Hypnotherapy For Sustained Weight Loss?

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Is it possible to use hypnotherapy to achieve weight loss that sustains long after the therapy / coaching period? Is it possible for the average person to keep off the weight lost?

First off, what is hypnotherapy? As per the US Department of Labor, “Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior patterns: Consults with client to determine nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic state by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degree of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client, using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client’s problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning.”

In normal language, clients enter a state of mind during which they respond better to suggestions. Constructive suggestions are therefore made by the therapist, meant to sustain and manifest after the session too. Compliance with these suggestions are meant to have therapeutic outcomes. Suggestions made during hypnotherapy sessions, related to the therapeutic loss of weight have been found to be effective. ​1–3​

So, the question becomes, what are those suggestions? The suggestions in this instance, will be on the lines of the IF90 Lifestyle Change program, allowing clients a little easier path to implementing prescribed lifestyle changes. In other cases, they could be generic or related to specific changes in behavior, such as a reduction in the amount of sugar consumed.

What happens during a hypnotherapy session? Typically, the client and the therapist meet online, with clients in a safe, quiet and comfortable location, such as their own homes. We do our meetings on Zoom. After this, the client is informed of the procedure to follow, which is typically about 15 to 30 minutes of trance induction and program related suggestions. This is then followed by a discussion and that’s usually the end of the session in most cases. The quality of the patient-therapist relationship is an important component with respect to the quality of the desired outcomes.​4​

It is important to keep in mind, that a patient is not likely to share or do anything during these sessions that they don’t want to. You can feel safe on that front. Interestingly, weight loss accompanied by hypnotherapy is likely to result in better results than just the weight loss efforts such as dietary changes. ​5​

Apart from being effective, hypnotherapy is also relatively inexpensive and has no known side effects.​6​ This is a marked improvement over pharmacological and surgical treatments for obesity, all of which come with substantial side effects.

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  1. 1.
    Stradling J, Roberts D, Wilson A, Lovelock F. Controlled trial of hypnotherapy for weight loss in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. Int J Obes. Published online March 1998:278-281. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0800578
  2. 2.
    Bolocofsky DN, Spinler D, Coulthard-Morris L. Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioral weight management. J Clin Psychol. Published online January 1985:35-41. doi:
  3. 4.
    Stanton HE. Weight Loss through Hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Published online July 1975:34-38. doi:10.1080/00029157.1975.10403768
  4. 5.
    Kirsch I. Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments—Another meta-reanalysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Published online 1996:517-519. doi:10.1037/0022-006x.64.3.517
  5. 6.
    Erşan S, Erşan EE. Effects of Hypnotherapy on Weight Loss and thus on Serum Leptin, Adiponectin, and Irisin Levels in Obese Patients. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Published online November 1, 2020:1047-1054. doi:10.1089/acm.2020.0104

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