Comparison between psychotherapy and Bethesda hypnotherapy
Some Bethesda hypnotherapy claims “quick results.” How does mindfulness-based psychotherapy compare?
By Keith Miller, Bethesda psychotherapist
Some of my clients have told me that the kind of active mindfulness techniques I use in my counseling sessions feels like hypnosis. I want to take a moment to explain how IFS therapy (the evidenced-based mindfulness therapy I use) is similar to, and different from, hypnosis.
In my experience, it’s possible to experience relatively quick effects on your symptoms using mindfulness-based IFS. It works for many issues, including depression, anxiety, phobias, chronic pain symptoms (like chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia), obsessions, or problematic behaviors related to eating or relationships.
I’ve spoken to some colleagues who practice Bethesda hypnotherapy, and they make similar claims about hypnosis providing quick symptom-relief in many cases. Hypnosis also has a reputation for assisting with smoking cessation or improved performance in sporting activities.
Quick effects aren’t cures, but the relief and hope are just as important
All of the issues mentioned above are complex and don’t budge easily for a reason. Yet time and time again, my clients say some version of this: “Before these sessions I didn’t see any way out of this problem…it’s not 100% gone, but now my life isn’t dominated by it. I can see this getting better and better.”
Mindfulness-based IFS therapy isn’t a guaranteed cure. But most of my clients agree that the effect of this kind of mental training is far different from conventional talk therapy, and is distinct from hypnotherapy. To some, the benefits feel as good as a cure.
Similarities between hypnotherapy and mindfulness-based psychotherapy
- Increases activity in the creative “right brain.” Creates therapeutic disassociation (separation) from the rigid, logical “left-brain” thoughts or beliefs about symptoms.
- Utilizes your mind’s ability to shift your focus of attention when prompted.
- Prompts given by therapist stimulate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response.) Creates a deep state of relaxation during sessions.
Key Differences between Bethesda hypnotherapy and Bethesda mindfulness-based psychotherapy
- Mindfulness-based IFS therapy is recognized by SAMSHA (U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) as an evidenced-based practice, while scientific outcomes for hypnotherapy are consistently inconclusive.
- The training requirements for mindfulness-based IFS therapists are rigorous. It requires an advanced mental health degree and health-board license to become certified. Some hypnotherapy training requires trainees to be licensed mental health professionals. However, many hypnotherapy training is for lay-persons to become performance coaches.
- Bethesda hypnotherapy (or any hypnotherapy) centers on special “trance state” that has been difficult to define and prove scientifically. Clients can feel like dependent on therapist to achieve therapeutic state. IFS is centered on mindfulness practice which can be easily integrated into every-life. You can blend the work you do in therapy sessions with your own existing spiritual practices including prayer, yoga, or meditation.
Keith Miller, LICSW is the owner and director of Keith Miller & Associates Counseling, located in Bethesda, and Washington, DC. Learn more about Keith’s mindfulness-based psychotherapy, or learn about working with one of his associates.