Gut Conditions

Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS), is a functional abdominal disorder, (not caused by an discernible organic disease), that affects 1 in 5 people. Although it is not life threatening, it can severely affect a suffers quality of life.Unfortunately, the general perception of IBS is a nuisance rather than serious and is largely psychological. It is not uncommon the general public as well as some health professionals to view IBS as a minor inconvenience. Most are unaware that the symptom severity is different for everyone and that some suffers are severely debilitated.

Symptoms of IBS:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Distension
  • Excess wind (flatulence)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both)
  • Other gastro-intestinal symptoms
  • Functional Gastric/Abdominal Pain
  • Functional Bloating
  • Functional Dyspepsia
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GORD)
  • Functional Heart Burn
  • Non-cardiac Chest Pain
  • Rumination
  • Coeliac Disease
  • Encopresis/Incontinence
  • Cyclic Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Aerophagia
  • Abdominal Migraine
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Other gut related disorders

The Brain-Gut Connection

The cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS} and functional gut problems are unknown,
although a number of possibilities have been suggested, including diet or bacterial infection. While not causing the problem, stress and anxiety can greatly worsen the frequency and severity of the symptoms, and the way a person copes with the pain and symptoms. Studies also suggest anxiety may actually maintain the gut problems. Even if you do not feel stressed / anxious or believe in hypnotherapy, it can still be very effective.

There are strong connections in the nervous system between the brain and the gastrointestinal system (Brain-Gut Axis}.Both our gut and our brain originate early in embryo from the same clump of tissue, which divides during foetal development. Later the brain and gut systems connect via a major nerve (called the Vagus nerve}. Although both systems are separate, they are influenced by the same bodily chemicals, or neurotransmitters. The gut system sends and receives signals from the brain, records experiences and responds to emotions. The brain signals to the gut system via nerves that carry messages and control the pattern of activity in the gut In functional bowel disorders, there may be a disruption in this communication between the two systems resulting in altered functioning and hypersensitivity.

The cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and functional gut problems are unknown, although a number of possibilities have been suggested, including diet or bacterial infection. While not causing the problem, stress and anxiety can greatly worsen the frequency and severity of the symptoms, and the way a person copes with the pain and symptoms. It can be difficult for some people to identify that they are stressed or not coping well. However, hypnotherapy for IBS can work, regardless of whether you believe you are stressed or anxious or not.

No. It is not all in your head, and you are not making it up. Gut problems are very real and have very physical symptoms. At The Gut Centre we understand the complex nature of gut issues and the debilitating affects they can have, not just physically, but also emotionally and psychologically.

Most of us know that going through a stressful time can often result in our tummy’s and bowels being affected. This change takes place through the Brain- Gut Axis mentioned in Brain Gut Connection menu.This happens when stress activates the release of the hormone called Corticotropin-Releasing Factor (CRF). Activation of CRF results in inhibiting (slowing down) upper gastrointestinal (GI} and stimulation of lower GI Motor function. This stimulation of the lower GI results in an increase in gut motility and movement through the bowel, and can also result in diarrhoea. Stress can also result in alteration of the intestinal barrier function (the barrier that keeps bad bugs out) and also increases the sensitivity to colorectal distension (makes the gut more sensitive).


Yes. Hypnotherapy is safe and there are no known negative side effects. You can also be re-assured that our Gut Centre Psychologists have been trained in medical hypnotherapy. At The Gut Centre we provide only evidence-based hypnotherapy treatment which has undergone many years of research with a 70-80% efficacy. Our hypnotherapy treatment program follows the protocol developed by leading UK Gastroenterologist, Prof Peter Whorewell. You are welcome to have a read of some excellent research articles for further validation, please see below link.

You may have heard or seen strange things about hypnosis on television. This promotes a belief that you might lose control and do silly things whilst hypnosised. With ‘stage’ hypnosis, the performer relies heavily on the person’s willingness to act in amusing ways to entertain the crowds. It is not possible to hypnotise anyone against their will. With medical hypnotherapy, you are totally aware of what is being said during a hypnotherapy session and at no time do you lose control.

As there is no structural damage to the bowel, functional bowel problems like IBS can be influenced by the mind through the brain gut interaction. Hypnotherapy works by helping individuals learn mental skills and techniques to develop control over the physiological mechanisms influencing the gut - these mechanisms are not normally under conscious control. These may produce changes that occur in the gut itself. Alternatively, as in the case of pain, hypnotherapy may also retrain the brain to reinterpret or ignore the incoming sensory signals. Gut Focused Hypnotherapy was developed by a Professor of Gastroenterology Prof Peter Whorewell approximately 25 years ago in the United Kingdom. Since that time, it has been successfully used to treat functional bowel disorders including IBS.

