Is Hypnotherapy an Effective Treatment for Trichotillomania?

A Study Based Answer:

Trichotillomania, commonly referred to as hair pulling disorder, is an impulse control disorder that involves recurrent and irresistible urges to pull out hair from one’s own body. It can affect any body part with hair, but it is most commonly found in the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. For obvious reasons, this disorder can cause significant distress and impairment in social, occupational, and other areas of functioning, making it difficult for individuals to maintain their quality of life. Hypnotherapy has been utilized for decades as a treatment for trichotillomania, and studies have investigated the effectiveness in reducing hair pulling behaviors.

Several studies have explored the effectiveness of hypnosis and hypnotherapy as a treatment for trichotillomania. A study by Keuthen et al. (2007) found that hypnotherapy, combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy, was effective in reducing hair pulling behaviors among individuals with trichotillomania. The study included 32 participants who received 6-12 sessions of hypnotherapy over a period of 12 weeks. The results showed a significant decrease in hair pulling behaviors, as well as improvements in quality of life and psychological distress.

Another study by Novak et al. (2019) investigated the use of self-hypnosis in reducing hair pulling behaviors among individuals with trichotillomania. The study included 22 participants who were trained to use self-hypnosis for 4 weeks. The results showed a significant reduction in hair pulling behaviors and improvements in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

A systematic review by Grant (2014) examined the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for trichotillomania and found that it was a promising treatment option. The review included 10 studies that investigated the use of hypnotherapy for trichotillomania, and the results showed significant reductions in hair pulling behaviors among participants.

These are just a few of the study findings that demonstrate hypnotherapy is a useful treatment for trichotillomania. It is strongly recommended that hypnotherapy be only pursued 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.




Grant, J. E. (2014). Hypnotherapy for trichotillomania: A systematic review. Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 3(1), 30-33.


Keuthen, N. J., Tung, E. S., Woods, D. W., Franklin, M. E., Altenburger, E. M., Pauls, D. L., & Flessner, C. A. (2007). Replication study of the milwaukee study on adult trichotillomania: Results from a multisite controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68(5), 776-783.


Novak, C. B., Haley, G., Fox, J. R., & Kirsch, I. (2019). Self-hypnosis for trichotillomania: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 62(1), 22-34.