Can Hypnotherapy Ease Symptoms of Autism?

September 13, 2021

The Ability to Think in Pictures Can Make Hypnosis an Effective Therapy

If you are a caregiver to someone on the spectrum, you have probably noticed that the autism community is full of alternative and complementary treatments. These treatments can range from special diets to hyperbaric oxygen treatments to hippotherapy. If you decide to go down the alternative treatment route, there are many choices to consider. It goes without saying that a considerable amount of research should go into each alternative or complementary therapy before embarking on treatment. Which is why a new article from Autism Parenting Magazine is worthy of attention. The magazine has recently conducted a thorough investigation on hypnotherapy. It showed that the treatment is generally considered safe and effective for most people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, hypnosis is not advisable for those with psychosis. The article points out that antidepressants are not as effective for children with autism as children without the disorder, therefore many parents look for non-pharmaceutical treatments. Hypnosis has been shown to provide some of the same benefits as SSRIs. The goal of hypnotherapy is to give the patient tools to overcome anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, behavioral issues and phobias. This is typically done with a qualified hypnotherapist who tailors each treatment session to the individual’s specific needs. According to the article, sessions usually explore a range of breathing techniques, mental distraction, and grounding exercises. A hypnotherapist featured in the report explains that she uses a “positive doing picture” to help her clients with autism. She finds this technique especially successful since many individuals on the spectrum have the ability to think in pictures. The hypnotherapist uses this picture thinking ability to reduce the heightened fight or flight response that many individuals with autism face. She explains that once a patient arrives into the deeply relaxed, “hypnosis” part of the session, their mind becomes more receptive to changing patterns of thought and also becomes more suggestible. The article makes clear that a hypnotherapist can not control a patient’s mind or make them do things against their will. The report concludes by stating that hypnotherapy can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as cognitive behavior therapy or along with medication. 

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