While the science might not fall in favor of hypnosis’ effects, the experiences of Margaret and Jonathan speak loudly to its potential. What’s important is that those considering hypnosis perform some due diligence. Becoming a hypnotherapist isn’t like becoming a doctor where there’s a set curriculum and a series of nationally recognized qualification tests; rather there are variety of ways to become “certified,” ranging from traditional schools to online courses. One of the most respected certification-givers is the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners. McGrail cautions that hypnotherapy isn’t regulated in California or most other states. “There are a lot of people that call themselves certified that are not well-trained or competent,” he says. “While they can’t do any harm, they won’t do any good. Do your homework.”
There are many conventional ways to quit smoking, cold turkey, nicotine replacement therapy and various medications. However for people looking a method that is a little outside the box there are also a few alternative therapies that have shown some potential to help people quit. Without doubt of the most popular and well known of these alternative therapies is quitting smoking with hypnotherapy.
Hypnosis is first and foremost a self-accepted journey away from the reality of the moment. Although the trance state is often referred to as if the patient is asleep, nothing could be further from the truth. The patient is fully awake at all times. The hypnotic subject is simply in a heightened, more receptive state of mind. This fact is proven with inductions called open-eye techniques, where the patient keeps his/her eyes open during the hypnotherapy. Full and deep trance is still achievable.
To investigate the effectiveness of cognitive hypnotherapy (CH), hypnosis combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), on depression, 84 depressives were randomly assigned to 16 weeks of treatment of either CH or CBT alone. At the end of treatment, patients from both groups significantly improved compared to baseline scores. However, the CH group produced significantly larger changes in Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Beck Hopelessness Scale. Effect size calculations showed that the CH group produced 6%, 5%, and 8% greater reduction in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness, respectively, over and above the CBT group. The effect size was maintained at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups. This study represents the first controlled comparison of hypnotherapy with a well-established psychotherapy for depression, meeting the APA criteria for a "probably efficacious" treatment for depression.
Since hypnotherapy is an adjunct form of therapy, used along with other forms of psychological or medical treatment, there are many applications. Hypnotherapy can be used to treat anxiety, phobias, substance abuse including tobacco, sexual dysfunction, undesirable spontaneous behaviors, and bad habits. It can be used to help improve sleep, learning disorders, communication, and relationship issues. Hypnotherapy can aid in pain management and help resolve medical conditions such as digestive disorders, skin issues, and gastrointestinal side effects of pregnancy and chemotherapy. It can also be used by dentists to help patients control their fears or to treat teeth grinding and other oral conditions.