Dr. Nancy, thank you for offering to answer my questions concerning ADHD and Hypnosis. There are so many topics one can cover and so many treatments available, but I have to admit, hypnosis is something which has always intrigued me, especially concerning myself and the condition of ADHD.
Dr. Nancy Irwin is a renowned doctor of psychology and clinical hypnotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles. She is also a public speaker on a variety of topics, including hypnosis the power of the subconscious mind. She is also the author of a nonfiction: YOU-TURN: CHANGING DIRECTION IN MIDLIFE (http://www.makeayou-turn.comyou-turn.com), and is a frequent media expert, having appeared on CNBC, Bravo, CBS, as well as scores of radio shows and mentions in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, msnbc.com, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Huffington Post, and more.
My first question is the obvious: Does hypnosis really work for people with ADHD?
Yes, it can work for any human being who is mentally stable, sober, and wants to overcome negative symptoms. Basically, if you can sleep or be relaxed enough to receive a massage or meditate or do yoga, you can go into hypnotic trance.
Why is hypnosis effective for people with ADHD?
Most ADHD-ers are dying to get off the “merry-go-round” of tension and anxiety. I’ve treated many, and ironically the more hyper someone is, the faster and easier they are to get into trance! I usually work with ADHD-ers and ADD-ers to gain focus, set realistic goals and attain them, be calmer, and use the condition as a gift vs. a “curse.”
Is everyone with ADHD a candidate for hypnosis treatment?
Nothing works for everyone (including medications). However, hypnosis cannot hurt anyone (as long as it is performed by a qualified professional), and anyone can learn self-hypnosis. It’d be a great adjunct with medication and healthy lifestyle choices, and other self-monitoring techniques for managing ADHD.
Why is hypnosis not as common a treatment for ADHD as Medication or behavior modification therapy?
Because there are still so many who buy into the myths and old wives’ tales about hypnosis. Stage hypnosis is the only frame of reference many have for hypnosis, and therapeutic hypnosis is nothing like that. We treat health issues, motivation, confidence, goal attainment, and more – – not barking like a dog or singing like Elvis. Hypnosis certainly is becoming more mainstream, fortunately, and the trend will accelerate. It is low-cost (compared to long-term therapy) and natural. Hypnosis is a cognitive-behavioral (behavior modification) therapy.
The medical community has long recognized hypnosis for pain control. The American Society for Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) is a prestigious organization comprised of health professionals (psychiatrists, dentists, physicians, RNs, psychologists) who are fully trained and incorporate hypnosis in their practices.
I have some fear of being hypnotized. Is this a common issue? And how can I resolve my fear?
It’s about as scary as being massaged or praying. It’s simply a deeply relaxed state where you are in between being fully awake and asleep. You are not “out of it” or in a coma. You will hear all that the hypnotist says, for the most part. Many feel “zoned out” or “stoned” but always in control. Many people fear that the hypnotist will bring out deep, dark secrets….it doesn’t work that way. It’s not a “truth serum.” (People in stage hypnosis acts want to be hams and do the silly stunts.) The hypnotist is not “in control” of the subject’s mind. The subject is in control. He/she is simply allowing the hypnotist to facilitate the process of directing the subject’s thoughts, and hence behaviors, in accordance with their conscious choice. All hypnosis technically is self-hypnosis. I can only re-wire your subconscious mind if you let me in! For example, if you come in my office to become a non-smoker, and leave as one, I assure you I am not controlling you. YOU are doing that yourself. The hypnotist has no agenda of his/her own; we align the subject’s subconscious thoughts (“Help! My anxiety is outta control!”) with their conscious desires (“I want to be calm”).
You’re also a psychologist, is it necessary to treat a person with ADHD with traditional therapy and hypnosis? Or, is hypnosis enough?
The ideal treatment plan includes both. The subject can learn self-hypnosis to manage their symptoms.
What is the most important thing for someone with ADHD, who is seeking hypnosis, to know about it?
Choose a certified hypnotherapist, if not a psychologist or psychiatrist who is trained in hypnosis, for maximum benefit. Choose one who has experience with ADHD, or ask your psychologist or psychiatrist for a referral to one. Or go on the ASCH website and seek a local referral yourself.
As always, thank you so very much for your time Dr. Nancy!
Thank YOU, Bryan. Best of Health!!!!
Readers, we are currently having a contest to win Dr. Nancy Irwin’s book You Turn! on our ADDer World ADHD Social Network. You can learn more about it and participate here. To read more about Dr. Nancy Irwin, please visit her website and she is also a member of our ADDer World ADHD Social Network, you can say hello to her on her page here.