Does Hypnotherapy work?
If you’re interested in hypnotherapy, whether it’s to get over a fear, lose weight, stop smoking, or whatever else, you’re probably wondering about a few big things:
Does hypnotherapy work?
And will hypnotherapy work for me?
If you’re worried hypnosis might not work, or that it’s just some “woo woo” mumbo jumbo, there’s a ton of research showing it’s a valid method of treatment.
Here’s some of that research.
Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss
A 1996 analysis of multiple studies by Kirsch looked at the effectiveness of hypnosis when combined with other treatments. The results were clear: With hypnosis, participants in the study lost, on average, almost double the amount of weight compared to people who didn’t use hypnosis.
Additionally, when Kirsch looked at their results down the line, he found something amazing: the benefits of hypnosis increased over time. By the end of the study, on average the hypnotees lost *more than* double the weight of the participants who didn’t.
A study done in 1985 on it found that patients who had individual weekly treatment sessions, with follow-ups as well as being taught self-hypnosis had an average weight loss of 20.2 pounds. These were patients who had made at least 3 major diet attempts in their life previously!
What’s important about that study is that it was done on an individual, and not with any groups. In studies done with group hypnosis, the results were poor. So if you see anyone offering a single time group hypnosis session to lose weight, be aware that hypnotist isn’t staying in town to hear about your results.
Hypnotherapy for Smoking
Drs. Elkins and Rajab in a study from 2010 did a study on a 3-session hypnosis intervention for smoking. When treatment finished “81% of those patients reported that they had stopped smoking.”
Great results, but what about when following up?
When they checked up on their participants a year later, they found that a year later 48% of their patients were still smoke-free.
That’s a pretty good result, but it could be better, which is why I do free “refresher” sessions for my clients if they feel they need it.
In another study, hypnosis was found to be even more effective than nicotine patches, especially when looking at longer term results.
Hypnotherapy for Fear of Flying
How about treating fears like the fear of flying?
Here’s a client of mine talking about her experience about working with me for her fear of flying. She had 3-sessions on hypnotherapy in one week, and several days after we finished she went on an international flight to Germany.
Hypnotherapy for Stress and Anxiety
Hypnosis can be incredibly relaxing, and it can be used to help with stress and anxiety. A study looked at helping with the anxiety patients experience before going into surgery.
Patients who had hypnosis first reported a significant decrease in their anxiety. They tested them against groups who received “attentive listening and support” as well as a group who got nothing before surgery. Both of these groups reported increases in their anxiety instead!