A typical hypnotherapy session has the patient seated comfortably with their feet on the floor and palms on their lap. Of course, the patient could choose to lie down if that option is available and if that will meet the patient's expectation of hypnosis. The therapist can even set the stage for a favorable outcome by asking questions like, "Would you prefer to undergo hypnosis in this chair or on the sofa?" Once patients make the choice, they are in effect agreeing to undergo hypnosis. Depending on the approach used by the therapist, the next events can vary, but generally will involve some form of relaxing the patient. Suggestions will lead the patient to an increasingly relaxed state. The therapist may wish to confirm the depth of trance by performing tests with the patient. For example, the therapist may suggest that when the eyes close that they will become locked and cannot be opened. The therapist then checks for this by having patients try to open their eyes. Following a successful trial showing the patient's inability to open the eyes, the therapist might then further relax them by using deepening techniques. Deepening techniques will vary for each patient and depend largely on whether the patient represents information through auditory, visual, or kinesthetic means. If the patient is more affected by auditory suggestions, the therapist would use comments such as "You hear the gentle patter of rain on the roof;" or, "The sound of the ocean waves allow you to relax more and more." For the visual person, the therapist might use statements such as, "You see the beautiful placid lake, with trees bending slightly with the breeze." Finally, with the kinesthetic person phrases such as, "You feel the warm sun and gentle breeze on your skin," could be used. It is important for the therapist to know if the patient has difficulty with the idea of floating or descending because these are sometimes used to enhance the experience for the patient. However, if the patient has a fear of heights or develops a feeling of oppression with the thought of traveling downward and going deeper and deeper, suggestions implying the unwanted or feared phenomenon will not be taken and can thwart the attempt.
To get certified by the AASP, an individual must be a member of the organization, hold a graduate degree, demonstrate the requisite knowledge of the sports psychology field, and have several hundred hours of specific experience. Candidates with master’s degree are eligible for a provisional certification; a doctorate is required to obtain a standard certification.
The program he followed consists of an introductory video, several audio sessions, and an e-book. “There was all this imagery and counting down and clouds,” he says. “I would fall asleep listening.” It might all sound a little new agey, but Jonathan hasn’t had a cigarette in a year — besides a few weeks of cheating at the six-month mark. There wasn’t even a major time commitment — he would fall asleep a few minutes into the sessions every night, and he found himself smoke-free within days of starting the program.
Hypnosis is not a silver bullet, of course. Several years ago, Nelson, a 39-year-old banker from New York City, attended a group hypnosis session in Boston with several friends who were also trying to quit smoking, and they were all hypnotized en masse. He says, “ didn’t crave cigarettes for a good four months afterwards. Something in my mind turned it off: didn’t want it, didn’t need it.” Then, after a minor car accident, he ran to the corner bodega to grab a pack. “I smoked to calm myself down,” he recalls. While the hypnosis was effective, Nelson felt like his choice to smoke or not smoke was being dictated not by him but by an outside force in a way that made him uncomfortable. He has no plans to try hypnosis again.
That's in part because there isn't enough data. While some studies have shown positive results, they differ too much for anyone to draw a solid conclusion. Few studies that have been done over the years met HHS’s inclusion criteria, owing in part to the vast array of methodologies used. “There was no common or standard intervention technique to analyze,” the guidelines read. “Moreover, an independent review of nine hypnotherapy trials by the Cochrane Group found insufficient evidence to support hypnosis as a treatment for smoking cessation.”
When we came out of the session, he asked us how we each had felt. Some reported feeling a sense of heaviness, others said they felt as if they were floating away. One woman couldn't remember a word he had said the entire time. An older man in a Red Sox jersey said he could hear him but couldn't make out the words. “Me relaxing to that degree made me realize how much my body is fighting to breathe cleanly,” the elderly man said. Another woman said she felt as if she wanted to cry. I shared her emotion. It felt as if something was being taken from me.
All successful people eventually hit walls in their careers and personal lives. The skills and traits that once brought them success no longer serve them well under new circumstances. Regardless of whether they are being promoted or have suffered a major professional setback. they need to adapt quickly and pivot into an entirely new role for which they may be woefully unprepared. That new role might involve staying with the same employer, or it might require a major transition to an entirely different line of work.
Today, hypnotherapists will suggest that smokers associate cigarettes with unpleasant tastes, odors, or sensations — for instance, that cigarette smoke smells like bus fumes, that the smoke has a nasty taste, or that it will cause you to suffer from dry mouth. They might also suggest that smokers believe that they have lost the desire to smoke and can easily cope with their nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
"After smoking for 38 years I wanted to quit but didn't think I could do it. I decided to try the Quit Smoking Stay Stopped hypnosis download. I listened to it 3 times and set a date to quit. On that date I listened to it just before I smoked for the last time, then just quit, I was able to go 1 maybe 2 days before I would listen to it again to help me get through the urge to smoke, after a week I no longer needed to listen to the hypnosis and don't need the cigarettes anymore."
Confusion can occur when one seeks a hypnotherapist, as a result of the various titles, certifications, and licenses in the field. Many states do not regulate the title "hypnotist" or "hypnotherapist," so care must be exercised when selecting someone to see. As a rule, it is best to consult a professional in the field of mental health or medicine, although alternative sources for hypnosis are available. Care must be taken also by the therapist to ensure adequate training and sufficient experience for rendering this specialized service. The therapist must be well grounded in a psychotherapeutic approach before undertaking the use of hypnotherapy. Professionals should not attempt hypnotherapy with any disorder for which they would not use traditional therapeutic approaches. The patient seeking hypnotherapy is reminded that unskilled or amateur hypnotists can cause harm and should not be consulted for the purpose of implementing positive change in an individual's life. The detrimental effects of being subjected to amateur or inadequately trained persons can be severe and long lasting. (See abnormal results below.)
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recognizes the healing power of hypnosis and its proven effectiveness for anxiety, pain control, smoking cessation, headaches and more. Hypnosis may be safe and complementary way to augment medical attention you are receiving for a chronic illness or pain, or a way to resolve an addiction or phobia that you are otherwise unable to control. Hypnosis does not work on every person. When scientists began studying hypnosis in earnest, a report published by Stanford University titled “The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale” demonstrated that different brains respond to hypnosis in varying degrees, and a very few do not respond at all. Working with a trained psychologist, you’ll soon determine whether you are a good candidate for the healing benefits of hypnotherapy.
One study, conducted by Adam D. Galinsky and colleagues at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, found that increased power tends to make one more self-centered and self-assured, but not in a good way: The researchers found that power makes one “prone to dismiss or, at the very least, misunderstand the viewpoints of those who lack authority.” High-power individuals “anchor too heavily on their own perspectives and demonstrate a diminished ability to correctly perceive others’ perspectives,” according to Galinsky and his team, adding that, “As power increases, power-holders are more likely to assume that others’ insights match their own.”
And yet, every day, posters, commercials, and cigarette labels tell people not to smoke. I tell myself not to smoke. It doesn't seem to be working fast enough. Although the number of smoking adults in the U.S. dropped from 20.9 percent to 17.8 percent from 2005 to 2013, smoking is still responsible for 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, and 6 million worldwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Most of them have been told: Don't.
Australian hypnotism/hypnotherapy organizations (including the Australian Hypnotherapists Association) are seeking government regulation similar to other mental health professions. However, the various tiers of Australian government have shown consistently over the last two decades that they are opposed to government legislation and in favour of self-regulation by industry groups.