Rupert Hambly


Guest blog: ‘Food addiction’ and hypnosis

When writing this short piece on a very broad subject my first thought was I don’t really like or think that the term addiction or labelling someone an addict particularly helpful.

Also in this article I am not going to discuss restrictive patterns of eating, binging and purging or indeed the complete obsession to eat correctly (whatever that means) which is called orthorexia. I am going to talk about eating to meet an emotional need or “comfort eating” as it is known which can lead to being overweight or obese.

There are a number of approaches to help clients with this problem from a coaching or therapeutic perspective. If we introduce hypnosis to these approaches we often find greater results can be achieved.

There are different theories around what hypnosis actually is; but for the sake of this article let’s go with the idea that it is a specific state of consciousness whereby the critical faculty or analytical part of the brain is temporarily bypassed such that the person is more open to the accepting of pre-agreed suggestions that will change their subsequent thoughts, feelings and actions for their own benefit.

Initially I will meet a client to take a history and try to ascertain the underlying driving forces that are creating the behaviour ie. overeating. It could be due to boredom, a perceived gain that may have developed early on in life or they may not be able at this stage to pinpoint the driving factors; if this is the case then a session of “hypnoanalysis”may be useful.

Once we have a history and have eliminated any underlying health problems by communication with the clients GP if necessary then a treatment plan is formulated.

This would typically involve a number of hypnotherapy/hypnocoaching sessions (anywhere from one to six typically) to establish new patterns of thinking thus helping the client move towards our pre-agreed goal which could be stopping eating a particular food type or more generally reducing the quantities and frequency of foods eaten for example.

A typical session will last around one hour in which the client and I will have a brief chat usually to see how things have changed both in positive or negative ways. The client is then guided into the hypnotic state (all hypnosis is self hypnosis really) and a script read to them that is based on information gathered from the initial assessment and subsequent chats.

The client is also given a bespoke audio recording for them to listen to on a daily basis which supports the process often leading to results being achieved more quickly and increased self reliance.

Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy are becoming more popular with academic institutions worldwide conducting some very interesting research in its application for medical and psychological conditions.

The Royal Society of Medicine and Bournemouth University have introduced a post graduation Master of Science degree in Hypnosis and NICE national institute for Health and Care Excellence support the use of hypnotherapy for various conditions.

Nigel Aggar


BDS, HPD, DipCHyp, NLPPrac, PgCert, APPCP

Learn more about Nigel and his services 


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