Hypnosis is a wellness technique that works by promoting positive behavioral or cognitive changes. During successful hypnosis, the client should be eased into a state of deep relaxation in which the conscious mind takes a back seat and the subconscious mind becomes more active. The client is often able to let go of critical thoughts and become receptive to the therapist’s suggestions. In this state of hypnosis, motivating suggestions can bypass your usual mental resistance and internal defense mechanisms. For example, even if you want to quit overeating cupcakes, you may have some level of resistance that your rational mind can’t overcome. During hypnosis, the positive suggestions made by the hypnotherapist can bypass your usual blocks, helping you to achieve the formerly unachievable: stopping overeating, quitting smoking, mastering public speaking, or losing your fear of heights. The goal of hypnosis is to strengthen and empower the client’s motivation, commitment and focus. Consider working with someone who is not just trained in hypnosis but also is a licensed therapist or psychotherapist who can bring their academic background into your session.
How well hypnosis works to help people stop smoking depends on who you ask. Study results have been mixed. In 2010, a systematic review of published studies found that there wasn't enough evidence to support the use of hypnosis. Another review published in 2012 said that studies do support a possible benefit from the use of hypnosis. In discussing alternative methods for quitting smoking on its web site, the American Cancer Society says that while controlled studies have not supported the effectiveness of hypnosis, there is anecdotal evidence that some people have been helped.
You want to stop smoking because it’s a very unhealthy and expensive habit. Chances are you’ve already tried a variety of ways to stop smoking, but you’re still struggling. You may even have stopped before, but whether it’s been for a few days or for several months, somehow the smoking habit has crept back and you’ve found yourself back there, puffing away again on your “cancer sticks”. Why does this keep happening?
Although there are different techniques, clinical hypnotherapy is generally performed in a calm, therapeutic environment. The therapist will guide you into a relaxed, focused state and ask you to think about experiences and situations in positive ways that can help you change the way you think and behave. Unlike some dramatic portrayals of hypnosis in movies, books, or on stage, you will not be unconscious, asleep, or in any way out of control of yourself. You will hear the therapist’s suggestions, but it is up to you to decide whether or not to act on them.