Aversion Therapy Hypnosis

This lesson from Stephen Brooks discusses the use of disgust in aversion therapy hypnosis and looks at how disgust can be a powerful motivator.


Aversion Therapy Hypnosis – the power of disgust.

Disgust enables us to move away from things we do not like towards things that we do like. It has been used in aversion therapy for many years and is even more powerful if applied in hypnosis. Although not used as often these days it is still sometimes used in smoking cessation and weight control as it can be a powerful motivator of human behaviour. Disgust motivates us because inherent within the experience of disgust is the implication of illness and disease and it is our survival mechanism that kicks in to motivate us away from the stimulus. Hypnosis magnifies our hard-wired response to disgust, which is why it is so effective in re-programming behaviour in hypnotherapy practice.

Here is a little experiment you can try with a group of friends.

  1. Give each of your friends a glass of water and ask them to take a sip and then ask them to describe that experience.
  2. Next ask them to take a sip of water again but this time to hold the water in their mouth and then spit it back into the glass. Ask them again to describe their experience.
  3. Next ask them to take a sip of water from the same glass that they just spat into. Notice their reaction. Then ask them to describe the experience again.
  4. Then lastly, tell them to pass their glass to the person next to them and ask them how they feel now about taking a sip of water from their neighbour’s glass.

This is a great exercise for teaching people about the power of disgust. The bizarre thing is, that if you meet a person whom you find sexually attractive, you will probably spend the whole night kissing and swapping spit with them.

Stephen Brooks




The British Hypnosis Research and Training Institute is based at Birkbeck College in the University of London and was founded at the University of Cambridge in 1979 as a research association. We were the first organisation to offer Ericksonian Hypnosis courses in Europe and our combined International ‘Ericksonian Hypnosis University Summer School’ and online distance learning training has evolved from the courses we have taught in more than 20 hospitals and universities during this time.

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