Hypnotherapy is typically a complementary therapy, meaning that it’s part of a broader treatment plan. “Hypnosis is most often integrated with traditional medical, dental, and psychotherapy treatments,” says Dr. Max Shapiro, a psychologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
This is especially true for treating conditions such as anxiety, for example. Dr. Shapiro notes that psychotherapy and antianxiety drugs are still the most effective anxiety treatments, but that hypnosis is worth trying, especially if you are motivated.
“Hypnosis rarely gets rid of all anxiety symptoms,” he says. “Sometimes it can reduce the physical discomfort of anxiety disorders, such as muscle tension, unsettled stomach, and rapid breathing. By controlling physical symptoms, you prevent them from making you more anxious.”