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Author: Richard Olley

Can Hypnosis help to resolve Anorexia?

The answer to this question is definitely yes. But it is not Hypnotherapy that is required – it is Hypno-analysis. So what is the difference? When a person is in a hypnotic state, the screen between their conscious and subconscious minds is removed, and this allows two things to happen. The first is that new, positive ideas can be taken in at a deep level, and this is what is known as Hypnotherapy. The second is that unhelpful ideas and beliefs can be challenged and changed, and this is what is called Hypno-analysis.

I have worked with many anorexic clients over the years, and working together, we have never failed to identify and change the subconsciously held beliefs that have been sabotaging their health and happiness. The potential reasons for a person becoming anorexic are too many and varied to list here, and often a combination of beliefs and events leads to the problem developing. By definition, because the beliefs are subconsciously held, the person is consciously unaware of them. But when the person relaxes into a hypnotic state they can reveal what they don’t know that they believe. Once revealed, their erroneous beliefs can of course be challenged and changed.

I am working with a 23 yr old client at the moment, and this is her perspective on her therapy after six sessions:

Hypno-analysis has been instrumental in helping me uncover and address the subconscious beliefs and patterns that have really been driving my struggles with anorexia – much of which I wasn’t even aware of! This has been absolutely KEY and is so often overlooked. Delving into the roots has given me a profound understanding of my illness and myself on a whole new level. By questioning and changing these deep-seated beliefs, I’ve started to regain control over my thoughts and behaviours, experiencing a newfound clarity and empowerment that have truly changed my life.

I never imagined I could come this far, but every session feels like a powerful step closer to recovery. I’m feeling more hopeful and confident than ever before. This therapy has made a world of difference, and I’m certain its impact will stay with me for the rest of my life. This is, without a doubt, THE most valuable therapy I’ve ever had – it can truly change your life – or like me, perhaps even save it.

This lady had been anorexic for four years, and her BMI was 15.4 at the start of her therapy. Six sessions later it had increased to 16.6, and is continuing to improve. Previously such an increase would have horrified her, but what was particularly encouraging about this is that she was delighted with the increase and was keen to keep making more progress.

Anorexia really is resolvable. Not all Hypno-analysts will have specific experience of working with anorexic clients, but if you can find one that does, the experience could be life-changing.

If you are within travelling distance of Tonbridge and you are battling this disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help. Contact me today to start your journey towards recovery and reclaim your life.

Why does using willpower rarely work in the long run?

Don’t try harder, try smarter.
Whether you are trying to lose weight or stop smoking, most people find that using willpower just doesn’t work. It is a simple fact of human behaviour that if a person struggles to achieve something which they consciously desire (and are capable of), their subconscious mind is, for some reason, against the idea and is sabotaging their conscious efforts.
To understand why it would do this, we need to know three things about the subconscious mind.
    1. Its fundamental purpose is to ensure our survival. It really is like a computer – we are born with certain programs pre-installed, and we inadvertently add further programs as our life develops. These new programs are mostly acquired in our childhood, but we can also acquire them as adults in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, many of these acquired programs are actually not in our best interests at all.
    1. The subconscious mind is immensely more powerful than our conscious mind, and consequently we almost always lose when we pick a fight with it.
  1. By definition, we do not consciously know what programs it is running, or why.
You might wonder why your subconscious mind would consider it a good idea to be overweight, for example. There are many possible reasons, but one of the easiest to understand is where there is a history of sexual abuse. The subconscious mind may have decided that this extremely unpleasant experience is probably less likely to re-occur if your body is seen as ‘less attractive’. I repeat that there are many other possible reasons, but this is one that makes obvious sense.
One of my favourite maxims is ‘don’t try harder, try smarter’. So the ‘smarter’ approach in this scenario is to change the subconscious program which is thwarting your desired outcome. So rather than fighting the powerful subconscious mind and trying to lose weight that way, you bring it onside so that you are working with it, not against it.
Realistically, it is much easier to seek out a hypno-analyst than to try and do this yourself. Although I can hypnotise myself, I would still seek help to achieve something like this. The hypno-analyst would first need to help you to uncover the event in your past which caused the program to start running, then when you have released it, install a new belief which is in line with what you seek to achieve. It is a fairly simple process, and highly effective.

Can hypnotherapy help with anorexia?

Hypnotherapy for anorexia

In my experience, hypno-analysis is more helpful with anorexia than hypnotherapy. Anorexia is generally regarded as a control issue. The client takes an excessive control of their eating habits because of a perceived lack of control in other areas of their life. The lack of control may be felt because of excessively controlling parents, or because of one or more unexpected life events. It is also suggested that, at a subconscious level, there may be a desire to stay child-like. But how can hypnotherapy for anorexia help?

I believe that any behaviour, including phobias, obsessions, compulsions and addictions, which is not what the client consciously wants to do, is driven at least in part by the subconscious mind. Most anorexics want to be well, but they feel a compulsion to control their food intake. At a subconscious level, they will know why this is, but consciously they do not.

Under hypnosis the client has access to their subconscious thoughts, and these can be very revealing. Hypnosis is nothing more than a state of deep relaxation, and in this state the anorexic client can address the issues which triggered the behaviour, and resolve them. There are also simple practical steps which can be taken to aid and speed up their recovery.

I have recently helped an anorexic client who I will refer to as Sally. In just six sessions she felt that she had really got to the bottom of the life events that triggered her eating disorder, and she now feels well on the way to recovery. Read her story in the testimonials on my front page.

How can hypnotherapy help with anxiety and/or a lack of confidence?

Hypnotherapy for anxiety

It seems very unlikely to me that anyone is born anxious, or lacking in confidence. These are ‘learned’ behaviours, and hypno-analysis is an excellent tool for helping people to ‘un-learn’ them. The way that they are learned in the first place is that at some time, usually in childhood, an event occurs which causes the child to feel a specific emotion – let us say fear.

What should happen is that the emotion should be expressed – and that is usually what happens. However, if the child is for some reason prevented from expressing the emotion, it becomes repressed instead. Repressed emotions become trapped in the subconscious mind, and when that happens the person then feels them frequently or even constantly. Once this has occurred, expressing the emotions no longer releases them, and the person has then become chronically fearful, to use our example.

We all know people who feel one specific emotion frequently or constantly – anger, guilt and fear are probably the most common. In fact most people have trapped emotions, to a greater or lesser extent. We regard people who do not as being ‘emotionally mature’. So how can those trapped emotions be released?

This is where hypnosis comes into it’s own. When a person is hypnotised, they are deeply relaxed, and in this state they have far greater recall of events from long ago. Usefully, they are also far more aware of how they felt at the time the remembered events occurred. If they then express the emotion they felt at the time, it is released from the subconscious mind, and the event will no longer affect them. The repressed emotion will cease to have any further influence on their day to day behaviour.

Many clients tell me that even after one session it feels as if I have taken a burden from them that they did not know they were carrying. If you’re interested in hypnotherapy for anxiety, read the testimonial from John for an excellent example of how this therapy worked for him.