What pops into your mind when I say …
The very word itself conjures up a variety of responses, ranging from ‘maybe that’s what I need …’ to ‘don’t make me cluck like a chicken!’
I do hypnotherapy with clients every day, I present about it to health professionals, and have even developed multiple programs that use it – which is why I can’t believe I haven’t shared anything about the power of hypnotherapy on my blog yet …
But, as my Transformation Support Community members have been asking for another hypnotherapy program*, I’m embarking on a journey of creating a powerful new hypnotherapy resource for them, so I thought I’d share some of the benefits of the power of hypnosis with you …
The Power Of Hypnotherapy
Let me talk you through some of the scientific evidence (yes, there is some!) that got me practising hypnotherapy.
Back when I was a more weight-focused psychologist, I used to do a lot of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with my clients. CBT was (and still is) the ‘gold-standard’ psychological approach for weight loss; compared to diet and exercise programs, which all result in a significant Nike swoosh of weight loss and regain, the weight regain with CBT tends to be less1.
Weight Outcomes Of Diet & Exercise Vs. CBT
But while less weight regain may be better in some ways, of course it wasn’t really what my clients wanted, so I began to look past the old CBT … and was surprised when my scientific research uncovered the power of hypnosis to create lasting changes.
Here are the results of a meta-analysis** comparing weight loss with CBT alone versus weight loss with CBT and hypnotherapy2.
Weight Outcomes Of CBT Vs. CBT + Hypnosis
See how the ‘CBT’ line still looks a bit like the ‘Nike swoosh’, but the ‘CBT + Hypnosis’ one doesn’t? In fact, the ‘gap’ in weight between the non-hypnotherapy group and the hypnotherapy group gets bigger as time goes on. Hypnotherapy researcher Irving Kirsch identified this trend, concluding that3
‘The benefits of hypnosis increased substantially over time’
As long-term change is the name of our game, any changes that increase over time captivate me …
Unlock Your Unconscious With Hypnotherapy
For me (especially nowadays, when I am far less weight focused) this is not so much about the weight but about demonstrating the power of hypnotherapy to work on the unconscious. Most people have to work really hard – and very consciously – to make new habits stick. And when it requires too much effort or attention, they revert to old habits. In contrast, the common experience of people undergoing successful hypnotherapy is that the changes they want to make – for example, to walk more or eat less sugar – happen without consciously thinking about them. Kirsch and his colleagues’ scientific findings that changes made hypnotically are greater – and last longer – than changes made non-hypnotically fit perfectly with hypnotic theory, as hypnotherapy works on the unconscious mind.
Attempts to create healthy habits can be sabotaged by conscious–unconscious mismatches. Our conscious minds are logical and analytical in nature – they often know what we want to achieve, and even the actions that will help us to achieve it. Our unconscious minds are emotional and habitual in nature – and they may or may not feel like making the changes our conscious minds want to make. If the conscious mind knows it wants something to happen (or not happen!), but the unconscious mind feels differently, we have a conscious-unconscious mismatch that will likely sabotage our conscious efforts. Some examples of conscious-unconscious mismatches I hear from my clients include:
- Knowing that moving your body is good for you, but not feeling like going to the gym
- Understanding that continuing to eat a certain food is going to make you feel yucky, but feeling like you have to keep eating anyway
- Realising that going to bed will help you feel fresher the following day, but feeling like watching another episode of your favourite series
Conscious-unconscious mismatches sabotage your efforts by making the changes that you (consciously) want to make feel ‘impossible’ to make, or so difficult that you can’t sustain them over long periods of time.
This is where hypnotherapy comes in, helping you overcome conscious-unconscious mismatches by unlocking your unconscious mind.
Hypnotherapy allows people to change their subconscious by accessing it in a way that we can’t do in normal conversations. The result is an aligning of the conscious and subconscious minds so you automatically want to do those things you think you should (and don’t want to do those things you think you shouldn’t!). With the power of hypnosis, and free of conscious-unconscious mismatches, you’re now working with yourself, and can make bigger and longer-lasting changes with less willpower.
