Trichotillomania is a word that most people have no idea what it means, and have no idea even how to pronounce it. But for thousands of people who have this condition, the behavior can have devastating effects in their life. Trichotillomania (TTM or Trich) is a disorder in which the person is compulsively pulling their hair. This can occur anywhere on the body. Some of the most common areas pulled are the eyelashes, eyebrows, and the scalp. Over the years it has been called a condition, an addiction, a habit, or an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Lately therapists are catagorizing it as a ”body focused repetitive behavior”. No one knows what really causes Trich. It can occur at any age, although most of the time it starts in grade school. It appears that stress, anxiety, and feeling out of control can cause Trich to occur. It is also thought that the pulling reduces stress and can be soothing at the time, although the hair loss results in more stress and anxiety. Children who have Trich soon begin to feel afraid of what others will think, and fear being found out. They look for ways to cover the areas without hair with hats, scarves, glasses, wigs and long sleeves. As the problem worsens they begin to feel guilt, shame, and of course different than the other kids, at a time when the child just wants to fit in. I have had clients that range from 8 years of age to clients in their 50′s (who were pulling since childhood). In each case traumatic or stressful events precipitated the pulling. I have found hypnosis to be extremely powerful in reducing and completely stopping the pulling. If you or someone you know has this problem that is controlling your life, consider hypnosis, it can be a life changing experience.
Much has been written about athletes using self-hypnosis to enhance and maximize their game, their competition, their endurance and stamina. Some sports psychologists agree that 90% of how we do in our sport is mental, and the physical follows. Many athletes get into the trap of over thinking the play, their reactions and actions, and become a victim of “ paralysis through analysis”. This kind of action gets in the way of letting our subconscious do what it can do best. We over ride the muscle memory and patterns that have been stored in the brain. Learning self-hypnosis helps us to picture the perfect swing, the perfect throw, dance step, or the perfect dive etc. The more we picture in our mind what we want to achieve, how to achieve it and see the perfect outcome, the more this behavior will become our reality. Self-hypnosis allows us to remain calm, focused and centered inside when we practice or compete. Hypnosis helps us improve our concentration, timing, and technique. It helps us to decrease outside distractions, allowing us to stay in the “zone”. I have seen amazing results in my clients using self-hypnosis. I have worked with clients in golf, baseball and softball, boxing, running, tennis, gymnastics, dance, soldiers preparing to pass their P.T. and other sports. When we rehearse our perfect moves, reactions and actions in our subconscious we are forming the future patterns for our muscles to follow when the event occurs. And of course practice makes perfect emotionally and physically. What we believe, we can achieve.
Recently I was called to a hospital in Tucson by a parent concerning their 4 year old son. The little boy had stopped swallowing any foods for about 16 days, he would not even swallow ice cubes. He had been admitted to the hospital the previous week due to acidosis from not eating or drinking. A month before he had caught a cold with lots of phlegm and drainage which had caused him to cough and have difficulty swallowing. He kept saying he was choking and started to refuse even his favorite foods and then refusing even liquids. He even started taking food out of his mouth and throwing it away and crying hysterically. He had lost weight and was becoming weaker and weaker. After admission IV’s were started, he had an endoscopy done to rule out any obstruction and was seen by a speech therapist. He was also seen and evaluated by 5 psychiatrists. After talking to his mother I found out which cartoons were his favorite, because I would use these fantasy friends in his therapy. I made up a story for him about Dora the Explorer, Boots, and Swiper. Of course the little boy was the most important character in the story. The mother started reading the script to him often and he listened to the CD while sleeping. Two days after he started listening to the CD he had eaten some chicken nuggets and yogurt. Two days later he was released from the hospital and sent home because he was eating and drinking. I talked with the mother two weeks later and he was doing much better, but would not feed himself. I explained that frequently children regress in their behavior when they have gone through a stressful time. I made a new CD for him based on his new behavior and within a couple of weeks he was feeding himself and had gained all his weight back. He has returned to a happy, healthy little boy. Children are in unintentional hypnosis until about eight years old and what they see, hear, and happens to them is true for them. That’s why he became so afraid to swallow anything. In his mind swallowing meant choking no matter what it was. In his CD’s I told him a fantasy story with suggestions related to his eating and swallowing. To children these stories are real and are accepted as real in their subconscious minds, causing the new behavior to occur.
Recently my brother had to have extensive abdominal surgery. Three years ago he had an acute and critical episode of pancreatitis, at times life threatening. The surgery he had was to remove organs damaged at that time which continued to cause him severe pain, were only partially working and were continuing to cause severe inflammation in his abdomen. He was told to expect a long surgery, (7-8 hours) in which they would remove his gallbladder, spleen, part of his bowel and part of his pancreas. He was told he would be at least a week in the hospital without complications and would need several weeks recovering. I made him a hypnosis CD to prepare him for this surgery which included pre-surgery, surgery and recovery suggestions. He listened to the CD a week before his surgery. His four doctors are amazed at how well he did. He had very little bleeding during the surgery even with all the inflammation. He was discharged on the fifth day after surgery with just oral pain medication. Every system was working perfectly upon discharge. A week after his surgery he had taken a half mile walk with his dog. In less than a week and a half he had started driving again and running errands. Two and a half weeks after the surgery he was working part time again. I have helped clients prepare for surgery for many years and in every case they did much better than anticipated by their doctors, they experienced less complications and their recovery was shorter. My brother’s experience is a prime example of the power of hypnosis when used in conjunction with medical procedures.
Many of us had dental visits as children that left us with traumas and fear of the dentist office. In many cases this was a time before “modern dentistry” began. Because of this many adults do not go to the dentist as often as they need to or ever in many cases. The very last place they will choose to go to is the dentist. Many of us go along just fine, and then in one visit we may develop an irrational fear of the dentist and never want to go back. We can develop phobias and fears anytime in our life. I have had clients that had to be given major drugs just for teeth cleaning. Some clients are so afraid that they become overcome with anxiety just thinking about making the appointment! I have had many clients that had terrible dental experiences, some just freaked out in the chair with no reason, or couldn’t have the dentist work in their mouth under any circumstances. Many of these people will do extremely well after hypnosis. In many cases the dentist can’t believe it is the same patient he has dealt with before. Many clients listen to a customized CD I make for them during the whole dental visit and remain calm and relaxed. Hypnosis allows the vital signs to remain normal, and the tongue and throat are relaxed as well, and clients can swallow easily. Many people fear that they can’t swallow during the dental work and this becomes a big problem for them, and hypnosis can help. So if you have been putting off dental visits due to old fears from the past (especially you baby boomers) try hypnosis and give yourself a happy smile.