In fact, clinical practice along with multiple research studies using gut directed hypnotherapy (GFH) have demonstrated a reduction in symptom severity or a total removal of symptoms, along with improved emotional wellbeing, coping, and quality of Iife.

Hypnotherapy is quite simple, all that is required is to sit down and listen to the therapist. Clients report feeling comfortable and relaxed and being aware of what is being said to them the entire time. It is simply helping you to enter a very deep state of relaxation, allowing the therapist to access your sub-conscious mind to bring about the desired positive changes. We offer a professional environment, where you can feel safe, relaxed and at ease during hypnosis. Psychological counselling and treatments are also an important component of the sessions in order to maximise a positive outcome.

That's fine. Hypnotherapy is one psychological treatment for IBS or functional gut problems. At the Gut Centre we also utilise Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or mindfulness based therapy that have been shown in multiple studies to be effective in managing gut symptoms and the psychological distress.

We utilise Hypnotherapy to also treat upper gastrointestinal symptoms including Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) Globus (lump in throat feeling), Reflux, Heart burn, Non-cardiac chest pain, Rumination, Cyclic/Vomiting, and Gastroparesis. Hypnotherapy has also been
demonstrated to be effective as an adjunct/complimentary therapy in Inflammatory
Bowel Disease (Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis).

Psychological Therapies

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) aims to identify patterns of behaviour and thinking that lead to negative emotions. These emotions can sometimes hinder progress toward desired life goals. CBT is one of the most studied techniques involving a mind–body intervention for reducing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). “The therapist and patient collaborate to identify distorted cognitions, which are derived from maladaptive beliefs or assumptions. These cognitions and beliefs are subjected to logical analysis and empirical hypothesis testing which leads individuals to realign their thinking with reality.” CBT attempts to reduce physical symptoms by assessing the association between physical sensations, thought, emotions and physiological responses. Interpretation of abdominal discomfort for IBS can lead to actions that involve seeking medical consultation, hyper vigilance toward bodily sensations and increased physiological arousal and anxiety. CBT then teaches patients about how to reframe their minds so that their evaluations and judgements about their symptoms aren’t so harsh. When CBT is used for treatment it usually consists of five steps.

The first step is to educate. Education about the underlying pathogenesis of functional bowel diseases and the relationship between physiological and physical symptoms, and how the effect of stress can impact on the intestinal tract. The CBT model of treatment is closely looked at along with the patient. There will eventually come a time when the patients is asked to record their emotions and symptoms which include their perceived relation to each other. Later, the patient and therapist work together to try and identify the underlying assumptions and thought related or, or are influencing their symptoms. Stress management techniques are formulated and practiced. Lastly, the patients are encouraged to re-engage themselves with foods/activities that they have been avoiding, and monitor their actual symptoms in order to monitor their learned response.


We can recommend an excellent and diverse range of specialist dietician’s to suit your particular gastrointestinal condition in order to tailor to your needs.

Gut-directed hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are the two psychological treatments with the greatest evidence of effectiveness in providing improvements to gut symptoms. Whilst diet can prove to be an affective treatment in many cases, it may not work for everyone. Hypnotherapy and psychological treatments have been proven to be equally and in some cases more affective than diet alone. At The Gut Centre, many of our patients have already consulted a dietician and many have tried a number of dietary programs. However, diet can certainly provide good outcomes and we recommend you do consult with a dietician if you have not done so already.

Interestingly, gut-directed hypnotherapy has been shown to be superior to that of the low FODMAP diet. Also, because there are no known side effects, and it is non-invasive, gut-directed hypnotherapy has become a favourable treatment option.

FODMAP stands for:

  • Fermentable
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Disaccharides
  • Monosaccharides
  • And
  • Polyols

The low FODMAP diet was developed in 1999 as an effective way of relieving the symptoms of IBS. The low FODMAP’s diet has been published in many medical journals and is now renowned as being one of the most successful dietary therapies to relieve symptoms of IBS.

Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, and Polysaccharides are molecules found in some foods that people can find hard to digest. The small intestine is where most of the absorption of food takes place. When the small intestine cannot properly absorb these molecules, they continue their way down the digestive tract and into the large intestine. These molecules, then act as a food source to bacteria. The ‘bad’ bacteria ferment these molecules and can cause irritation and dysbiosis in the gut.


