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What is Hypnotherapy and Can It Help with Weight Loss?
For some people, weight loss is a goal that can be attained with some focus and hard work. Others may struggle for years, losing weight just to gain it all back. Often, they find themselves in a continual cycle of yo-yo dieting.
That pattern may be a result of something in the subconscious mind. You may not be aware of why you reach for chocolate cake when you know you shouldn’t, but there’s a reason that is buried in your subconscious that is affecting you. For those individuals, hypnotherapy might help.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a process that can be used to help you access your subconscious mind to discover issues that may be impacting your relationship with food. Working with a trained hypnotherapist as a guide, this type of therapy uses the power of suggestion to resolve issues during a state of deep relaxation.
It can be used for any issue for anyone who wants to be hypnotized to tackle whatever issue it may be, like weight loss or quitting smoking. It’s all under the power of the person who is doing it. The hypnotherapist serves as a guide and offers the power of suggestions. The power is in the hands of the person who is under hypnosis.
The trance is key
A hypnotherapist will initially interview you to get a better understanding of what you consciously think your issue may be. Then you will be given an education session on the preliminary foundations of hypnosis, what the six-phase approach is like, and what it feels like going into trance.
The hypnoidal trance is the key. Your body is actually familiar with this process – you feel it every night before you fall asleep. The hypnotherapist will help you relax and get comfortable. Through a process, you will use your breathing to reach a state that is known as a hypnoidal trance. The therapy is actually done while you are in that trance.
How do I know if I was hypnotized?
Because most people just feel more relaxed after a session, a common question is often, “How do I know if I was hypnotized?”
Everyone who wants to be hypnotized can be. Of course, everyone is different in terms of their levels of “hynotizability” and “suggestibility.” However, no matter which levels a person may be, a trained professional will know how to work within those levels to help you achieve success.
During the convincer phase of hypnotherapy, the client is given the first suggestion that the hypnotherapist is looking for a specific response to. The hypnotherapist encourages deep breathing toward their trance.
An example of a typical session might be, “your eyes are feeling heavier and heavier, they feel stuck like glue and the more you try to open your eyes more the more relaxed they become and the more unable you are to open your eyes.” Then the hypnotheraist would usually say, “Now I will count from one to three." Even if the client is in a trance, the hypnotherapist will see how their muscles are trying to open their eyes. If they respond the way the way that is expected, they have reached the point of the hypnoidal trance.
Once in a trance, the next phase is therapy. The hypnotherapist knows what to focus on based on the interview at the outset of the journey. Hypnotherapy involves the uses of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) while under hypnosis.
It is explained in the beginning that the hypnotherapist will be asking questions and you will be answering questions as your subconscious explores those areas we address. Most often, those answers are different than those from the conscious mind.
The point of all this is to take an exploratory stance to figure out what the negative imprints are – those are negative perceptions that a person experiences at some point in life. We can delve into those negative hidden thoughts and feelings in the subconscious that are impacting the conscious behavior you are displaying – like having a bad relationship with food.
Through CBT under hypnosis, we can identify those negative imprints you’ve been living with, the hypnotherapist would then begin to ask you what you’d like to do with that. We can get rid of the negative imprint by making the suggestion to your subconscious while in this relaxed state. Or we can replace the negative imprint with a positive one.
A hypnotherapist will guide you through an exercise in your mind that will allow you to gather all the negatives and emotionally release them. Through this process, you are able to identify and release the negative feelings and replace them. It will help you to find self-love.
How can it help with weight loss?
In terms of losing weight, hypnotherapy will help you get in touch with the negative imprint you might have to food and how that impacts your relationship with it. Everyone will experience something in their own unique way.
Often it may be a negative perceived concept, or image issues. When it’s hidden in your subconscious, you keep hiding it, and eating over it. Binge eating and emotional eating are examples of negative behaviors that are used as coping tools. Hypnotherapy can help you find those hidden issues and address them to overcome their effects on your decisions.
Is hypnotherapy right for you?
If you are really struggling in your battle with weight loss, know you don’t have to. You hold the answer – it just hasn’t come to your awareness state. Once you understand the barriers that are holding you back then you can open your mind to what past issues are holding you back from attaining your goals.
Let’s open your mind to self-love and stop sabotaging yourself in a safe environment. Learn more about the program on our website.
Norma Ann Faraone-Ledgard, PhD, LCMHC
Norma Faraone-Ledgard is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in the Center for Weight and Wellness. She specializes in neurofeedback, biofeedback and clinical hypnotherapy.