Trichotillomania, otherwise known as Compulsive Hair Pulling, is determined by an overwhelming urge to pull out one’s body hair. While the disorder was thought to be highly uncommon, it has been traced back to 1889. Nonetheless, trichotillomania wasn’t recognised as an actual disorder until 1987.

Today, it’s believed that between 2 – 4% of the Australian population suffer from compulsion. Sufferers of trichotillomania often feel ashamed, embarrassed or guilty about pulling their hair out and commonly keep the disorder hidden from family and friends. It is common for difficulties for compulsive hair pulling to begin in adolescence.

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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.

You can also book an appointment by using our online booking form for online appointments. Or, if you prefer, you can book an in-clinic session.

Self-hypnosis may also work well when used in conjunction with counselling. You can download our Hair Pulling Self Hypnosis recording from our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Symptoms of trichotillomania include repeated episodes of pulling out hair leading to hair loss along with recurrent efforts to decrease or cease hair pulling. The process itself is often accompanied by distress or impairments in engaging in important life pursuits such as work, study and relationships.

The sufferer may focus the hair removal on any body region where hair grows, including the scalp and facial area. The removal site may change over time, and individuals may find themselves engaged in the process for brief short bursts or more extended periods (i.e., hours) of time. The sufferer typically will conduct the hair pulling alone as they may feel embarrassed about it.

Trichotillomania can be a strategy that sufferers adopt to deal with stress and anxiety in their lives. Typically individuals report some short term relief from their distress following the hair removal ritual. Trichotillomania may co-occur alongside mood difficulties (i.e., depression) and other body-based repeated behaviours such as nail-biting.

The typical profile of someone with trichotillomania can vary from one sufferer to the next. However, A lot of research suggests a link between early trauma or abuse and developing the disorder. The results of a survey conducted by TLC Trust confirm this; in fact, a significant number of trichotillomania sufferers reported that they had been victims of physical or sexual abuse as children. Of course, this does not apply to everybody.

The trained psychotherapists at Bayside Psychotherapy will work hard to develop a positive therapeutic relationship so you may be able to work together collaboratively. By doing this, your counsellor may be able to understand more about your difficulties with trichotillomania. Current evidence indicates that a combination of behaviour and relaxation strategies may help reduce the symptoms and severity of trichotillomania; however, there is a need for further research into effective treatments for this condition. When you're ready, your therapist may offer a range of approaches to address your challenges. They may help define your goals and identify the most valuable strategies for reaching them. 

Treatment response time varies significantly and tends to relate to the quality of the therapeutic relationship and the client's readiness for change and commitment to change. Naturally, if you have struggled with trichotillomania for some time, it may take some time to fully address these difficulties. Some people find that listening to hypnosis recordings in between sessions may be helpful such as our  Hair Pulling Hypnosis MP3 download.

Call us today on (03) 9557 9113 or use our contact form to find out if we can help you work through the temptation to pull your hair. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.

Treatment is conducted confidentially via secure video conferencing. You can book using our online booking form to get started.

There’s also the option to book an appointment to come in and see us face-to-face at our Highett clinic. 

Note: This information is informative only and is not to be used for diagnosis or substitution of appropriate assessment and/or treatment by a registered practitioner. Information on this page and our entire site should not be construed as implying that our therapists are specialists in treating any condition whatsoever. While some of our therapists may have experience working with people suffering from a specific condition, not all of our therapists do. We do not guarantee any particular level of performance, cure or management of symptoms. Each case is unique and responds differently with collaboration between client and therapist being crucial. Always seek an appropriate assessment from a qualified professional such as a GP, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist or social worker especially if you are acutely distressed.

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Therapists who do online

  • Adam Szmerling
  • Carolina Selvarajoo
  • Humaira Ansari
  • Kelli Tranter
  • Lawrence Akers
  • Natalie Szmerling
  • Georgina Delamain

Therapists who do in-clinic

  • Adam Szmerling
  • Natalie Szmerling
  • Georgina Delamain