Functional gastrointestinal (GI} problems, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and autonomic dysfunction in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, can greatly affect your life.
This Includes your ability to go to work & spend time with friends and family and eat your favorite foods. It can also make you feel depressed and anxious. Gut problems can be embarrassing to discuss with others and can often leave the affected person feeling alone and isolated. Therefore seeking help through psychological and hypnotherapy treatment can greatly improve not only your physical condition, but also provide you with excellent coping strategies and improved quality of life.

  • Research has found success rates range from 70-80% in symptom reduction
  • Tests have show improvements in all major symptoms, incl. abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and bloating
  • Improvements in quality of life and general psychological wellbeing incl. improved stress management.
  • At The Gut Centre our priority is in caring for you, for your emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing, we do this by not only providing the best and highest quality expert care, but also getting the best possible treatment outcomes.
  • Unlike other generic approach to patients, at The Gut Centre we tailor a specific program of treatment for each person based on their specific diagnosis, needs and symptoms presented. Our aim is to help you get back in control and back into life again.
  • We use only evidence-based techniques proven to provide 70-80% effectiveness in reducing symptoms and the psychological distress associated with gastrointestinal disorders. Long term follow up studies show benefits are maintained even after 5 years post treatment.
  • We offer gut treatment for bothadults, adolescents and children (as young as 4yrs old).
  • Dr Kantidakis works closely with a number of leading Melbourne and Sydney Gastroenterologists, including the Functional Gut Clinic at St Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne and was the first gut-directed psychologist to work in Paediatrics working with Paediatric Gastroenterology Victoria at The Royal Children’s hospital.
  • We work closely with a team of specialists, not only Gastroenterologist’s, but also specialist Dieticians, Pelvic Floor Physio’s, GP’s and other allied health and medical professionals.
  • At The Gut Centre you can rest assured that all of our expert team of gut-directed psychologistshave been highly trained, both with Dr Kantidakis (clinical psychologist/clinical hypnotherapist) and in medical hypnosis. We are passionate about helping you get results, providing you with the highest quality care and outcomes.
  • We also provide you with several convenient locations, please see our Locations list on our Contact page
  • We are specialist gastrointestinal psychologists/hypnotherapists. We use the latest, most evidence based hypnotherapy and psychological treatments shown to be beneficial to those suffering from IBS, IBD and other functional gut problems. All of our specialists offer many years of experience and a wealth of Knowledge. At The Gut Centre we also provide a very warm, caring and professional service.

Children & Adolescents

Yes. At The Gut Centre we treat Children (as young as 4yrs old) and adolescents, with a range of therapies offered, dependant on age and appropriateness, including hypnotherapy, play therapy, CBT and Mindfulness, with 70-80% positive treatment outcomes.

Children are great candidates for hypnotherapy.  Their unconscious mind is wide open and therefore can take in any suggestions easily and openly.  They have vivid imaginations, which makes it easier for them to respond to hypnotherapy sessions, access their unconscious and bring about the desired change. As a result, hypnotherapy with children can have effective results very quickly. This makes hypnotherapy a wonderful and safe option. Children are usually receptive to hypnotherapy and it can be a very positive and empowering experience for them. Hypnotherapy is a natural mental state that children often get into when they are playing imaginary games or daydreaming.  A child’s mind is full of creativity and imagination, both tools that hypnosis uses.


In order to achieve improvement in symptoms or symptom resolution, between 4-6 sessions are recommended. We cannot predict when a person will start to improve. Some individuals experience relief or resolution of symptoms earlier than others. The number of sessions will depend on when improvements are made, and any remaining sessions can be cancelled if required. Your psychologist will discuss a treatment plan with you.

No. You do not need a Specialist or G.P referral to make an appointment or carry out treatment at The Gut Centre . We do however recommend that you seek medical assistance first to exclude any organic cause to your gut symptoms. It is also important that your condition be monitored by a medical professional or specialist.

The Fee will differ depending on if you attend during business hours, Saturday’s or After Hours. Please contact The Gut Centre for further information. You may also be eligible for Medicare or Private Health Rebates.

Some patients may be eligible for a Medicare rebate under the Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) (providing $84.80 rebate per session) which provides you with 10 sessions in a calendar year. Or alternatively the Chronic Disease Management Plan or EPC Plan ($48.95 rebate per session) which provides a total of 5 sessions per year. You will need to consult with you G.P to see if you are eligible.

You can also claim on your private health insurance if you have the appropriate extras.

Please contact the Gut Centre if you would like any further information on Medicare or Private Health rebates.