Biting nails may not seem like a life threatening bad habit, but habitual biting can still take a toll. It can create a negative image of yourself that you present to the world and even permanently disfigure your fingers. Not only that, but it is likely to be a manifestation of poorly managed anxiety or stress that you would be better off addressing.
Individuals develop problems with Onychophagia, or habitual nail biting for different reasons. For some nail biters, generalised anxiety acts like the psychological glue that makes the habit stick, they can’t stop themselves forcing them to habitually bite their nails.
Pressure in some situations can increase a person’s urge to bite their nails, and they may not even notice. For others, repressed pain or anxiety can manifest as in a nail-biting habit.
However, neither scenario represents a positive way of handling feelings — and compulsive nail biting behaviour can result in frustration and embarrassment, especially in children and young adults.
Multiple failed attempts to skin picking or to stop biting your nails mean the treatment approach isn’t targeting the root cause. Constant failure and feeling out of control can also lead to lowered self-esteem, making the situation worse and driving a person deeper into their nail biting habit.
What Causes Nail-Biting?
It’s not always sure why someone develops the habit of biting nails. However, it typically stems from childhood and may accelerate during adolescence.
People who excessively bite their nails typically do it out of impatience, frustration or boredom. Although, nail-biting can also occur during moments of intense concentration while stressed or anxious.
Nail-biting can also be associated with mental health conditions: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and Tourette’s syndrome.
Breaking The Habit – Habit Reversal Therapy
The good news is, no matter how deeply ingrained your nail nibbling habit is, or and how many times you’ve tried to stop, you have the potential to break it.
The trained therapists at Bayside Psychotherapy possess the tools that may help you to stop chewing your nails; with counselling and habit reversal hypnotherapy. They may work with you to find the reasons behind your habit and have the ability to teach you strategies to put you back in control. We may be able to help you face-to-face in our Highett clinic in Melbourne or from the comfort of your own home via secure online sessions.
How Can Hypnotherapy Help Someone With Nail Biting?
Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for nail biting and can break the habit for good. Through hypnotherapy, individuals can use behavioural therapy to address and identify the root causes.
One of the primary techniques used in hypnotherapy is introducing positive suggestions. While under hypnosis, a therapist can reinforce the desire to stop nail biting by presenting affirmations and visualisations of healthy nails. This method not only strengthens the intent to quit but also boosts self-confidence, as nail biting can sometimes be linked to low self-esteem.
Another significant aspect of hypnotherapy is behavioural change in treating nail biting. The goal is to replace the act of nail biting with a more positive or neutral behaviour. For instance, instead of biting nails when anxious, one might learn to clench a fist or practise deep breathing.
How Does Bayside Psychotherapy Approach Treatment for Nail-biting?
At Bayside Psychotherapy, we use a tailored approach to treatment, rather than one-size-fits-all band-aid solutions. After the first consultation, our therapist’s design customised programs to suit clients’ needs, and evaluate their progress regularly to make sure it’s having an effect.
Our experienced counsellors have training in a variety of counselling methods, including psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, NLP, mindfulness therapy and Buddhist psychotherapy. They may choose from a wide range of tools to help you work on both the conscious and unconscious levels of your mind, which possibly gives you a better chance of lasting success.
Hypnotherapy is a popular treatment for nail-biting, possibly because people think it will deliver a quick fix. However, it may be more effective to make a deeper exploration of the issues underlying bad habits through counselling and psychotherapy. Our aim is to find the best methods for you, so you may discover lasting inner peace and outer composure unmarred by this annoying habit.
Is it time for you to seek help?
Contact us for more details by calling (03) 9557 9113 to make a confidential face-to-face or online appointment here.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
It’s natural to want short term treatment especially since nail biting is regarded as just a minor and inconsequential vice. But everyone’s personal history is unique, and everyone responds to therapy differently. Some clients may find significant relief from nail-biting after just a few sessions, while others may need more time. You may find that addressing this ‘visible’ symptom of anxiety has more expansive positive effects on your mental health. If nail biting is serving a purpose as an outlet for something buried in your subconscious, it may take longer to tease out the cause and effect by analysing unconscious formations like dreams, slips of the tongue and other unconscious patterns.
If you prefer to begin immediately, we suggest downloading our self-hypnosis MP3 recording for nail-biting, which may also enhance the effects of your therapy sessions.
The social cost of nail-biting is real, and not addressing compulsive stress-related habits can mean they cause more problems over time.
Do you have any questions for us? Get in touch with us through our online contact form.
Call Bayside Psychotherapy on (03) 9557 9113 to find out if we’re able to help you. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.
Self-hypnosis may also work well when used in conjunction with counselling. You can download our Nail-Biting Self Hypnosis recording from our website.
Note: Whilst we will do our best to assist you, we rely on our clients’ full commitment to and participation in the treatment process to optimise results. Although some of our therapists work with people presenting with trauma, no guarantees of any outcomes can be made.
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