Depression, Antidepressants, and Hypnotherapy

Using Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy to Discover the Source of your Depression

 One of the most common challenges many people are dealing with these days is depression.  Sometimes my clients will label this something different – perhaps anxiety, stress, or sadness.  And as far as I’m concerned, and as far as hypnotherapy goes, the label is not overly important.depression

What is of concern, however, is the growing number of people who are on some sort of antidepressant medication, or who are being encouraged by their psychologists and psychiatrists to begin taking some.

Now, let me be very clear from the onset.  I am not a doctor and I know virtually nothing about antidepressants or brain chemistry.  I assume that there are many situations where this medication is absolutely required and beneficial to the patient, and I trust our doctors to identify these cases.  In such cases, I am fully supportive of their use and most definitely defer to the wisdom of our medical professionals.

With that said, I am concerned about a couple of things.

First, it appears that “commonly prescribed anti-depressants appear to be doing patients more harm than good, say researchers who have published a paper examining the impact of the medications on the entire body.” (see the paper here)  And while evidence like this is emerging, antidepressant medication remains the most common prescription drug in the U.S. – taken by 11% of the population aged 12 and over. The trend in Canada is not likely to be much different.

Secondly, despite its widespread use and negative side effects, apparently only 30 – 50% of people respond to antidepressants.

And yet for those struggling with depression, when they turn to their doctor for help they often end up leaving with a prescription in their hands.

Now, again, this is perhaps the right course of treatment for many of these people.  Perhaps their brain chemistry is perpetually and significantly out of balance, and the only recourse is antidepressants.

However, in my experience with an increasing number of hypnotherapy clients, I have seen how the use of, or suggested use of, antidepressants may not be required.  I say this based on the fact that all too often those who are struggling with depression often have never succeeded in identifying the root cause of their symptoms.  They experience mood swings, get depressed, feel anxious…and they don’t feel like they know why.  Session work with psychologists and/or psychiatrists can sometimes help this process of self-discovery, but often times the depressed client fails to ‘figure it all out’.  So, after what is sometimes a relatively token effort at finding the ‘root cause’, the default course of action is to tinker with the brain chemistry – and out comes the antidepressant medication.

Again, there are times when this is likely to be the best approach – this is acknowledged.

However, I believe that in many cases the prescription of antidepressants is premature or altogether unnecessary.  I have worked with hypnotherapy clients first hand who are being encouraged to take meds, but over the course of several sessions they begin to uncover the root causes of their unhappiness, and to deal with it.  And wouldn’t you know…they start to feel better.


Now, it’s not always simple or easy.  But it can be.  Emotions such as depression, sadness and anxiety can have all kinds of contributing factors.  But these factors can be discovered, and more importantly, resolved.

leaky pipe

Hypnotherapy is an amazing tool for discovering what is underlying negative emotions.  It focuses on the source…not the symptom.

If your house is flooding, what would you rather do? Figure out where the water’s coming from and deal with it?  Or put on a pair of rubber boots, sit there, and hope for the flooding to eventually stop….

The choice is yours.


note: In all of the work we do, we ensure we are working in conjunction with any other medical care providers that a client may be being supported by.  If a client is seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist, for example, we ensure they are apprised of the work we are doing with the client.  If a client is on antidepressants we NEVER advise or encourage them to change this routine.  We are not doctors and never dispense medical advice.  You should never attempt to wean yourself off of antidepressants without the guidance of your doctor.  Your doctor will always remain your priority contact when it comes to your health.



Nichols Clinical Hypnotherapy in San Francisco & White Rock


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