Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy as an Aid to Weight Loss

30 April 2021

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy as an Aid to Weight Loss

Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy is therapy offering powerful techniques to help a wide range of physical ailments and emotional issues. It is designed to manage a patient's problem by changing the way they behave and think. Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy equips one to deal with their problems positively by integrating regular cognitive behavioural therapy with hypnosis.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a talking therapy that focuses on current problems instead of the events or trauma that a patient may have faced in their past. When it is combined with hypnotherapy, a patient enters a state often thought of as "day dreaming." They will accept directions that are beneficial to them while their conscious thoughts are suspended during this session. Therefore, hypnosis significantly influences how the process works.

Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy can be used for a range of things. For instance, it can treat anxiety and depression, stop bad habits like smoking, panic attacks, and help with weight loss. Weight loss hypnotherapy is a treatment that can be used to achieve weight loss.

Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy can further stretch to helping with eating problems. It is worth noting that cognitive-behavioural therapy is only effective when an individual is committed to the process. While a therapist may treat and advise you, they will need your total cooperation for the process to be effective. It solely focuses on you as an individual and cannot change your external problems.

Millions of people worldwide are affected by obesity, a serious health problem. Being obese leads to multiple health problems. For instance, people who are obese are more prone to heart disease, arthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The rate of obesity keeps rising. Becoming obese is a long-term problem that often starts when one consumes too much energy, often by eating a lot of food, but they do not expend that energy through daily activities and exercises. The excess energy is stored as fat, and eventually, it builds up and ends up causing severe health problems.

Weight Loss Treatments

There are multiple weight loss treatments and programs that one can choose from. It is worth noting that there is no one size fits all weight loss treatment for obese people. Obesity is a complex problem, so what works for one person may not necessarily work for the next. There are multiple categories of obesity treatment. However, modifying one's lifestyle is perhaps the most essential of all. This requires one to increase their physical activity and reduce their energy intake.

If you are attempting to lose weight, you have to incorporate this into your routine. 

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

There are multiple hypnotherapy approaches other than conventional hypnotherapy, offering relief by suggestions that are directed at a specific need. An insight-oriented approach is more effective. This is why you need to communicate what you are struggling with and your goals when you meet your hypnotherapist before starting your session. Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy uses cognitive restructuring, desensitization, use of imagery, and relaxation training.

Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy is just as effective as cognitive behaviour therapy when it comes to compulsive behaviour like food disorders. It is quite helpful for individuals who have unhealthy eating habits, and its primary goal is to help them replace the unhealthy habits and adopt healthy ones.

It can also help them maintain new healthy habits. But for cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy to be effective, you first have to identify an individual's beliefs, attitudes, and self-defeating thoughts. These thoughts, when repeated constantly, are negative self-hypnosis. Therefore, an individual will have to restructure these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

Hypno-therapeutic Techniques

Some of the techniques used in hypnosis are deepening and induction techniques. The techniques used in treating habit disorders, which are often characterized by dysfunctional behaviours and thoughts, include self-hypnosis, post-hypnotic suggestion, imaginal rehearsal, cognitive restructuring, and self-monitoring.


An individual has to be relaxed and tense a specific region as per the hypnotherapist's suggestion. They then have to let go of any stress and tension they may be holding in those body parts. Suggesting lightness, relaxation, and an individual's favourite imagery may help make the induction process successful.

The eye fixation technique may also be employed. An individual is supposed to fix their gaze on the wall ahead of them. It eliminates visual distractions and causes the eyes to be tired, which makes closing them desirable. A hypnotherapist may also suggest that the individual's eyes are becoming heavier during this stage, and they would like to be shut.

Deepening Technique

This procedure is an extension of the induction technique. Once the induction technology has been used, one can begin using the deepening technique. The hypnotherapist may count backward or forward from a specific number as they suggest that the individual will feel more relaxed. The counting method can also be combined with imagery provided by an individual to make it effective and deepen the procedure. It is also beneficial to suggest that they have control over how slow or fast the process will take.

Imaginal Rehearsal

Imaginal rehearsal is a mental process that involves an individual imagining themselves exceeding at their goal. It can be used in scenarios where feelings and thoughts could trigger the individual and result in dysfunctional behaviour. It can also be employed to prevent setbacks because you would have anticipated a relapse possibility and worked through it during hypnosis.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy and Weight Loss

Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy can be used to help with weight loss, but it has to be supplemented. It is often used to support a patient's lifestyle changes. As mentioned earlier, the patient has to be willing to undergo the process and put in the required amount of work. Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy can be used to help with weight loss by:

  • Helping one set realistic weight loss goals
  • Help with stress management, which often makes most people "stress eat."
  • Improving one's self-esteem
  • Changing one’s body image and what their body image expectations are
  • Providing long term skills for weight maintenance
  • Providing coping skills that will help the patient cope with the gaps in the diet, they will experience
  • Help in increasing one’s motivation to exercise
  • Help one learn how to control their diet

A significant study was recently released, and it shows how cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy has been used to aid weight loss. It shows that cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy is a significant addition to exercise and weight loss. More research needs to be done to prove how effective cognitive hypnotherapy is in helping with weight loss. Still, the studies carried out so far show that it is an effective method when integrated with other options.

