Hypnosis for Weight Loss
Henrik AltrÃ©us, of the Milton H. Erickson Clinic of Sweden, recently sent me information about hypnosis and weight loss. It turns out that hypnosis, when added to cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, improves weight loss results significantly compared to cognitive behavioral therapy alone.
I’m going to ruminate a bit on why that might be and how it might be important to you, but first, here’s the abstract from the study published in the Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology…
Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy: A meta-analysis Irving Kirsch, Guy Montgomery, Guy Sapirstein Dept of Psychology, University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
The results indicated that the addition of hypnosis substantially enhanced treatment outcome, so that the average client receiving cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy showed greater improvement than at least 70% of clients receiving non hypnotic treatment. Effects seemed particularly pronounced for treatments of obesity, especially at long-term follow-up, indicating that unlike those in non hypnotic treatment, clients to whom hypnotic inductions had been administered continued to lose weight after treatment ended. These results were particularly striking because of the few procedural differences between the hypnotic and non hypnotic treatments. Kirsch, I., Montgomery, G., & Sapirstein, G. (1995). Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 63, 214-220.
Notice something very important about this study. The hypnotic subjects continued to lose weight after the treatment had ended (compared to the cognitive behavioral group). Why would this be, and why is it important?
Let’s look at cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for a moment. CBT looks at how you think and feel and how that affects your actions. If you want to feel differently, think differently! CBT helps people explore their thoughts and offers alternative thoughts that can lead to more positive outcomes.
It’s a good approach. You take your automatic, ingrained thoughts, bring up into your conscious awareness and alter those thoughts. Essentially, it’s taking the unconscious and making it conscious, then trying to change it consciously.
But if you’re going to have long-term, positive change, you have to go one step further. You need to have the new and improved thoughts become automatic (unconscious).
Let’s see… What can we think of that helps thoughts become subconscious, automatic thoughts??? Well hypnosis, of course!
CBT has its own methods for accomplishing this. It mostly boils down to practicing your new thoughts until they’re ingrained. I believe this study is further evidence that hypnosis dramatically accelerates and solidifies that process.
The implications are profound. I believe these results would hold up across any habit or addiction. Herion, cigarettes, weight loss, anger management – you name it. And from my experiece forming positive habits such as eating healthier and exercising regularly also show a tremendous long-range improvement with hypnosis added to the mix.
Special thanks to Henrik AltrÃ©us, and the Milton H. Erickson Clinic of Sweden for bringing that study to my attention.