Finding websites for hypnotherapy for eating disorders is easy with a quick Google of key terms such as hypnotherapy for weight loss, hypnotherapy for food addiction and gastric band hypnotherapy. You can also search terms such as hypnotherapy for bulimia, binge eating and anorexia.
What might not be so clear is how the treatment works. Hypnotherapy is a treatment in which a trained practitioner uses hypnotic suggestion to aid an individual in overcoming an addiction or fear. It does not use conventional medicine; there are no tablets or side-effects.
How does hypnotherapy work for eating disorders?
A question asked many times over, and for a good reason. Hypnotherapy’s overall public perception is quite dismissive, and this is in part to two main reasons: history and television. Both portray a show of wonder, entertainment, bemusement and trickery. These displays are called stage hypnosis and do not relate to clinical hypnotherapy.
When undergoing hypnotherapy for therapeutic reasons, you remain entirely in control of yourself and the situation. There is no acting involved and no audience to please.
Hypnotherapy for eating disorders works by promoting an overall positive mindset. The suggestions and goals vary from person to person but can include motivation and reduction in fears and anxieties. The goal is to change negative thinking patterns and behaviours into positive “can do” thoughts and actions.
While the NHS does not endorse hypnotherapy, you can find narratives on their website with suggestions of when it can be useful. For example, you can find it mentioned under quitting smoking and losing weight.
What is an eating disorder?
While we all need food to survive and maintain our health, it is often a lack of understanding or development of unusual habits that affect our relationships with food.
Some develop emotional relationships often referred to as disordered eating, comfort eating, binge eating, anorexia and bulimia, to name just a few. Often these are linked to emotional and or mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
Eating disorders are a range of mental health conditions that see a build-up of habits surrounding food. Physical effects co-inside with psychological issues. These issues can include dramatic weight loss/gain, a strain on organs such as the heart and liver, low blood pressure, nutritional deficiencies, hair loss/gain, gastro illnesses and infertility. Quite often, these seemingly small initial choices create a devastating impact on our bodies long-term.
How are they caused?
It is almost impossible to pigeonhole individuals or groups and say that one specific trigger will start a negative relationship with food. But there is always a trigger, and it is typically an emotional one.
The hypnotherapy directory some of the causes:
- A family history of eating disorders or depression.
- Someone criticising your eating habits or weight.
- Internal pressure to stay slim for work or a hobby.
- Having certain characteristics, such as an obsessive personality or a tendency to be anxious.
- Experiencing upsetting events, such as a death or abuse.
- Relationship difficulties with friends or family members.
- Being under a lot of stress, for example at school or university.
Can hypnotherapy cure eating disorders?
Hypnotherapy shouldn’t claim to be able to cure eating disorders because results of treatment differ with individuals, and such statements will bring dishonour to the therapist and damage the industry. This isn’t to say that hypnotherapy cannot be used as a multi-pronged approach to treatment. Often hypnotherapists are cross-trained in other therapies and see extremely good results.
It is important to note that for some further treatment is required several months or years after initially completing a treatment plan.
A clinical diagnosis is not a requirement before seeking hypnotherapy, but it can be helpful for some.
The difficulty with supporting those with eating disorders is that treatment often goes backwards and forwards more than once before a suitable recovery is found. Early intervention gives a person the best opportunity, so the sooner they seek support, the better it is for them.
As previously mentioned, a multi-pronged approach is appropriate when treating eating disorders. Below are some treatments and therapies that work well alongside hypnotherapy.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy known as CBT.
A type of psychological therapy aimed at changing the way you think and behave.
- Family Therapy.
An individual or group talking therapy focusing on relationships in and around the family. Eating disorders tend to put a considerable strain on family dynamics.
- Interpersonal Therapy.
A talking therapy that focuses on relationship-based concerns.
Some individuals may be prescribed mood stabilising medications to aid the recovery process. You mustn’t replace talking therapies with your prescribed medication.
Hypnotherapy for eating disorders
A hypnotherapist needs to understand the real root cause of the issue behind persons eating disorder. To do so, they use a technique call regression. The therapist will take you through relaxation techniques to access your subconscious mind, revealing the trigger event. The event may have been a person, a comment, a situation, a sensation, an item, event or a feeling. Any one thing small or large may have contributed to the development of the disorder.
The goal is not to drag up past traumatic memories leaving them raw; it is to use the power of suggestion to change the thought process. This change in the process allows new positive habits for form around the eating disorder facilitating change in the daily routine and relationships with food.
By using positive suggestion during hypnosis, practitioners can enable you to change the way you feel about yourself. Increase self-esteem and learning to feel positive about yourself it a large part of recovery. Coupled with a new levelled understanding of food, hypnotherapy for eating disorders provides the psychological support required to move forward and avoid being stuck or falling backwards.