Normally I shake people’s hands when I meet them or when they come to my consulting room. Katie* though kept her hands in her coat pockets,
Katie couldn’t remember when she’d started or why, and she was worried “because if you don’t know why I started then you won’t know what to tell me what to do will you? And,” she added “it’s been going on that long I don’t know if I can stop anyway”.
I explained to Katie that most of the time we didn’t need to find out the cause for the nail biting for the hypnotherapy to be a success, and in fact looking for it is often distracting. Katie’s worries about the habit having gone on too long to stop were also unfounded. In fact because it had gone on so long, and now served no useful purpose at all, it would be even easier to break.
Katie’s third worry was that because she wasn’t always aware that she had started to bite her nails that they would always look chewed, even when she remembered to stop. In fact it was very easy to help Katie become aware of the moments when she did put her fingers to her mouth to bite her nails or skin. Once I had helped her to become aware of that it was easy again to help her enjoy the feeling of taking her fingers away before she had started to bite them, and to link that with the feelings of success she got when she imagined her fingers and nails looking unbitten and healthy.
When I spoke to Katie later about how she was getting on, she said she didn’t know which had surprised her more – only having to see me once, or having been for a manicure three times since!
Katie’s real identity has been protected, and she is happy to share her story of using hypnotherapy for nail biting to rid herself of her old habit.