Hypnotherapy for Hair Pulling

Recent research in Israel confirms that hypnotherapy is a highly effective, side effect free way of helping the sufferer to stop the behavior.

You can read here a recent paper that describes three case studies where trichotillomania was effectively treated with hypnosis.

At my practice in Highgate Hill in Brisbane I often see young people struggling with the stresses of growing up in today’s challenging world, who find themselves pulling their hair.

I’ve found that Hypnotherapy consistently achieves lasting success.

In addition, I use hypnosis to address the underlying causes and teach clients stress management techniques to eliminate the need for hair pulling.

If you would like to know more, you can contact me here. I will be happy to answer your question, of course, with no obligation.

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Hypnosis for hair Pulling – Trichotillomania

Here is an excerpt from an article published in ACTA Paediatrica

Hypnotherapy: an effective treatment modality for trichotillomania*

This study describes a non-pharmacological treatment modality for children with trichotillomania. Three children with trichotillomania were treated using a hypnotherapy technique. All patients were observed in the outpatient clinic for 8 consecutive weeks and subsequently followed for 12–18 months. All children were cooperative in performing the hypnotherapy technique (relaxation/ mental imagery). Two patients reported complete resolution of their complaints after 7–8 weeks and 1 patient after 16 weeks. The latter, reporting recurrence of the complaint after 4 weeks due to stressful school problems, was resolved after successful retreatment over 3 weeks. During a mean follow-up period of 16 months, there were no recurrences. In conclusion, hypnotherapy may be considered as a primary treatment modality for trichotillomania in children without associated emotional disorders.

This is consistent with my experience, as in the more than twenty five years that I’ve been a Clinical Hypnotherapist, of the dozens of cases I’ve treated, from young children through to adults, I have never encountered a case of Hair Pulling that did not respond very well to Hypnotherapy.

  • Cohen, H., Barzilai, A. and Lahat, E. (1999), Hypnotherapy: an effective treatment modality for trichotillomania. Acta Paediatrica, 88: 407–410. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1999.tb01131.x
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Hypnosis and Hair Pulling

Tim Brunson Phd, writing for the International Hypnosis Research Center, has this to say about Trichotillomania:

Trichotillomania is a learned behavior that is programmed into the patient’s brain during a period in their life when that organ does not have sufficient neo-cortical resources to understand and deal with threats. Therefore, it is somewhat of a defensive reaction that is programmed (i.e. habituated). Should the patient not grow out of it, the resulting neural networks become so strong that they tend to resist any type of intervention.

The psychotherapeutic treatment of trich must address empowerment, self-efficacy, the development of dissociative awareness, and habit replacement. Essentially, they must develop the belief that they can change, awareness of hair pulling incidents, and replace their self-image and habitual behavior. The re-focusing of their mind can help the neural networks associated with the malady to wither and strengthen new pathways.

Hypnotherapy is uniquely suited as an intervention for the treatment of trichotillomania. This is for two primary reasons. First, the essential nature of hypnosis is to bypass resistance to change. This is often referred to as a bypass of pattern resistance, a bypass of the critical faculty, or splitting the symptoms from the cause. However, the primary fact here is that once a trich sufferer becomes an adult, the associated neural patterns are extremely strong and, like any entrenched patterns, they will resist any efforts to change.”

You can read the full article here



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Hypnotherapy and Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania)

Hair pulling, (Trichotillomania), is the most common cause of hair loss in children. First described in 1889, trichotillomania results in alopecia or hair loss, caused by the repeated pulling of one’s hair from, most often the head, followed by the eyelashes and eye brows. But the hair of any part of the body may be pulled and multiple sites may be involved. The individual with trichotillomania will have bald spots on the head or missing eyelashes or eyebrows.

There is an immense amount of embarrassment and denial associated with trichotillomania. It is common for individuals with this disorder to deny their behavior and attempt to hide their hair loss. The hair loss may be disguised by wearing wigs, hats, scarves or hair clips, or by applying make-up or even by tattooing. The act of hair pulling is a private one. Rarely does the hair pulling occur in the presence of another, except for close family members. Because of this fact, social alienation is common in hair pulling.

The hair pulling may occur either when the individual is relaxed or under stress. For some individuals with trichotillomania, certain situations, such as watching TV, lying in bed, or talking on the phone, will trigger the behavior. The individual either may focus intensely on the hair pulling or the pulling may be done unconsciously. Immediately before pulling hair, the individual with trichotillomania feels a mounting tension. This tension is relieved as a hair root is successfully pulled. Since a tingling sensation is felt upon successfully pulling a hair follicle completely from its root, a neurodermatologic connection may reinforce hair pulling as a means of tension relief. When the hair root remains intact and the hair shaft is broken, this sensation is not felt and the patient may repetitively pull hairs until successful. After pulling the hair, patient may carefully examine the hair root, and the hair bulb may be rubbed along the lips for further stimulation. The hairs may be ingested by some patients.

Hypnosis has been used in treatment of childhood trichotillomania with considerable success. The Erickson approach of hypnosis helps the child to substitute hair pulling for a stroking behavior. Other approaches to hypnosis in hair pulling teach the child that he or she has control over events in his or her life, including hair pulling.

In addition, hypnosis is extremely effective both in reducing, and in teaching the child how to self reduce, stress levels that may be a significant contributing factor to the hair pulling.

You can read more here

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