AN ABERLADY hypnotherapist features in a new television series about food-related phobias airing next week.

Extreme Food Phobics is a new 10-part show, starting on Wednesday, that focuses on a wide variety of dietary issues, food related fears, phobias and disorders – including an eating condition known as Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

The programme, commissioned by UKTV for W channel, is led by Dr Ranj Singh. Jackie Fraser, of Aberlady, is one of his team of therapists who feature on the show.

The fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist and ARFID specialist, who has resided in East Lothian her whole life, has been practising for eight years and treats a wide range of eating conditions.

ARFID is a condition similar to anorexia in that both disorders involve limitations to the type and amount of food consumed, but unlike anorexia, people with ARFID are not distressed about physical appearance or body fatness.

Jackie said: “I am one of Dr Ranj’s team of experts who help people overcome their phobia of food. Many of the programme’s participants had ARFID, formally known as Selective Eating Disorder.

“This is where someone has a very restricted diet, usually bland and beige and has a fear of trying new foods.

“In my therapy room at home in Aberlady I specialise in helping people with ARFID.

“I am very excited about the airing of the programme and it will hopefully raise awareness of the condition which commonly gets put aside as fussy eating.”

There are three stages of therapy for programme participants – an initial check-in and diagnosis, aversion therapy and then support from therapists, all with the aim of helping people overcome their food fears.

Some episodes feature people who only eat meat or survive on chicken nuggets.

Jackie added: “Hypnotherapy has many benefits as a therapy using guided relaxation and the power of suggestion encouraging positive change.

“I mainly see people for ARFID, or for stopping smoking, or for anxiety and phobias. With ARFID in particular, hypnotherapy is only a small part of the session at the end to reinforce what we have already discussed.”

Jackie was contacted in 2020 by a research team from South Short Productions who produced the television show for UKTV when they were gathering information about ARFID.

She added: “Earlier this year I got a call from the production team saying the show had been commissioned and would I have a Zoom meeting with them.

“Following the Zoom meeting I was invited to be one of the experts doing therapy on the show.

“I think people should watch the show to gain a better understanding about ARFID and how common it actually is. Most people I speak to with ARFID feel they are the only one like that and don’t realise there is help out there.”

The first episode of Extreme Food Phobics airs today (Wednesday) at 8pm on W channel, which is available on satellite and cable TV.