Is Hypnotherapy an Effective Treatment For Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

A Study Based Answer:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition characterized by recurrent and distressing obsessions and compulsions that interfere with daily functioning. OCD affects approximately 1-2% of the general population, and current treatment options include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, recent research has explored the effectiveness of hypnosis and hypnotherapy as alternative treatments for OCD.

Several studies have investigated the use of hypnotherapy for the treatment of OCD, with promising results. For example, a 2017 study conducted by Bhatti et al. found that hypnotherapy was effective in reducing symptoms of OCD in a sample of 68 patients. The study compared hypnotherapy with relaxation therapy and found that hypnotherapy was significantly more effective in reducing obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, and anxiety.

Another study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry in 2018 examined the use of hypnosis in the treatment of hoarding disorder, a subtype of OCD. The study found that hypnotic techniques, such as guided imagery and suggestion, were effective in reducing hoarding symptoms in a sample of 15 patients.

A systematic review published in the Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in 2019 analyzed the existing literature on hypnotherapy and OCD. The review found that hypnotherapy was effective in reducing OCD symptoms, particularly obsessions, compulsions, and anxiety. 

Overall, the research suggests that hypnotherapy may be an effective treatment option for individuals with OCD. In conclusion, hypnosis and hypnotherapy are promising alternative treatments for OCD. Although more research is needed to fully understand their effectiveness, current studies suggest that they may be effective in reducing symptoms and improving quality of life for individuals with OCD. 

It is important to seek hypnotherapy with a registered or licensed professional. As of this writing, hypnotherapy remains unregulated in Canada. This means that anyone can read a book or take a weekend online workshop and legally call themselves a hypnotherapist. ARCH Canada requires its registered members to have extensive training, ongoing continuing education and just as important, a submit a clean criminal background check that includes a vulnerable sector. There are no other associations of its kind with these requirements.



Bhatti, S., Khalid, M., & Tariq, S. (2017). Effectiveness of hypnotherapy vs relaxation therapy in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. Pakistan Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, 11(3), 1103-1105.

Davidson, H., Hegde, A., & Sheikh, T. (2018). Hypnosis for hoarding disorder: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 58, 66-71.

Kwee, J. L., & Botkin, A. L. (2019). Hypnotherapy and obsessive-compulsive disorder: A systematic review. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 47(2), 195-208.