How habits & disorders are formed
A habit or disorder is simply an automatic reflex in response to certain triggers. Usually, a positive experience has become associated with a particular action and this is nearly ALWAYS a reduction in stress, anxiety, emotional distress, agitation or boredom/restlessness. This leads to a consequent feeling of relief, although sometimes pleasure, rather than lowering of stress, is the dominant associated emotion.
Negative behavioural habits are nearly always associated with lowering stress (self-soothing) and/or pleasure. Triggers for negative habitual behaviour are usually agitation, boredom, uneasiness, emotional distress, mild or medium levels of anxiety or stress, or sometimes simply not getting sufficient pleasure and satisfaction from other areas of your life.
How does it work?
The approach will vary depending on each individual's specific requirements, but it very loosely involves changing the automatic conditioned response in the subconscious mind that causes you to respond to certain triggers. This is something that many people cannot control through conscious thought processes because, when behaviours are so deeply ingrained in the subconscious, changes often can't be implemented at a conscious level.
Under hypnosis, the learned response within the subconscious can be changed to something more appropriate to the situation, so that in future, you will be calm, relaxed and in control in the situations where you used to succumb to your habit. This leads to a profound increase in motivation to change habitual behaviours that are linked to it. You then learn how to handle trigger situations much more effectively, replacing negative emotions and responses with positive ones and remaining in control.
If factors such as stress, anxiety or tension contribute to your problem, learning suitable relaxation techniques and coping skills help you to respond more appropriately to trigger situations. Tension increases reactivity, relaxation lowers it. As negative habits are negative automatic reactions, relaxation gives us greater self-control, rather than be at the mercy of tension induced habitual responses.
Relapse is avoided by making sure that clients have the resources - positive habits and new experiences and understanding - to stay on their chosen path of being free from the habit. The whole programme fosters a deep sense of self-belief and this is essential for change and relapse prevention.