Hair Pulling or Trichotillomania

Hallie Condit MSW, LICSW

Kirkland, Washington

(425) 462- 2799

condit-therapist@earthlink.net

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Symptoms of Hair Pulling (Trichotillomania)

We provide effective treatment for hair pulling and trichotillomania with cognitive behavioral therapy. The Comprehensive Model for Behavioral Treatment is an effective therapy to treat these problems.

Do you experience any of these thoughts, behaviors, or symptoms?

Inability to resist urges to pull out your hair?
Mounting tension before you pull out your hair?
Gratification and relaxation when pulling out your hair?
A feeling of relief after pulling out your hair?
Noticeable hair loss?
Increased distress and/or interference with your daily life?

To learn more about how I can help you with these symptoms, please call
(425) 462-2799.

You can also send me an e-mail at
condit-therapist@earthlink.net
.

What Does Trichotillomania Look Like?

Some people pull out enough hair that they create bald spots on their heads. They go to great lengths to cover these areas with hairstyles, scarves, wigs, or makeup.
Others may be missing eyelashes, eyebrows, pubic, underarm, beard, chest, leg or other body hair, which they may camouflage with makeup, clothing, or other means.

People frequently pull their hair out while reading, writing, working on the computer, talking on the phone, watching TV, or falling asleep.

Some people are conscious of what they are doing and others are not. Most people pull their hair out in private, but some will pull mindlessly in public while doing one of the above activities.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that seeks to alter behavior by identifying the factors that trigger symptoms. CBT teaches skills to interrupt and redirect responses to those triggers.

CBT should be performed by a psychotherapist trained in this method. The therapist will encourage hair pullers to develop an increased awareness of the times of day, emotional states, and other factors that promote urges to pull out hair.

Increased awareness is an important first step to being able to control the behavior. Some hair pullers have had success with simple behavioral devices such as putting bandages on their fingers to interfere with pulling, keeping records of their hair pulling, or changing environmental cues that can trigger symptoms.

The Comprehensive Model for Behavioral Treatment

This is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be a successful treatment for these types of problems. This treatment model has four categories:

Sensory - how does it physically feel when I pull my hair?
Cognitive - what thoughts I am having?
Affective - what emotions I am having?
Motor - what do I do with my hands when I pull my hair?
Place/environment - what environment am I usually in when I pull my hair?

After a thorough assessment, we explore how each of the above categories relates to an individual's symptoms. Then we suggest strategies for each category to help the person better manage the problem.

Source: The Trichotillomania Learning Center.


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