Nail biting is related to skin picking and hair pulling. These behaviors are labeled as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders. Nail biters often keep their hands hidden behind their backs. Nail biters often feel shame and experience out-of-control feelings at times. They often wonder why they are not able to stop biting their nails and they often question whether or not they are sane.

Biting often happens when nail biters are in one of two modes. Some biters do it in an automatic way, as if they are in a trance and not really thinking about what they are doing. It is often when they are involved in some other activity at the same time such as watching TV or working on the computer, etc. For others, the deliberate picking or biting is their main activity at the time, and they will frequently interrupt other activities to engage in it.

There is also a strong commonality seen in the various purposes behind hair pulling, skin picking and nail biting. At a very basic level, they satisfy an urge. Many people report an uncontrollable compulsion to do them. Biting, picking or pulling also seems to deliver a pleasurable or relaxed sensation.

When sufferers feel stressed, pulling, picking or biting has a kind of soothing effect on them and reduces levels of stimulation. On the other hand, when they are bored or inactive, they seem to provide a needed level of stimulation to the nervous system. This probably accounts for why so many people who dislike doing them find it so hard to give them up. It simply "feels good" at the time no matter what.

Even if you have more than one of these problems, do not give up. These behaviors can be overcome if you have the motivation. More important is learning to "de-stigmatize" yourself. You are not crazy, helpless, morally weak or totally out of control, even though you may feel like some or all of these things at times. Once you realize that you are just a person who simply happens to have a problem, you can start to make some serious progress.

Skin picking and nail biting are chronic problems, so there is not currently a "cure" but you can find relief if you are willing to work at it. Hypnosis for nail biting consists of three parts.

Therapy For Nail Biting

To start with, nail biting is a stress related habit. So the first part of the hypnotic therapy is to teach the nail biter how to be more relaxed at all times. To that end, I believe that traditional hypnosis, Ericksonian hypnosis, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques can be quite effective. That's because the very essence of hypnosis is relaxation. The sufferer can learn to apply several different methods to enhance both the relaxed state, as well as his/her overall feeling of well-being.

The second part teaches the individual awareness of this unconscious habit. Suggestions are given to the unconscious mind to make the conscious mind aware that you are bringing your hand towards your mouth for the purpose of biting your nails. Then you get to consciously decide whether or not you are actually going to bite them.

There are several other powerful hypnosis and NLP methods. For example, we can help the client to set up an "Anchor" or trigger so that he/she can momentarily disassociate. This is an effective technique that will effectively relieve the compulsion.

The third part of the therapy is to eliminate the compulsion to bite the nails. There are hypnotic methods that actually program the client with a compulsion to not bite.

With the nail biting behavior, being realistic is very important. First, you have probably rehearsed the unwanted behavior hundreds or even thousands of times. You need to accept that the urge to bite your nails will not be overcome in a few days.

Second, you are fighting the fact that biting your nails feels good to do, and it offers a lot of short-term satisfaction and either stimulation or soothing feelings. It takes time and effort to master, but I believe it is worth it. Experience has shown a number of methods to be extremely effective!

Author's Bio: 

Alan B. Densky, CH is a certified hypnotist specializing in stress related problems. He offers NLP CDs that eliminate the nail biting compulsion. Contact him at the Neuro-VISION Hypnosis website. Visit his FREE hypnosis article library, or download his MP3s.