Recent studies have provided evidence that spiritually-based counseling may have greater health-related benefits than secular counseling (Bernardi et al., 2001; Wachholtz & Pargament, 2006, 2008), and better outcomes in the treatment of depression than cognitive behavioral therapy (Propst et al. 1992). Though promising, the number of efficacy studies in this area is relatively small and more research into the effectiveness of spiritually-based counseling is needed. This study adds to the growing body of research by evaluating the efficacy of a model of spiritual counseling known as Depth Hypnosis™ in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Depth Hypnosis was created by Dr. Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., and is an integrative therapeutic model that uses the umbrella of Transpersonal Psychology to unify its multiple streams of understanding, including traditional hypnotherapy, Buddhist Psychology, the catalytic processes of earth-based wisdom, energy medicine, and exposure therapy. Techniques used in Depth Hypnosis include meditations creating connection to experiences of higher self, insight inquiry, suggestion hypnosis, regression therapy, and removal of energetic interference.

Depth Hypnosis allows for the consideration of connection to something larger than the individual person in the context of healing and that is defined by the individual, not the model. This integrative transpersonal modality allows clients to develop powerful resources at the level of the larger self, and brings those resources into contact with the root causes of suffering in order to transform them at their source (Gucciardi, 2004).

Study Goal: The goal of this study was to examine the efficacy of Depth Hypnosis in the treatment of the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as show an increase in experience of well-being. The hypothesis was that symptoms from the three mood disorders would go down, and experience of well-being would rise.

Results: Data was analyzed through a within subjects, repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVAs). All analyses were conducted in SPSS v. 21, and significance was set at the .05 level. As shown, the effect of time was significant, F(8,27) = 9.41, p < .001, pη2 = .736. Results of the pairwise comparisons indicated that all time points within a given measure differed significantly, all ps < .05. These results indicated that Depth Hypnosis was associated with highly significant decreases in depressive, anxious, and PTSD-related symptoms, and associated with increased quality of life.

Conclusion: This study strongly suggests that Depth Hypnosis provides expedient and significant shifts in symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and well-being. This spiritual counseling model appears to be highly effective.

Why Depth Hypnosis is Effective

Depth Hypnosis draws from Buddhist Psychology in understanding that problems occur when people twist away from their authentic nature. This twisting away can happen if parts of the self are disavowed, or if experiences occur that feel impossible to tolerate on one’s own.

In Depth Hypnosis, wholeness is cultivated through connection to one’s own experience of higher self. A sense of agency is created as one co- participates in tracking the roots of their own unique problems and changing their relationship to them. Clients learn to rely on themselves, knowing that they have the key to healing within them. Thus, Depth Hypnosis techniques bring people back into the innate state of wholeness that exists within everyone (Gucciardi, 2004).

View the results of our pilot study, “Can Depth Hypnosis Heal Mood Disorders?”.

Read the pilot study in its entirety in volume XXVI of The International Journal of Regression Therapy.