A friend of mine is desperate to quit smoking. She has tried everything: patches, gum, group sessions. Now she is going for what she feels is her last chance: using hypnotherapy as a way of programming herself to quit. Her therapist feels that the chances of hypnotherapy being a success are fairly high depending on this woman’s motivation to give up smoking or perhaps get over her addiction.
And there in lies the key apparently: hypnosis works for those that want it to.
According to the Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com), numerous studies have shown that hypnotherapy has the potential to help relieve symptoms of several conditions. However, it is not a ‘magic bullet’ and is best used as part of a broader, more comprehensive treatment plan than as a stand-alone therapy. Like any other treatment, hypnosis can be very helpful to some people and fail completely with others. It seems to work best with people who are highly motivated and when the therapist is well-trained and understands your particular problem.
But how exactly does hypnosis work? Scientists still aren’t sure (and neither am I), but when a person’s hypnotized, the right side of the brain responsible for emotions and creativity becomes far more active than the left side of the brain, which is responsible for logical thinking.
According to www.mindbodyhypnosis.com, hypnotherapy is just a form of highly focused attention, and there are therapeutic strategies that you employ using that highly focused attention. Patients are usually “talked” into a state of highly focused, suggestible attentiveness where they are able to clear away mental “clutter” and focus on whatever problem it is that concerns them. In most cases, practitioners teach patients self-hypnosis techniques they can use at home.
Hypnosis is as an alteration of an individual’s consciousness, thereby allowing the unconscious to search for new ways to solve the problem. In other words, the unconscious part of the brain offers positive beliefs to replace the conscious negative ones. Selfgrowth.com points out that the hypnotherapist becomes the facilitator of the process that you fully agree to and participate in. If you don’t want to be hypnotized, you won’t.
In fact, according to www.selfgrowth.com, using electroencephalogram [EEG] and other methods, science is beginning to determine what happens to the hypnotized brain. Hypnotized individuals are usually physically at ease, with lowered blood pressure and heart rates, while feeling fully awake and mentally attentive.
I think if hypnosis can help my friend to quite smoking then it’s a worthwhile investment of time and money. Certainly better than all the money she is currently spending to support her smoking habit. I did a bit of research on my own and discovered that hypnosis and hypnotherapy actually has a good success rate in a variety of medical applications. Consider:
Gastrointestinal problems. For irritable bowel syndrome, especially, hypnosis has been demonstrated to be about 80 percent effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms. Medicine cannot do that.
Pain. According to www.avonhypnotherapy.co.uk, in many cases, patients with chronic pain use self-hypnosis techniques to “turn down” pain, like lowering the volume on a radio. Spiegel said patients can also use the technique to help get through invasive or painful medical procedures, such as dentistry or even cardiac catheterization.
Smoking and other addictions. Half of people will typically stop smoking after a single hypnosis session, and half of those won’t have a cigarette for two years. In the world of smoking-cessation, a 25 percent long-term success rate is considered impressive.
Weight loss. Hypnosis operates mainly as a way to increase participants’ attention to suggestions of behavioral programs as well as to reinforce their weight loss efforts. Studies using behavioral treatments successfully have developed incentive systems to bridge the gap between the short-term -reinforcers provided during treatment and long-term goal of weight reduction.
Finding an effective, qualified hypnotherapist is easy if one consults one of two recognized associations: the practice-oriented American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (www.asch.net), and a more research-oriented group, the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (www.sceh.us). Both groups mandate that hypnotherapists also be licensed in some form of clinical training. For more even more on hypnotherapy, visit the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (www.sceh.us).
The jury is still out on whether hypnotherapy is going to help my friend kick her smoking habit. But I’m sure of one thing: when properly used, hypnosis can serve as an effective tool. It can help us learn to use our mental skills and potential to achieve a particular goal.