Get on top of your IBS

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a structured programme aimed at reducing your IBS symptoms and giving you more control over the condition.

Sessions include both review and guided hypnosis, with a recording from the session to use between appointments. Research findings are based on a six-week course of sessions.

No medication, side-effects or on-going costs.

I am now pretty much free of the debilitating effects of my IBS – I can 100% attribute this to Antonia’s work with me.


What happens during a programme of gut-directed hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy starts with relaxation. Ahead of our first appointment I will send you a relaxation recording that includes a progressive muscle relaxation technique that we’ll use in subsequent appointments.

Our first session is about you and your IBS. A ‘getting to know you’ session. Your symptoms and problems and what has or hasn’t been working for you, so that it’s clear what we need to target to set things right. We’ll review how a normal gut works and what’s different in an IBS gut.

Our first, and subsequent sessions, will include hypnosis. This can be either seated or lying down – both are equally good – and no special clothes are required. I’ll start by asking you to relax your muscles and let your thoughts drift and dream. I’ll then ask you to imagine a very relaxing scene and other peaceful concepts. Once fully relaxed I will introduce thoughts and specific metaphors to help you learn to bring your IBS under control.

Many IBS sufferers have a mental picture of what’s going on inside. By looking at how you visualise your symptoms we can explore how you might see these images in positive ways.

We’ll review progress throughout the programme. By mutual arrangement I may contact you between sessions to see how you’re getting on.

Clinical trials into the effectiveness of gut-directed hypnotherapy are based on the results of six sessions. You are, of course, not obliged to have six sessions and are welcome to arrange appointments on a session by session basis.

Some people experiencing exceptionally severe or persistent symptoms may need up to twelve sessions.

Appointments can be either in-person in Bristol, or online on zoom from the comfort of your home or workplace. Research has shown that online sessions of gut-directed hypnotherapy are effective. Online can be a good option for people who don’t wish to travel.

I have more questions – how can I find out more?

There are Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page, and am always happy to chat. Please see the Bookings & Contact page for details.

How do I book?

Private Healthcare cash plans that may cover gut-directed hypnotherapy:

Medicash, The Heath Insurance Group, Pure Benefits, Westfield Health, Health Shield, Elect, and Paycare. Please check your individual policy for details.

Before having gut-directed hypnotherapy please seek a medical diagnosis of your gut issue from your doctor. Results are not guaranteed and will vary by individual.

Book a free 30-minute Calm Your Gut Consultation

Book a free, no-obligation consultation with me to find out how I can help your IBS symptoms

Book for the gut-directed hypnotherapy programme

To minimise your IBS symptoms and reduce the impact of IBS on your life

Change is possible: let me show you how. Sharing this technique to reduce IBS symptoms and seeing people’s lives transformed in the process is why I do the work I do

Antonia Gooder

Frequently Asked Questions

Is IBS all in the mind?

In the past, IBS was often downplayed by doctors. It was treated as a mere nuisance and viewed as being more imagined than real. There is now wide recognition that IBS is a real problem of gut function, with multiple complex causes and manifestations.

What causes IBS?

It’s not known what causes IBS but once established it can be triggered or made worse by many aspects of normal life. It can turn life into a juggling act trying to second guess how the gut will behave and how to limit pain and distress.

What is the GUT-BRAIN axis?

The gut and brain are closely connected through the nervous, immune and the endocrine systems, with the vagus nerve a key physical link between the two. What happens in one organ can have significant knock-on consequences in the other, affecting both how the gut functions and our moods. IBS has been described as a common disorder of the gut-brain connection.

How does gut-directed hypnotherapy work?

Gut-focused hypnotherapy is a type of behavioural therapy. It trains you to use your thoughts to alter how you experience and respond to your IBS symptoms. In the way that thinking anxious thoughts might mean you feel butterflies in your stomach, targeted thought can produce a physical and emotional response in other areas too, and here we apply it to help with IBS.

Thinking about changing my IBS has not helped me up to now. What is different about gut-directed hypnotherapy?

You will be learning to think and importantly, to react in a different way, and then applying that knowledge in the deep state of focused learning that can be reached so successfully in a hypnotic trance.  Hypnosis is a different, elastic state of mind in which we are more willing to adapt our behaviour. This can lead to new and rapid change.

What is it like being in a trance?

When you go into a hypnotic trance you slip into a day-dream-like state in which you become focused on the thoughts in your head rather than on the world around you. It’s actually very normal and pleasant: you might drift into a light trance many times a day, lost in thought when washing–up or reading a book.

In a trance state, even though your focus is elsewhere, you are still aware of what’s around you and able to fully re-engage with the real world in an instant. When hypnotised you are more open to suggestions, to trying out new things but, contrary to what some people think, you cannot be asked to do anything against your will and there’s no involuntary loss of control. You remain in charge.

Is it difficult to do?

Gut-Directed hypnotherapy is a very gentle and relaxing technique. It’s something that people look forward to!

The early sessions cover the skills and insights needed for the technique to be effective, you progress to rehearsing those skills so you become skilled at embedding them fully.

How do I know it will work?

Based on published medical research findings NICE (National Institute of Care and Clinical Excellence) recommends hypnotherapy as a treatment for people with continuing IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months. The links to the medical research on gut-focused hypnotherapy are given below.

I take medicine for my IBS. Is that a problem?

Medications are not needed for Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy, but equally if you are on medication it will not interfere with this treatment.

What is Limbic System Dominance?

Having to cope with a chronic disease can mean that the limbic system, the part of your brain associated with keeping you safe, starts to play an overly prominent role in your thinking. It can promote negative ways of thinking and behaving that make matters worse and promote cycles of illness.

Will it work for SIBO and IMO?

A new area of research has suggested that about 70% of IBS sufferers may have areas of bacterial overgrowth in the gut. These conditions are called IMO (intestinal methanogen overgrowth) and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.) Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy can potentially help with the symptoms of both of these conditions where symptoms are similar to IBS.