Can Hypnotherapy Help OCD Symptoms?

There is very limited scientific research on the long-term effects of hypnotherapy for OCD. A few case studies may discuss hypnotherapeutic strategies for OCD but it’s unclear if hypnotherapy has any lasting healing effects on the condition.

Proponents of hypnotherapy say that, theoretically, during the relaxed state of hypnosis, a person could safely address some of their OCD intrusive thoughts or obsessions.

For instance, a person with an intense fear of germs can consider these thoughts under hypnosis without experiencing the anxiety that usually accompanies them.

Then any insights achieved during the hypnosis state may be brought back to the conscious mind. This could allow you to discuss them with your therapist and work on coping skills to reduce the distress these thoughts cause.

There’s not much recent research that confirms if this is possible for most people with OCD.

A hypnotherapeutic approach – hypnotically induced dissociation (HID) – has been used to identify and address the dissociative symptoms of OCD with psychotic features.

Dissociation is the feeling of being disconnected from your emotions, thoughts, memories, actions, and sense of self. Some people with OCD experience dissociation, and research shows that dissociative symptoms are often present in people who don’t respond well to standard OCD treatments.

Researchers have found that HID may complement traditional OCD interventions such as CBT and EMDR. However, more studies are needed.