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30.h. Hypnosis


This article is from the Stop Smoking FAQ, by 70424.57@compuserve.com with numerous contributions by others.

30.h. Hypnosis

[Contributed by Michiko Walraven <michiko@islandnet.com>:

"I had decided to use hypnosis simply because: (1) I knew I did not have
strong willpower; (2) I honestly believed that I would go under very
easily. Also, the initial session was covered by our medical insurance,
since it was a referral from my physician. My appointment with the doctor
(a General Practitioner with a certificate for hypnotherapy) was 9 a.m. on
my birthday (sheer coincidence, which turned out to be a great motivator
later). I had my last smoke in the car in the parking lot at 8:59 a.m. The
doctor asked me at the beginning of the session to describe to him why I
was going to quit. It was, I told him, because I knew I had to quit
eventually, and that it was as good as any other time (rather laid-back
attitude). One thing I really emphasized was that I didn't want to turn
into an ex-smoker who would become a strong anti-smoker, poking his/her
nose into everybody else's (i.e. smoker's) business.

"My session began. He asked me to look back for the first happy moment I
could remember as a non-smoker. That took a lot of going back... I had been
a smoker since 16 or so. I was about 12 years old or so in that image. The
doctor then told me that I no longer needed to smoke, and asked me if I
could visualize myself being a non-smoker in that image, only at the
current age. After some time I would see myself being a non-smoker. He then
asked me if I could see myself being a non-smoker one week from that day,
one month, 3 months, etc. etc. finally down to one year from that day.
Fortunately I could really see it.

"That was basically it. I did not become violently ill at the smell or
sight of smoke, I did not turn into a radical anti smoker. I am just a
happy and proud non-smoker for over two years now. Of course this newsgroup
helped a LOT, particular at the beginning, and when I was going through
some legal/family trauma. Sure, the thought comes to me 'Boy, a smoke would
really hit the spot' once in awhile. But if necessary, I can always go back
for a follow-up session. Actually I was told to have an follow-up after 2
weeks/months, but never bothered because (1) I did not need it all that
much, and (2) it would cost me $80.00 CDN. (First session was covered by
the medical insurance, lucky!)

"If you are interested, ask your family doctor. That is exactly what I did,
and he recommended doctors who could do hypnotherapy (1 hr) for my purpose.
It was strictly a private session. I don't know how a group session would
have worked for me, since I wasn't interested."

Here is more on hypnotherapy, from a licensed practitioner.

Bob Christofferson asked a hypnotist who posted to AS3:

"Do you have any advice for how to select a hypnotherapist? Is one session
enough, or are results better with more sessions? Are group sessions any
good? Is there a way for a person to tell if he or she would be a good
candidate for hypnotherapy? Is that enough questions for now? :) "

Edward Hutchison, a practicing hypnotist, responded:

"First, I don't know any sure guide to picking a lawyer, a good school, a
wife ... or a hypnotherapist. There really aren't any good accrediting
agencies with universal recognition for hypnotists or psychotherapists so
about all I can suggest would be to ask friends or perhaps your family
doctor. But, to be honest, although hypnosis is taught at some medical and
dental schools it is not a part of the typical MD's training. Consequently,
not enough of them are aware of its full potential and some patient might
ask a question about it and, as you probably know, MD's are bred to never
say 'I don't know.'

"As to the number of sessions: it depends. I prefer to see people once,
and for about 70%, that one visit is enough to quit smoking. Crassilneck
and Hall have published a study with an 82% success rate but it is
predicated upon four sessions and the only subjects seen were males with a
medical referral.

"I have conducted numerous group sessions - usually where some employer
undertakes the expense of the program. The success rate is only about 50%.
But in terms of cost-effectiveness these programs, especially in the
absence of other options, can be very worthwhile. They last three hours
(with two brief breaks) as opposed to about 70 minutes for the individual

"The last question is the easiest. Virtually everyone with the intelligence
to ask the question is a good candidate for hypnosis. That is to say,
about the only people who have any difficulty in obtaining the light trance
necessary for stop-smoking suggestions are those who are very dull and
those who are actively psychotic. In a long private practice I have only
about one percent who were, in my opinion, refractory to hypnosis. Of
course, the goal is not hypnosis, but change, and unfortunately no good way
exists to measure the motivation so essential to all change."


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