One-on-one hypnotherapy can ease teen anxiety problems

With the UK’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to treating teenagers with anxiety problems coming under fire, hypnotherapy could be the answer to an increasingly worrying situation.teen anxiety
Anxiety problems affect some 300,000 children and adolescents in the UK, according to a recent BBC report, and young people are diagnosed with anxiety disorders if anxious feelings seriously affect their everyday lives – for example preventing them from going to school or attending social events.
University of Reading psychologists say current childhood therapies are simply being adapted for teenagers. They argue that adolescents face distinct issues and call for tailored treatments to address them.
In a study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the Reading researchers compared the symptoms of 100 children (aged six to 12 years) with those of 100 teenagers (13 to 18 years) referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in Berkshire.
Some were given an online version of cognitive behavioural therapy, where participants read about fictional characters and their responses to situations that could make them anxious.
Lead researcher Polly Waite said: “We found teenagers were often receiving treatment designed for younger children which is then simply being adapted or made cooler. For example, some of the pictures used in the online therapy were simply changed from teddy bears to images of grungy teenagers.”
Dr Waite added that many teenagers were, therefore, receiving treatment that did not specifically address symptoms that occur in adolescence.
“This may mean they have poorer treatment outcomes, putting their futures at risk.”
However, the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), with more than 1,800 qualified hypnotherapists on its books, can offer a better form of therapy, tailored for the individual.
The NCH says anxiety is a fear or concern that is exaggerated, and is out of proportion to the situation.
A teen with anxiety problems would meet a therapist who would aim to reduce the levels of anxiety as research shows that prolonged exposure to cortisol and other stress related hormones can cause memory problems, increased blood pressure and even reduced fertility. The hypnotherapist would assess the anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.
Then they will set the teen a goal asking how they wish to feel, how they would like to be, and things they would chose to do if free of anxiety. The therapist will then work with the teen reach these goals using a range of different techniques.
After sessions with a hypnotherapist the teenager may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously been challenging.
The Reading University researchers found, with the current levels of treatment being offered, that teenagers with anxiety disorders were more likely to have serious symptoms and to have anxiety surrounding social situations.
Adolescents were also more likely than children to suffer from depression or low moods.
“By targeting more effectively, we could stop teenagers developing mental health problems, leading to fewer suicides and incidence of drug and alcohol problems,” said Dr Waite.
If you know a teenager suffering from anxiety and stress, contact a NCH hypnotherapist by using the NCH directory. It can set them on a better path for their futures.

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