I am sometimes contacted by people who want to know if I offer gastric band hypnotherapy – sometimes called Hypno-band treatment. The answer is no, I don’t. And I have very good reasons for not offering this service.
My main reason for not offering this type of treatment is that I firmly believe that in order to achieve a healthy body shape and size it is necessary to improve one’s relationship with oneself and with food. Being overweight or obese, or indeed underweight, is usually the result of unhealthy eating habits which have become ingrained over time. Sometimes bad habits are reinforced by psychological or emotional factors. A good hypnotherapist or counsellor can work with individuals to help them to address the issues that are preventing them from achieving a more healthy lifestyle. Often, with just a few manageable and sustainable changes, supported by hypnotherapy or counselling, individuals can gradually and healthily change their eating or dietary habits, and as a result can reduce or gain weight in a steady and healthy way. Gastric band hypnotherapy does not work in the same way, it is designed to ‘trick’ the mind into believing that one has undergone gastric band surgery which has reduced the size of the stomach. This supposedly leads to a reduced appetite and therefore weight loss. It is sometimes delivered in a single session without any follow up or attention paid to psychological or emotional factors behind disordered eating.
Next, I have worked with several clients who have undergone gastric band hypnotherapy and who have told me it ‘didn’t work’ for them. These clients have subsequently achieved good results through improving their eating habits and relationships with food. In many of these cases there have been emotional factors that needed to be addressed.
Although practitioners of this type of treatment claim that unlike real gastric band surgery, the hypnotherapy option is without side effects, worryingly this may not always be the case. If the mind believes that the body has undergone surgery, it is possible to experience the same side effects as if one had really had the surgery! This may include nausea, bloating, difficulty eating and any of the side effects associated with general anaesthesia.
Lastly, and most worryingly, hypnotherapy gastric band treatment is sometimes offered by practitioners who have had no formal hypnotherapy training. Some – although not all – organisations offering training in the methods do not require any hypnotherapy qualifications from trainees. Some of them offer the course on CD with no classroom training, which means anyone can train themselves! This unfortunately means that the person carrying out the treatment may not be trained in how to deal with any adverse reactions the client may experience, nor have any insight into the ethical considerations of hypnotherapy. If they are not associated with a professional hypnotherapy body, they may not have professional liability insurance nor follow a code of ethics or conduct which governs the way they handle your personal information, among other important things. If you do want to undergo this type of treatment I strongly urge you to check out your practitioner’s credentials and qualifications and ideally, ensure that he or she is a member of the CNHC (the UK voluntary register for complementary therapists) which has strict registration criteria. ALWAYS check your practitioner has relevant insurance.
So these are the main reasons that I don’t offer this type of therapy. I am sure that for many people it can be successful and helpful, but I just don’t feel that I want to work that way. However, I have great success working with clients who want to permanently and easily change the way they look and feel, by addressing their habits and beliefs about themselves.