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Is Hypnotherapy A Viable Form of Treatment for Bulimia and Anorexia?

Hypnotherapy for Bulimia and Anorexia? | Dr. Steve G. Jones

Although eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are characterized by abnormal eating habits, these conditions can ultimately be traced to a number of psychological problems. Additionally, unlike issues such as lack or exercise motivation, bulimia and anorexia often involve some type of PTSD reaction, based on trauma.

Because anorexia and bulimia often involve body image and low confidence, it’s no surprise that hypnosis has emerged as a viable and gentle form of therapy for these issues. Through the power of positive suggestion, hypnotherapy allows you to address the root cause or causes of your eating disorder, which in many cases lies in the subconscious mind.

Perhaps best of all, hypnosis has little to no side effects.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

Oftentimes, a holistic approach is a good way to address eating disorders. In other words, it often requires using several therapies, which can include hypnosis. I suggest you speak with your medical doctor before using hypnosis.

The goal of hypnotherapy for eating disorders is to use the power of suggestion to change your thoughts and habits concerning how you view yourself. First, the hypnotherapist puts you in a trance-like state; contrary to popular belief, you are awake and can be aware of what’s happening around you.

In the case of anorexia nervosa, a hypnotherapist can implant positive thoughts to change the negative way you view your body. This process of using positive thoughts is best done when your mind and body are in a relaxed state and receptive to suggestions. With bulimia, hypnotherapy can help you to detach yourself from the damaging impulses motivating you to eat and regret it afterwards.

Essentially, hypnosis allows you to make a change in your thinking when it comes to eating and self-image. Rather than just forcing you to stop thinking a certain way about food and eating, hypnosis allows you to address why you think that way.

Your hypnotherapist can help you trace it back to an event, a comment or a situation that you may have buried in your subconscious because of the pain and negativity you associate with it.

Can Hypnotherapy Work as a Treatment for Eating Disorders?

The Mayo Clinic recognizes the potential health benefits of hypnotherapy, noting that “Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain.” [1] Although anorexia and bulimia are perfect examples of undesirable cognitive behaviors, further study needs to be done on the benefits of treating these conditions with hypnotherapy.

As noted by a study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, “Research on the efficacy of hypnosis in the treatment of eating disorders has produced mixed findings. This is due in part to the interplay between the characteristics of people with eating disorders and the phenomena of hypnosis.” [2]

Still, it is only a matter of time until hypnotherapy is recognized as a viable form of therapy for treating eating disorders. Perhaps the best reason to give it a try is that it helps you love yourself, which goes a long way toward putting you on the road to recovery.

P.S. If you are still uncertain of the power of hypnosis, I invite you to download a free hypnosis audio as an introduction to this form of help.


  1. ^ Mayo Clinic Staff, Hypnosis. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  2. ^Marianne Barabasz (2007). Efficacy of hypnotherapy in the treatment of eating disorders, International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 55:3, 318-335, doi:10.1080/00207140701338688.

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