Food Phobias.

In a way, we can think of the mind as being a bit like a computer. It handles and stores information and also responds to information that comes in.

In a similar way it also has an amazing ability to learn. Sometimes this learning becomes a kind of programming. You may have heard of Pavlov’s dogs. Pavlov was a physiologist at the turn of the 20th century who went on to win the Nobel prize in 1904. He carried out an experiment which involved ringing a bell when he fed a pack of dogs. After repeating this for some time he found that the dog’s salivated when he rang the bell even though no food was present. This is what’s known as classical conditioning, a foundation concept in psychology.

We are constantly exposed to stimuli in the environment and can be conditioned in a similar way.

A simple example might be if we experienced a traumatic event whilst eating particular food, it might become a conditioned response to feel an aversion or even a phobia (irrational fear) towards that food. Sometimes the initial event may have been so long ago that we have forgotten and just can’t understand why the symptoms are there. The same mechanism can also work in the opposite way. We may have been rewarded with sweets or chocolate as a child and find as adults that we crave those foods, not realizing that it’s actually just a kind of program running in our mind. It’s usually very straightforward to resolve such things so that you react normally in future.

Selective Eating Disorder.

In some cases, the fear of eating particular foods becomes generalised so that the sufferer is only able to eat a very narrow range of foods, or even in some cases, only one food. This condition is known as selective eating disorder. This can lead to other problems associated with undernutrition and a great deal of anxiety as the sufferer feels self-conscious and unable to share and enjoy food in the way other people take for granted.  The good news is that selective eating disorder often responds very well to hypnotherapy. The problem exists due to a subconscious emotional reason and when this is corrected progress can be rapid, leading to a more normal relationship with food. It’s such a relief for S.E.D. clients to begin eating normally again, so I particularly enjoying helping people overcome this type of problem.

Treatment usually involves an initial 2 hour session with a follow up to assess and build on progress made. At no point will you be coerced or forced to eat or try anything that you do not feel comfortable with. We will usually know by the end of the first session whether we will be successful. If you have any questions about treatment for selective eating please fill in the contact form or alternatively call  the office.

Individual results may, of course, vary from person to person.