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How does Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss Work?

By K. Testa
Updated Feb 27, 2024
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Several weight loss programs promote hypnotherapy for weight loss as an effective weight loss tool. In a typical weight loss hypnotherapy session, a hypnotist makes the person relaxed and gently induces an altered mental state in order to introduce certain suggestions and instructions related to weight loss. In this relaxed state, a person may be more apt to absorb these suggestions into his or her subconscious to apply to daily life. These instructions normally vary by individual, depending on root causes for being overweight. Hypnotherapy for weight loss often is administered by a mental health professional in an office setting. It also may be self-administered by the patient at home, typically using pre-recorded material, such a CD or webcast. Some hypnotists offer group sessions as well.

During a professional weight loss hypnosis session, the hypnotist might explore the triggers or root causes of perceived bad habits and suggest ways for the patient to correct them. He or she typically does this using repeated phrases and mental imagery. While in a relaxed state, the patient may be more receptive to the suggestions entering his subconscious mind. The suggestions often have to do with the patient modifying his behavior. For example, the hypnotist might offer instructions to the patient for practicing better eating habits or for finding the motivation to exercise. If the hypnosis is successful, then the patient can typically implement the positive behavioral changes on his or her own.

There are several ways for a person to find a professional hypnotist or to locate self-hypnosis resources. One option is to refer to a directory of local mental health practitioners who use hypnotherapy for weight loss. Most experts recommend seeking someone reputable with credentials in the psychotherapy field. If an individual prefers to learn self-hypnosis, it is possible to search for and review programs online that offer consultations with professionals. Many of these programs also offer accompanying materials such as CDs and books.

Many people have claimed that weight loss hypnotherapy has worked for them. Yet some medical professionals may argue that there is not enough evidence to prove that hypnotherapy alone results in weight loss. Several studies have been done in which the participants attended only one hypnotherapy session. Researchers have maintained that, in order for studies to state definitively whether hypnosis is effective, it might be helpful for subjects to attend more than one session.

Doctors usually recommend a combining hypnotherapy for weight loss with dietary modifications and exercise. Furthermore, they usually caution patients that no weight loss program, including hypnotherapy, is guaranteed to be quick or simple. According to many professionals, losing weight generally requires a long-term effort and even then, weight loss results might not be significant.

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Discussion Comments
By donbri5 — On Mar 07, 2011

I have a friend who has done hypnotherapy to lose weight. What she and I have both noticed since her therapy sessions, is her attitude difference.

I think this is where hypnotherapy has its' benefit. When you are thinking about using hypnotherapy and weight loss, I think you are really working on your mind-set.

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