Perhaps you’ve seen this scenario on TV: An entertainer—a self-proclaimed hypnotist—stands on stage, arms open, and invites people from the audience to join him in the spotlight. The hypnotist then takes out a pocket watch and slowly oscillates it in front of the volunteers’ eyes. “Sleepy…you’re getting v-e-r-y sleepy,” he says.
Minutes later, he snaps his fingers. One person starts barking like a dog. Snap! Another starts unbuttoning her pants. The audience laughs as the group on-stage gets sillier and sillier.
This is, of course, the stereotype of hypnosis, which is why using it for something as serious as weight loss might sound far-fetched. But believe it or not, many people have sought out hypnotists to help them adjust their relationship to food and fitness. And many people have found great success.
It begs the question: When this technique is facilitated by a medical professional, like a psychologist or psychiatrist,…