If you suffer from Hypochondria or health anxiety maybe you took heart in this show, maybe it scared you, maybe you avoided it or maybe you watched it hoping for answers that you did not get. I’d like you to know that there is quite possibly a much simpler solution and a more dramatic one available to you. Sean said in the show that he did not believe to walk in on Monday and then walk out the following Monday feeling fine, but that does happen a lot and in far less time than a whole week.
As a remedial hypnotist I was underwhelmed by the House Of Hypochondriacs show. Considering this set aside a week to treat these guys, filmed it and screened it on prime time TV. Dr. Christian summed it up at the end that an irrational fear can be turned around into something useful and rational that could possibly save lives and he stated that he hoped that each of his subjects can go home free from the constraints of constant worrying though there was little evidence to suggest that they will. As far as I understood it one of the four – Angela – got some sort of breakthrough though it was not obvious. Sean as well experienced some sort of shift but I am not sure how significant and the other two are attending ongoing therapy.
As far as tackling this problem goes I was not inspired by it and am curious to know how much it inspired sufferers that a real change can be achieved so feel free to please leave a comment at the end of the post.
I am a hypnotist. I do not pretend to be able to fix everyone and I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do know that there are many far more exciting examples of success than this show and that these achievements took far less effort.
Hypnosis is still not mainstream. Many of the people that come and see me for whatever reason say that hypnosis is a last resort and their issues are then, more often than not, sorted within 4 hours of session time. If hypnosis was the first resort the NHS would be billions of pounds better off which can go to the treatment of problems that GPs are better set up to deal with.
I am not for a second saying that anxieties are your own fault, but I work from the premise that hypochondria or anxiety is not something that happens to you but something that your mind creates for a reason. In hypnosis we can teach that part of your mind to do something different so that you think and feel different.
Often, not always, it is good to get an understanding of how something started. Sometimes this can be what we think it is but sometimes in talking with the subconscious we can find the source of a problem is for a reason we are not consciously aware of.
Sean mentioned at one point that his Dad died of heart problems at a young age and that Sean himself tragically lost his second baby. Horrific experiences both of them but it is likely that these have caused his anxieties around his own health. At no point did the treatment of the show address this. It was mentioned also that Stacy and Angela used to be worry free and very outgoing but at no point were we given any clues as to how it started in their lives or was that cause addressed.
It would be good to know more about that before treating them and for treatment to take the cause of the anxiety into account. Much of what I do is about helping people accept things that have happened in the past, to separate themselves from events and experiences, to help them look forwards rather than backwards. This can often be quiet an instantaneous and dramatic change or sometimes it can be a change that grows into the way they think for the next few days after the hypnosis.
Although I can see the benefit of introducing them to the bigger picture of the NHS and start seeing the service as a collection of hard working individuals and also of them coming face to face with their greatest fears in the hope that they realise that this is not them. I fear this approach would put the fear into any hypochondriac that was thinking about seeking help. Hat off to the participant that did it, but there were signs that what they were seeing could re-enforce their anxieties too as the inner beliefs they have that lead to this anxiety are still there and operational.
In hypnosis we may seek out the belief that causes the anxiety and remove it or change it. I would address the worst case scenario pattern of thinking. I would start to focus their subconscious minds on all the amazing things their body achieves every second of every day instead of all the things that might go wrong to build a subconscious faith in their own immune systems. This may be stuff that they are consciously aware of but if their subconscious habitually focuses on what might go wrong it habitually ignores what is going well.
The problem for each of them is an internal problem, but this show focused a lot on what was going on outside. I personal feel that treatment needs to start on the inside for the best chance of fast and long term results. Hypnosis offers us a way in to that inner mind and you can find out very quickly if it is going to work or even if it is not, but that is why hypnosis should ideally be the first thing tried not the last. That’s why I do it.
I feel that a TV program treating a collection of people for hypochondria or health anxiety using hypnosis would provide more insight into the individuals suffering and would inspire more hope to any sufferers watching. I love a bit of stage hypnosis but it is a shame that hypnosis only ever reaches mainstream TV when it is used for entertainment purposes when there are at least hundreds of people achieving what can feel like miracles every day around the country yet it is only this rather watered down approach with thin results that were oversold to us that reaches the millions through the tellybox.