Hypnotherapy for Anxiety and Depression

In Nov 2021, NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) announced the creation of a menu of treatment options that give patients with depression a broader choice of treatments – other than medication. Draft guidelines from NICE, say antidepressants should not be the default treatment and recommends psychological treatments.

Patients with less severe depression could choose from the menu as a first-line treatment option from, for example, psychotherapy, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or exercise.

I’ve previously written about the disappointing tendency for GPs to send away patients who present with some of the recognised anxiety disorders, with a prescription for antidepressants such as Sertraline (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and one of the most common drugs used to treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression).

Why have I found this tendency disappointing? Because, as long ago as 1955 the British Medical Association (BMA) recognized the effectiveness of hypnosis as a valuable psychotherapeutic technique. And for some considerable time now, guidance to GPs from the General Medical Council (GMC) - the role of which is to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK – has allowed General Practitioners to refer patients to therapists who appear on a register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA - an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament) – such registers include, for example, that of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

Yet, it seems that very few GPs do this – and perhaps even fewer know that they may do this. The NHS is ‘missing a trick’ when treating anxiety and depression - a ‘trick’ that it already uses increasingly to help with pain management in many settings, including oncology. The use of hypnosis to support people experiencing anxiety and depression is already evidence-based.

I recall a comment made by a psychiatrist I met whilst carrying out research for my Master’s degree in Clinical Hypnotherapy: “I’m fed up of prescribing lethal drugs in non-lethal doses to already vulnerable people”.

So, whilst it’s great news that NICE has created this wider menu of options – please, GPs, take the blinkers off, shift your view from the range of pills on the shelf, and look at the whole range of options that you have available – and have had available to you for some years already, within and without the NHS - and if you don’t have experience of some of them or are unfamiliar with the evidence base … just ask.

Mark D. Leahy BSc (Hons) Psych, PgDip, MSc (Distinc) Clin Hyp, GMBPsS, DBSCH

Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist









“Thank you for helping me through a very tough time. I have recommended you and will continue to. Your knowledge and expertise are insane(!) and it’s been a very interesting process. I feel very close to being myself again. Best wishes, R.”
R.S. from Worcester


Dear Mark,

Firstly thank you so much for your wise words and good wishes after my procedure.

You have been most helpful and kind throughout my consultations.
I found with your help I was able to feel less anxious whilst waiting for the Ablation and, on the day, go in to the hospital with more confidence than previously. During the four-hour procedure I was impressed with my calm stillness. Indeed, the consultant actually congratulated me on my ability to stay still!

I am still, almost daily, practicing my self-hypnosis and finding it particularly helpful when I become over-tired.

Thank you so much for everything!
Kindest regards”

V.H. from Malvern


“Dear Mark,

Thank you very much indeed for the hypnotherapy sessions. I found them really helpful (and enjoyable) and my IBS has improved loads since we started. I'm enjoying starting my day with a bit of self-hypnosis and feeling more relaxed and comfortable - I really appreciate the benefit”

G.S. from Towcester


“After only one visit, Mark made a significant alteration and improvement to a deep-rooted fear response and lack of self-belief, whereby my loved ones and friends made comments over the following days and weeks to what a huge difference in my confidence and self-esteem I was suddenly displaying. Several months later, my confidence is only increasing further and I put that singularly down to Mark’s empathy, time and skill. I am incredibly grateful to him and would highly recommend his work to anyone!”

A.H. from Herefordshire


“I was recommended to Mark by my trainer who had been to see him previously. We knew that I had trained as much as I could for this event and as I was quite in touch with my ‘mind over matter’ motto I felt I had nothing to lose and everything to gain in having a session with Mark. Not knowing what to expect I was surprised at how quickly I relaxed and went in to a hypnotic state of mind. When I was ‘re-awakened’ I felt excited and more ready than ever for my event! I used the techniques which Mark discussed with me and had embedded into my subconscious throughout my session, during my event which really helped me to keep my focus.”

J.D. from Bedfordshire

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Clinical Hypnotherapy in Malvern, Cheltenham and Bedford

Tel: 07824 554418 
Email: mark@hypnotherapyuk.clinic

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