Combining Hypnosis & The Non-diet Approach
Even though there is evidence for weight loss hypnotherapy, and I’m a skilled hypnotherapist with over 15 years experience, I actually don’t do ‘weight loss hypnosis’ anymore. Why?
Well, while no study to date has combined hypnotherapy and non-dieting principles, I prefer to do hypnotherapy from a non-diet perspective because both hypnotherapy and non-dieting4 have been shown to result in better long-term outcomes than what we normally do. And, while it is an experiment that I have been undertaking, in practice I find amazing results combining the two. A client we’ll call Linda exemplifies the beautiful blend of the power of hypnosis and non-dieting principles:
If you’re thinking that you may like to experience some of the benefits that Linda has, it may be helpful for you to know more about what hypnotherapy actually is …
What IS (And Isn’t) Hypnotherapy?
For hypnotherapy to be most effective, you have to be open to the process working for you. You don’t have to be completely sure hypnotherapy will work, but you do have to be open to it! And when you understand what hypnotherapy is (and isn’t), you often become more comfortable with it. Our perception of hypnosis tends to be based on sensationalized representations that we see in the movies, on TV, and in live hypnosis shows, which create unnecessary misconceptions and fears. Clinical hypnotherapy – the application of hypnosis principles by qualified professionals for therapeutic purposes – isn’t mysticism or magic, brainwashing or entertainment, subliminal or dangerous. It’s simply:
‘A person being guided into a state of awareness where they become more receptive to ideas that are helpful for them on deeper levels’
This encompasses a wide variety of experiences. Some of my clients ‘go under’ like in the movies, but most people experience it as surprisingly normal – just like a nice, pleasant relaxation. They often leave sessions wondering, ‘Was I even hypnotised?’ – until they notice the benefits afterwards!
To learn more about what hypnosis is (and isn’t), and to hear more about the research on hypnosis and weight outcomes, you can watch this video:
And, if you’re worried about your ability to be hypnotized, you may be more hypnotiseable than you think …
People who experience challenges with eating, weight, and body image may be more hypnotisable than most. One study found that dieters were more suggestible than people who hadn’t been on diets5. The authors explained this finding by suggesting that people who are more intrinsically suggestible may have been more susceptible to internalising thin-ideal messages growing up and, therefore, have a diet mindset in adulthood. If this is the case, we can use a part of your make-up that pre-disposed you to these challenges to help you transcend them!
Experiencing The Power Of Hypnotherapy
Of course, the best way for you to experience the benefits of hypnotherapy is to try it for yourself. And I don’t want to tease you with all of the benefits of hypnosis without allowing you an opportunity to try, so in my next blog, I’m going to share one of my hypnosis sessions, from my most popular hypnosis program with you, for free!
As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences with hypnosis (any successes, struggles, or stories you’d like to share!), and I’ll really look forward to continuing the journey of exploring the power of this truly transformational therapy with you ☺ ☺ ☺
Yours in trance-formation 😉
*Because they love the existing ones so much – our hypnotherapy audio programs are often celebrated as the most powerful – and the easiest – resources we have!
**A statistical analysis of all available studies meeting certain criteria for scientific quality – meta-analyses are conducted to combine the power of multiple studies and increase our scientific certainty about a particular topic.
1. K. Shaw, P. O’Rourke, C. Del Mar & J. Kenardy (2006). Psychological interventions for overweight or obesity (Review). Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, 18(2): 4.
2. I. Kirsch, G. Montgomery & G, Sapirstein (1995). Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive- behavioural psychotherapy: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63(2): 214–20.
3. I. Kirsch (1996). Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioural weight loss treatments – another meta-reanalysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(3): 517–19, 517.
4. L. Bacon, J.S. Stern, M.D. Van Loan & N. Keim (2005). Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve health for obese, female chronic dieters. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105: 929–36
5. F. Frasquilho, D. Oakley & D. Ross-Anderson (1998). Hypnotizability and body-image malleability in restrained and non-restrained eaters. Contemporary Hypnosis, 15(2): 84–93.