No sensible hypnotherapist will accept all bulimic clients. Every hypnosis practitioner must know that there is a time in the life of a bulimic to make this kind of changes. Choose wrong and you will be wasting your time as well as their money, not to mention the bad reputation that will follow you. You must be very clear with the criteria for people coming into this program.
The first criteria are that THEY need to be the ones phoning YOU and asking for help. If they are not contacting you directly, but rather through a concerned father or boyfriend, then they are not ready to make these radical changes in their life. If you have to persuade a bulimic that this is worth doing, then your success rate will drop considerably. Furthermore, they should convince YOU that they are ready to let go of this unhealthy addiction.
The first thing you need to do is make them face the reality of what they are doing, instead of the sugar-coated version that they are telling themselves about. Every bulimic will have a “pet name” for what they are doing and a nice little relationship going on with this pattern of behavior, but you will need to make them grasp what it really is (taking as much food as possible into your body as fast as you can and then sticking something in your throat so you can vomit it up). You need to make this pattern ugly, disgusting and gross.
The process of treating bulimia with hypnosis is all about uncovering whether a person is emotionally or physically tuned, as well as discovering core values and beliefs. All of us respond differently in different contexts; an emotionally tuned person is choice-oriented and will blossom if given choice (or an illusion of choice) and support, whereas a physically tuned person, will respond better to direct command and challenge. This is critical and you must not fail at profiling the bulimic in terms of physical or emotional orientation.
The thing that most hypnotherapists working with bulimia patients disregard is that the food has to be on the table. You have to be looking at food together with them at all times. Many of them will not even touch the food because they don’t like to eat in front of other people.
The point is to fit the whole program around the proper eating regime (glycemic index eating plan, 5-6 smaller meals a day). In a way, bulimics are terrified of food because they cannot trust themselves in terms of how much to eat and how much not to eat. All they have learned about food is wrong so you must make food the trigger for all the positive stuff you are doing with them.
Bulimic patients have seriously overridden their internal trigger that we all have in terms of knowing when we are full. They don’t even register when they are overfull. Luckily, the unconscious can very quickly reregulate that when you blow by these internal relay systems that are supposed to help us make the good decisions.
For bulimics, food is connected to emotions and they don’t really understand the basics of how the body works. You need to spend a lot of time explaining that food is nothing but fuel and how different foods are used in the system and how they affect different parts of the body.
Glycemic index eating plan
Proteins are very important as part of the diet intended for bulimics.
When we have too much sugar (in any form, carbohydrates, pure or refined sugar, alcohol etc.) going through the system, the pancreas releases more insulin that can give a person an insulin reaction. You can instantly balance the produced insulin by giving the person protein. If you can include protein with every meal you’re gonna bring the bulimic into balance with those food cravings, because it takes more time for the body to process protein, as opposed to sugar and carbs. The food cravings are all sugar-driven.
Bulimia patients don’t really know how to eat. They know how to shovel food into the mouth and gulp it all down with one or two bites. There is a trend in the modern society to eat food while watching TV, driving or working at the computer. We very rarely eat our meals sitting at the table only focused on the food in front of us.
So, you need to teach bulimics how to eat properly, which is to look at the food and let the eyes take it all in and get the saliva going. Tell them to put the fork down between bites and chew food at least 40 times before swallowing. The longer they spend eating food the less food they will eat and the less time it will take for it to be absorbed into the system.
A breakdown of all the steps involved in treating bulimia with hypnosis would be the following:
- Build strong rapport, get them comfortable with the process and give them the food that helps their brain come back online.
- Start interrupting the past patterns of behaviour on all levels.
- Start introducing new choices in their lives, constantly reminding them of different relationships to food. - Empower them and make them look forward to the future which will shield them from all the negative stuff life has thrown at them both in terms of family issues and social criticism.
- Remind them that if they need any future support that they can count on you for talk therapy.
Bulimia is an OCD related addiction that robs the brain of the needed resources required for thinking and making good choices in life. To have a better understanding of what bulimia is make sure you read Hypnosis for Bulimia – introduction.
If used correctly, hypnosis can help the bulimic restore belief in the self, increase self-esteem and break down the negative patterns of behaviour that caused this addiction in the first place.