Self-Hypnosis and Binge Eating Disorder Recovery
I am often asked in my work if I think hypnosis will cure binge eating disorder. My response is always the same. I do not think hypnosis is the “magic” bullet that cures an eating disorder on its own. I think of it as an additional tool to help move into a recovery state along with psychotherapy. I have found in my own life using mediation, guided imagery and hypnosis to be very powerful and advantageous. I recall one of my favorite moments in life sitting in the "Florida Room" in my Mom's home up in Wautoma,Wisconsin. Early in the morning I love to go out to the room with a mug of hot decaffeinated coffee and sit in the silence. There are always deer and exotic birds that entertain me as I sit and look out. I like to think of this room as the "meditation" room; a place where I can get quiet with my thoughts. For me, it is paradise where I can be in quiet prayer and self-hypnotize.
Yes, I did say self-hypnotize. I find self-hypnosis to be one of the most powerful tools every person has access to. The mind is powerful. I can close my eyes right here in South Florida as I type this piece and go to the "Florida Room" in Wautoma and see those very same deer grazing and walking through the morning dew. I recall that day…so long ago; it was a glorious day! I felt so serene just looking out. It was that very day I meditated with the morning glory and visualized where I wanted to be years from now. I imagined earning my doctorate in psychology, teaching at a university, and bringing my work to the Internet in a way that could reach everyone. And I did all of the above! Today, I am able to create magical self-hypnosis CD's for those who cannot come to my office. It is affordable and easy to do.
I had a patient ask me the other day if I thought anyone could be hypnotized. As I pondered the question for a moment I answered yes, as long as the person is not suffering from brain damage or severe mental illness. I think the big misunderstanding is that hypnosis is losing control over your mind, when in fact it is actually the opposite. Rather, hypnosis is the training of your mind. It is the ability to get to a relaxed state and redirect your thinking. Over my near decade and a half of conducting hypnotherapy I have seen remarkable results. The mind is an amazing thing...and it will take you wherever you want it to go with a little imagination and creativity.
Often when a patient comes to me for self-hypnosis I ask them to find a place in their mind that brings them serenity. A place that is peaceful and safe. It could be as warm and fuzzy as walking through a field of flowers, or strolling barefoot on the beach feeling the warm sand between your toes, or curled up on a couch reading a good book near the fireplace with a crackling fire warming your feet, or playing with puppies. Everyone has a place or two that brings such joy. Another place for me as a child was taking a nap on the back porch in Chicago with my dog Cuddles. I can remember the smell of the closed in porch and feel the breeze on my skin from the opened windows on a beautiful Chicago summer day. Those were magical moments.
We all have a special place that allows us to embrace pure peace and harmony. And if you can't fine one make it up! You can conjure one up from a picture in a magazine or a place you saw on television. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between real and pretend. It is for this reason you can imagine yourself thin and free of your eating disorder (or whatever concerns you have) and the mind will grab the image, even if it is not real...yet. Dream big!
I knew that magical morning in the "Florida Room" my life was going to evolve even greater than it was. I knew I was going to grow my practice beyond South Florida. Just planting the seed and believing in my work set the wheels in motion. Today, I have realized my dreams and continue to each and every day. Life is magical and promising. I feel as serene as the deer in the woods...living in the now...enjoying the moment. When my day is filled with busyness (and it often is), I close my eyes and go where ever I want my mind to take me. And of course one of my "getaways" is looking out at the wildlife from the "Florida Room" in Wautoma, Wisconsin.
Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego