: 14413

    Years ago…before I had ever heard of ADD…I was a classical piano student at a conservatory in Chicago. It was necessary to practice 20-30 hours per week yet, I couldn’t sit still for more than 3 minutes without feeling like crawling out of my skin. And I hated to perform! I used to get sick before and after performances.

    So I went to a hypnotist to help me sit still and to go through my upcoming performances. The 3 performances she helped me with were the only 3 good performances in 5 years at the conservatory.

    As far as practicing went…I did in fact sit and practice 20-30 hrs. per week for 5 years. I also learned I could read other school work while doing my daily hour of scales. Still today, I can be on an exercise bike and read, tune out distractions while working, and get lost in another “place” during 5 hour business dinners with a bloviating client.

    I felt safe with the woman and was willing to let go…I’ve considered going to one again to help me let go of an addictive relationship but working my 12 step program on that one is providing the results I desire.


    Post count: 227

    @Shoosh63 – What a great story! It shows what can be done when you focus your talents and abilities. Asking someone to visualize the challenge they face before they actually face it is a common hypnotherapy procedure to help people focus on what they need to succeed. It will work with all kinds of other challenges as well, including phobias, stresses and aversions. On the positive side, hypnosis can be used to help you focus on and stay on track with a project or idea.


    Post count: 140

    “I’m like the old crystal radios, not the new digitally tuned FM models………… Takes a while to get tuned in, then I drift off station.”

    *grinning* Good one, billd.

    I’m thinking that perhaps for many of us, the person administering the visualization (along with their particular voice and the technique or subject matter they use) needs to be unusually appealing and compelling to us for us to follow along and get a lock on the process. I know there really has to be something special about a practitioner for me to want to go along for the ride. Otherwise, solo meditation does it for me much more effectively.


    Post count: 227

    @Saffron – Fantastic! Do you have any tips for others? Is there a particular practice you follow?


    Post count: 14413

    @Bill — holee orange polka dots batman… I took the wendi.com quiz, and the little visualization sections brought my anxiety down to an in the noise level. Wow. I am a 4 out of 5 for easily hypnotranced. Wow – the exact opposite of what I believed. Thanks. This is interesting.


    Post count: 227

    @MT9er – A M A Z I N G ! ! ! Way to go! I hope others give it a try. (And it’s free.) Wendi sells her recordings, but she puts some good free stuff in her podcasts. Relaxation doesn’t have to be expensive!


    Post count: 24

    I think it is important to remember that hypnosis is nothing more than guided suggestions delivered to a willing participant who is in a “state” of relaxation”, ie. relaxed. Although the studies above state positive findings, the same results can be achieved by following recommended relaxation exercises, by being prepared, and to have contingency plans to go to. No staff required.

    That being said, ADHD is a matter of genetics influencing chemistry. There is nothing that hypnosis can offer that will change genes, or affect ADHDs chemistry. Hypnosis won’t cure cancer, or make your bad cholesterol behave. Hypnosis does not do that. It can help you with awareness, relaxation, imagery, l̶e̶v̶i̶t̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶, and the like if you are a willing participant. Nothing more.

    We are ADHD. Certain things go with that, whether we are on meds or getting pysch advice or therapy. Wishing and wanting for troublesome symptoms to go away will not work, unless you have a connection with Santa or Barbara Eden. It does mean we can work on things by engaging our symptoms with appropriate tools from your ADHD toolbox.



    Post count: 227

    @Dennis – If I read you right, you are saying that anything that can be achieved being guided can be achieved alone. If you are a knowledgeable enough to guide yourself, then I agree, but don’t discount the skill of the hypnotherapist.

    I also agree that ADHD starts as a matter of genetics influencing chemistry, but remember, there is a person involved. The way we FEEL about our chemistry also influences our chemistry. Would you agree that feeling hopeless and / or powerless in the face of ADHD will make the person’s experience of ADHD worse? There are people on this site who did not get a diagnosis (or an explanation for that matter) of what makes them tick (i.e. the ADHD) until well into adulthood. Some are dealing with a lifetime of what they perceive as failure or not living up to the creativity they feel inside. Hypnotherapy helps people deal with negative thoughts and behaviors quickly and easily. Of course there are other modalities. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a good alternative and I have known CBT therapists to employ guided visualization with clients in a relaxed state. Whatever you call it, this mode of relaxation has been proven effective at helping people change their thoughts, feelings and behavior.

    The thing is, hypnosis involves two people talking – no drugs, no surgery, no expensive equipment, and no long term commitment. It isn’t a “cure” or a “treatment” for ADHD, but I think it should be seriously considered as a way to address the secondary emotional issues that often accompany ADHD.

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