Unconscious agendas in the etiology of refractory obesity and the role of hypnosis in their identification and resolution: a new paradigm for weight-management programs or a paradigm revisited?

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2014;62(3):330-59. doi: 10.1080/00207144.2014.901085.


Hypnosis has long been recognized as an effective tool for producing behavioral change in the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. Despite many studies from the latter half of the last century suggesting that hypnosis might also be of value in managing obesity situations, the efficacy of hypnotherapy for weight reduction has received surprisingly little formal research attention since 2000. This review presents a brief history of early clinical studies using hypnosis for weight reduction and describes a hypnotherapeutic approach within which a combination of instructional/pedagogic and exploratory therapeutic sessions can work together synergistically to maximize the potential for sustained weight loss. Hypnotic modulation of appetite- and satiation-associated peptides and hormone levels may yield additional physiological benefits in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autogenic Training
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis / methods*
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Suggestion
  • Unconscious, Psychology*
  • Weight Loss