Hypnotherapy for habits and addictions

Types of Habits

The four most common classes of habit dealt with in hypnotherapy, although a wide range of additional habit disorders exist, are:

  • nail-biting (over 50% lifetime prevalence)
  • hair-pulling (10% lifetime prevalence)
  • stuttering (2-5% prevalence of chronic sufferers)
  • nervous tics (about 1% prevalence)

Other habits include nose-picking, itch-scratching, knuckle-cracking, finger-tapping, cigarette-smoking (see Stop Smoking section), alcohol-drinking, chocolate-munching, coffee-guzzling, swearing, shouting, apologizing, etc.

Treatment consists of “habit reversal training”

Treatment consists of “habit reversal training”, or the installation of a “counter-habit” or “competing response”; in other words, creating a new positive habit that is mutually incompatible with the one you wish to stop.

“I came to see Deborah because of my bad posture.  I had got checked and was told that it was simply a habit I had of rounding my shoulders and pushing my head forward, but I was getting neck and shoulder problems that were even turning into carpel tunnel syndrome down in my wrist!  Within two visits I had made significant improvement in both relaxing my tight muscles and remembering to be straight; the hypnosis recording really helped.”

– Jonathan W.

Results are generally very good with a single two-hour session of habit-reversal treatment reinforced with hypnotherapy.

Habits are powerful, but it is precisely because a habit works so forcefully that the treatment of a variety of conditions by installing counter-habits can be so lasting, powerful and effective.

Important components in treatments include

  • awareness training
  • competing response practice
  • social support
  • thought stopping training
  • hypnosis


Many of us suffer from mild to moderate addictions. Whether it is the internet, food, sex, gambling, sugar, drinking or drugs, these addictions are reflex responses to feeling anxious, bored, restless, stressed or upset; sometimes the triggering factor is simply feeling that life is not offering enough satisfaction.  These habits provide relief and reduce stress, while sometimes bringing a pleasurable experience as well.

“My sweet tooth was really getting me into trouble.  I could never resist getting dessert whenever we went to a restaurant, and at the buffets in the big Abu Dhabi hotels I couldn’t stop myself from getting a taste of ALL the desserts.  Thanks to Deborah I have that under control, and my weight is going down!  I look and feel so much better.

I do not treat severe dependencies, and refer such clients to medical professionals specialized in this type of issue.


Treatment consists of:

  • Maintaining a habit diary
  • Developing awareness of triggering situations
  • Self monitoring and developing self awareness
  • Using hypnosis to increase motivation, rehearse situations to create positive automatic reflexes, develop a more positive self image
  • Deep relaxation training to lower reactivity to triggers
  • Self hypnosis training to build confidence and lower tension
  • Replacing unhelpful beliefs with more helpful ones
  • Planning to avoid and handle trigger situations

Treatment takes 4 to 6 sessions.