I recently did some CPD on eating disorders so I thought it might be useful to do a blog in this area.

Any eating disorder is linked with low self esteem and using food as a coping mechanism. Whether it’s anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or selective eating disorder. Unresolved trauma from our past, biological and environmental causes can all contribute.
When we think of hypnosis in particular, many of us negatively self-hypnotise ourselves by feeding our selves with negative thoughts and comments that keep us in those thought patterns about ourselves. How we think and feel about ourselves can be influenced by our parents, teachers, peer groups and let’s not forget the media and social media in particular.

With so many apps available where you can change your image to create that “perfect” look that is completely false and unrealistic then social media is a huge problem.

When we look at our diet culture and come to realise that all diets end up with 98% of people putting the weight back on, I think we can safely come to the conclusion that food for the majority of us is about emotions. How we feel about ourselves, raising our self-esteem, resolving past trauma and changing our learnt behaviours and thoughts are the only way to really heal.

Selective eating disorder is slightly different to the others though and this can be more of a phobia rather than an eating disorder. The person may be fussy and be restrictive with the foods they eat. They may exclude whole food groups and it is not so much about self esteem but the phobia may be linked to something from the past. For example, if the person was experiencing trauma whilst eating a particular food, they may subconsciously associate that food with the traumatic event. On the other hand, they may have had problems around weaning which might be outside of the person’s memory. It might be to do with the taste, texture, fear of choking, fear of being sick or struggle to let others see them eat. Recent research suggests that the link to the brain that processes taste isn’t working properly so they may get a heightened taste of something. This particular eating disorder is treated in hypnotherapy quite successfully and will take about 4-6 sessions and it is the most successful of all eating disorders to treat.

If the issue is with binge eating, bulimia or anorexia this can be approached with either counselling or hypnotherapy or both. If the approach is with hypnotherapy, we can look at time line therapy and even past life regression may be an option for some and incorporate metaphors that will help with ego strengthening. Doing time line therapy means the client can see their trauma from a third person perspective and there are ways within the hypnosis that we can store those memories somewhere else so they are not affecting our life in the here and now and the client can find it difficult to access the memories at all after the session. At the very least they will lose their emotional attachment to them. Hypnotherapy is an ideal way of being in control of your own emotions. Learning how to work with self-hypnosis can really benefit the client.

Counselling incorporates Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We can work with parts therapy. By looking at Freud’s structure of personality the id is the first to develop and is concerned with our wants and needs, it’s the selfish part of ourselves, the super ego develops as we learn from our peers and is the opposite to the id and the ego is the mediator between the two. The super ego can be linked with guilt and shame and by speaking to the various parts of ourselves we can find a positive reason to help us feel in control and keep away the parts that are not helping.

Incorporating both counselling and hypnotherapy can be useful. When asked how many sessions someone needs, I always think it like a piece of string and depends on the client. If working with hypnotherapy a minimum of 6 sessions would be needed but more realistically, 10-12 sessions, where as with counselling that can be much longer as feelings as trauma’s are worked through.

Weight loss is over a minimum of 6 sessions. I like to describe it to people that if you only take half your dose of antibiotics the issue will come back.

If you would like more information please do not hesitate to get in touch. I am working face to face, remotely by zoom or I can offer walk and talk where this is appropriate.