The mind is a powerful thing. So while diet and exercise may help with weight loss, hypnosis makes it more effective. This is because the mind can be influenced during hypnosis to change bad habits. Note that there is no sufficient research to prove that it can influence weight loss when used independently. Most studies show that it has to be combined with counselling, or exercise, and diet.

What Happens During a Session

Before you begin your hypnotherapy session, your therapist often explains what will transpire during the entire session. It would be best if you had personal goals that they will go through with you. Once that is done, the therapist often starts talking to you in a gentle and soothing voice intended to create a feeling of safety and help you relax.

Once you relax, time may elapse before your mind gets to a receptive state. The therapist will then suggest a few ways to help influence or change your exercising and eating habits or some of your goals to help you reach your desired weight goal.

When you are unconscious, your mind is more open to change. That is why hypnotherapy for weight loss is deemed an effective method. What sets it apart from other methods is that it directly addresses the contributing factors and causes on a subconscious level where your self-esteem, negative self-talk, fears, food associations, and habits grow. There is no other weight loss regimen that can address such issues and from the root, too, as hypnosis.

It is also worth noting that hypnosis is safe and does not have any side effects, but some people may have side effects. Should anyone experience side effects, they are not significant. Possible side effects include distress, false memory creation, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, and anxiety. Do not try hypnotherapy without speaking to your doctor first if you experience delusions or hallucinations. It is also crucial that you do not go for your hypnotherapy session when you are under the influence.

Repeating specific words is crucial in this process. Your hypnotherapist can also help you envision yourself attaining your goals by sharing vivid mental imagery. Once they are done, they will bring you back to your normal state. This often depends on the kind of method they used to hypnotise you.

Some people may be scared that they could be manipulated to do something they do not want during hypnosis. However, your unconscious mind has its conscience, and there are certain things it will not agree to. You cannot be stuck in a trance or made to do or say anything against your will, as it is often portrayed in the entertainment industry. You will not act on any information given that goes against your beliefs or personal values. That is why hypnosis does not work for everybody. You have to believe and be willing to go through the process for it to have effective results.

Typically, most sessions often last between 45 minutes to one hour, but they could be longer. The method your hypnotherapist uses may determine how long your session will last. How long your hypnotherapy sessions last and how many sessions you will need are also dependent on your individual goals. Just as there is no one size fits all weight loss program, there is no fixed number of hypnotherapy sessions to achieve weight loss.

Some people may see results in as little as one or even four sessions, and for some, it might take much longer. You should note that weight loss hypnotherapy may not work for everyone. Remember that the key is committing to the program and meeting your therapist halfway. Ensure that you are also actively exercising and sticking to your diet regimen if you have one.

Who Qualifies for Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss?

The ideal candidate would be anyone who finds it hard to stick to a healthy diet and exercise regimen. This is because they often find it difficult to shake their negative habits and fall back to old habits. One of the signs of a subconscious problem is being stuck in unhealthy habits such as eating more food when you are full instead of stopping.

Your habits, and emotions are located in your subconscious. Hypnotherapy addresses the subconscious, making it that much more effective in breaking a bad eating habit or enforcing a weight loss goal that will eventually result in an individual losing weight. As mentioned earlier, multiple studies show that hypnotherapy can help with weight loss. This is because it can effectively change one's behaviour, thought patterns, and habits, forcing them to stick to a regimen. It compliments a weight loss program.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnosis for Weight Loss

Cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapy for weight loss has multiple benefits. Through hypnosis, one can change their lifestyle and retrain their mind to maintain healthier habits and stick to healthy regimens permanently.  Listed below are a couple of benefits of using hypnotherapy for weight loss.

  • Most people trying to lose weight often hate their current bodies. As you work towards your weight goal, hypnotherapy can help you boost your confidence and accept your current body.
  • It can also help you distress when it takes longer than you expected to attain your body goal. As mentioned earlier, weight loss is different for everyone. You may use the same program as everyone and not lose weight or only lose a bit of it while everyone else seems to shed a significant amount of weight. This can be pretty stressful, and you may find yourself stressing, which may lead you to lose motivation.
  • It can help you enjoy exercises and feel good about your diet instead of seeing them as a burden. Beginning a weight loss journey can be challenging, and you may find yourself easily giving up because it requires a lot of patience and dedication. However, hypnosis can help you stick to it and even have fun while you are at it.
  • It can significantly help you manage your weight. As aforementioned, if you struggle with sticking to a regimen, this can be a great way to stick to one and put in the necessary work.
  • It also helps you have a positive self-image. You love yourself more, develop confidence, and consistently work on your weight loss program to achieve your goal.
  • It also allows you to be more open to change and implement the change you would like to see. For some people, this may mean that they will attain their goals faster. It is worth noting that hypnotherapy is not a shortcut to attaining weight loss. It is only as effective as you are open to it and how much energy you dedicate to your weight loss program.

According to a study, women are more receptive to hypnosis, and those above forty years more susceptible to it. A different study showed that a person's personality trait might also make them more susceptible to it. It is not a means of mind control or brainwashing that can happen against an individual’s will and should only be practiced by a trained hypnotherapist.


The costs for cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy for weight loss will vary from therapist to therapist. Factors like where you live may also affect the cost. It would be best to call ahead or schedule an appointment and inquire about the charges and the treatment plan.

Ensure you do proper research before you settle on a cognitive-behavioural hypnotherapist who will guide you through weight loss.


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