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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Hypnotherapy and client suitability for the treatment of obesity Cochrane, Gordon John


This study investigated the suitability of hypnosis for the treatment of obesity. Client suitability was assessed by six concomitant variables and one additional variable that assessed imagery activity which occurred during hypnosis treatment. The imagery assessment was done immediately following treatment. The literature review indicated that to date only preliminary research exists on hypnosis as a treatment for obesity and that most studies have been anecdotal with little or no follow-up. The literature also revealed the need for controlled research to identify the characteristics of clients who can benefit from hypnosis treatment for obesity. The sample consisted of 60 women between the ages of 20 and 65 who were at least 20 percent overweight and were not in another treatment program. The sample was drawn from women in Regina, Saskatchewan and surrounding communities. The experimental groups, hypnosis plus audiotapes (Expau), hypnosis without audio-tapes (Expnau), and the control group (Expcont) were investigated on the basis of weight loss at a six month follow-up. The concomitant variables were suggestibility, as measured by the Barber Suggestibility Scale (BSS); self-concept, as measured by the Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS); quality of the families of origin, as measured by the Family History of Distress Scale (FAM), and age of obesity onset (AGE), education level (EDUC), and economic status (ECSTAT). Multi-modal imagery activity, as measured by the Representational Systems Inventory (RSI), was assessed with the two treatment groups. The dependent measure was weight loss. Analysis of Covariance revealed a significant difference in weight loss between the treatment groups (Expau and Expnau) and the control group (Expcont) but no significant difference between the two treatment groups. It was found that none of the concomitant variables nor imagery activity contributed to the variability in weight loss at the six month follow-up. Selected case studies suggest the importance of resolution of issues stemming from the family of origin, strong personal motivation, minimal ongoing relationship problems and a readiness to work on personal issues that seem related to obesity.

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