Most people do not understand what kleptomania really means. They think it is just about being a thief, or stealing something. But most of the time, kleptomaniacs do not actually care that much about the items they steal. They care about the process of stealing – the excitement, the thrill, the kick, the emotions it makes them feel.
And that leads to the next question: why do they get these feelings in the first place? Why are they so attracted to the risk of getting caught? There are famous cases of people who stole things they could easily have afforded. Millionaires who stole watches that are worth just a couple hundred dollars. And it’s not because they are stingy, or because they don’t want to spend the money. It’s because they crave the excitement.
Kleptomania is not something that is well thought through and planned – it is something that happens in the spur of a moment. All of the sudden, the person feels an urgent impulse to just take something and walk out of the shop.
There are different ways to treat kleptomania. A common method is behaviour modification therapy. Sometimes it is family therapy. Some psychiatrists like to use medication to help people cope with unpleasant feelings of anxiety, depression or anger. And then there is psychoanalysis, where a therapists usually helps a client to dig deep into his or her past and find out what causes their behaviour, and why they feel the way they do.
The problem with psychoanalysis is usually that people (including the therapist) get carried away with the fascination of finding the reason why something is wrong. And instead of coming up with a solution, they use the reasons to justify their behaviours, at least on a subconscious level.
And medication? It usually not just erases the emotions that people don’t want to experience, but also has other psychological side effects, such as decreased overall ability to experience emotions.
And that’s the reason why hypnosis is such a good treatment for kleptomania – because with hypnosis, you can start to realize that just like everybody else, you have certain emotional needs. People want to be recognized, they want attention, stimulation and they want a certain amount of adventure. We don’t just live on food and sleep. We human beings are just more complex than that. But there are good ways and bad ways of trying to fulfill our needs. And I guess you already know into which category stealing things just for the thrill of it falls. Hypnosis helps you to come up with alternative ways of fulfilling your emotional needs – ways that lead to a more happy life, so that you do not need to do these crazy things anymore to feel good about yourself and your life. Think about it – isn’t it almost as if you are in some kind of trance state when you steal something? You feel different, your perceive different, you think different – it is an altered state of consciousness. And that is exactly what hypnosis is too.