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Kate Middleton's Food Aversion Therapy: Leading Hypnotist George Bien Explains

Kate MiddletonBritain's sweetheart, Kate Middleton, has developed an acute aversion to food and is doing something to stop it.

The duchess, who is expecting her first child this summer, isundergoing hypnosis to manage her hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), or acute morning sickness.

She has been suffering severely from food aversion, even spending some time in the hospital last month. "Kate still looks at food and feels nauseous," Jessica Hay, a friend, told Australia's New Idea Magazine. "She's been plagued with that feeling you have when you've had food poisoning and your stomach's shrunk."

HG causes severe nausea and vomiting, which leads to dehydration. But how effective can hypnotherapy be in treating HG?

We spoke with Dr. George Bien, a world-renowned hypnosis expert who has appeared on programs such as First Edition, NBC News, and Inside Edition, and explained why food aversions develop and how hypnosis can help.


via Flickr SapphoWeTrust
Wax figures of William and Kate at Madame Tussaud's in New York.

"Andrew Zimmern, of Bizarre Foods, can eat poisonous toads, stewed tuna eyes, and raw goat testicles, yet most of us would get nauseous simply at the thought of such a meal," Dr. Bien says. "It can definitely be due to a person's physical makeup, their predisposition. However, many times it is about their programmed association to certain foods. This is where hypnosis can help."

Dr. Bien explains that Middleton may be suffering from "taste aversion."

"If there is a food that makes a person feel sick on sight, it could very well be due to taste aversion. This actually stems from a basic survival instinct that helps keep one from eating poisonous foods. We learn by repetition, association, and trauma. Trauma is the most powerful of the three. Case in point: someone gets sick soon after eating cherries. The cherries might have had nothing to do with the person's sickness. However, because of the association, the person could develop an aversion to the taste of cherries. Then the simple thought of cherries could be repulsive and nauseating."

So let's say that Middleton had Yorkshire pudding for breakfast one morning then proceeded to puke her guts out. Even if the vomiting was pregnancy-related and had nothing to do with the pudding itself, she would still start associating the pudding with feeling sick and develop an aversion to it? Yes.

"The subconscious mind does not differentiate between fantasy and reality. Hypnosis helps break down inhibitions that hold one back in life. Hypnosis helps overcome conditioned learning, and opens an avenue to new experiences and possibilities. It helps bypass logic and reason, and engages the subconscious mind -- the "Seat of the Emotions." It helps establish new associations, hence a new reality."

We asked Dr. Bien how likely it is that hypnotherapy will be successful in Kate's situation. "If the Duchess of Cambridge, who can afford to get help from the best of the best, chooses to work with a hypnotist, there must be a good reason for her to do so."

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