Hypnotherapy for skin picking

Tasneem Abrahams
Nov 28th, 2016

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The first step in treating dermatillomania, like any other psychological disorder, is to acknowledge thet there is a problem and that you need help to address it. Research on treatment of dermatillomania and other body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) is limited. Although there is no definitive cure, there are a lot of treatment options recommended. Some may not work for you as much as they work for others. The trick is to find something that helps reduce your urge to pull. In this post we will discuss hypnotherapy as a treatment option.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a two way process between the therapist and the client, a professional partnership. People cannot be hypnotised unless he or she agrees and co-operates. What hypnotherapists do is, by definition, therapeutic. Stage hypnosis is very different and is considered as a form of entertainment.

Hypnotherapy is considered a type of corresponding treatment that uses the force of positive suggestions to achieve intuitive change to our thoughts, emotions and behaviour. The procedure itself plans to adjust our state of cognizance in a way that relaxes the conscious part of the mind while simultaneously stimulating and focussing the intuitive part. This uplifted state of mindfulness - achieved using skilled relaxation techniques - allows the advisor to then make appropriate suggestions. The efficacy of hypnosis is based on how much you want the result.

Hypnotherapy can free an individual from toxic practices. Hypnotherapy will lead individuals toward recuperating the uncertain issues that have been bothering them their entire lives. Most people during early youth are confronted with repulsive circumstances and after that reach subliminal conclusions about themselves because of a childish mind-set.  You additionally make decisions about how to behave which appear to be great at the time, yet now are overcoming you. These youth choices are so profoundly shrouded that only through the depth of hypnotherapy, would they be able to be discovered and treated.

Hypnosis can:

  • Turn the picking hand into an automatic soothing device
  • Protection from the impact of triggering stressors
  • Make habits that have felt automatic controllable
  • Enhance relaxation techniques
  • Increase mindfulness
  • Identify and diffuse historical picking or pulling triggers
  • Help you feel things in the heart, not the hair or skin

What typically happens in a hypnosis therapy session?

The therapist will discuss your individual needs and goals. Much like in traditional talk therapy, you may be asked background personal information such as sleeping patterns, lifestyle information, medical symptoms or medication, and any treatments involving other healthcare providers. The hypnotherapist should always provide a clear explanation of how the hypnotherapy process works. You will be made to feel comfortable and to relax.

The hypnotherapist will then lead you into a state of deep physical and mental relaxation, known as induction. Once deeply relaxed, the hypnotherapist can then begin 'change work' using techniques and approaches discussed and agreed to help you towards your goals. Once the 'change work' is complete, the hypnotherapist will begin the transition to wakefulness, in which you are gradually brought out of your trance.

According to hypnotherapist Mark Tyrrell, There are 3 core hypnotherapy techniques every therapist should know:

1) Hypnotic Visualisation: contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not always a case where your eyes are closed and you are in a dream like state, rather it is a state of being psychologically in a different 'place' to your physical state. Therefore you can be in a hypnotic state with your eyes wide open. Hypnotic visualisation is when the patient is encouraged to focus their attention in times ehen they have felt really great. The purpose of this is to help the person imagine a positive outcome and open their minds up to be more susceptible to change.

2) Post hypnotic therapy: as the name suggests, it draws the person's attention to events still to come. this technique builds up a positive expectation in the person's mind, which acts as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you expect to succees, the more likely you are to succeed. 

3) Hypnotic phenomema: similar to the above where you lay the foundations to expect change, this technique provides physical evidence by producing phenomena like numbness or  hand levitation to demonstrate to the client that they can do things they didn't think they could do. 

How to use hypnotic phenomena

Other benefits for skin pickers

It is known that skin picking is often triggered by stress or anxiety. In both these states it is a good idea to relax and clear your focus so that you can identify a solution or at least visualise a positive outcome. Hypnosis can be a great meduim for achieving this and thereby reducing the urge to pick. However, this may not be  viable long term solution and inevitably if the underlying issue of stress or anxiety is not resolved, the picking urges will return. Cognitive behavioral therapy is said to have the best outcomes for reducing body focused repetitive behaviors. Hypnotherapy and CBT therefore make a powerful combination therapy. The key is to always address mental health concerns holisitcally.

Tasneem Abrahams

Tasneem is an Occupational Therapist, and a graduate of the TLC foundation for BFRBs professional training institute. Her experience in mental health includes working at Lentegeur Psychiatric hospital forensic unit (South Africa), Kingston Community Adult Learning Disability team (UK), Clinical Specialist for the Oasis Project Spelthorne Community Mental Health team (UK). Tasneem is a member of both the editorial team and the clinical staff on Skinpick, providing online therapy for people who suffer from excoriation (skin picking) disorder.

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