Many people who try to quit smoking have been trying for years, and have used all the tips on quitting smoking at their disposal. One quit smoking method that often gets overlooked (or even scoffed at) is the idea of using hypnosis to kick the habit. You can look online, or even in your local paper, to find offers of group meetings and private sessions that are supposed to help you drop that cigarette for good. But does it work? Is it worth forking out the sometimes hundreds of dollars to have someone else basically program your mind to not want to smoke? Read on to learn more about hypnosis and how it may (or may not) help you quit smoking:
History of hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy has been used as a psychological therapeutic treatment since the 1950s, and is recognized by both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association as a valid form of treatment. In the 1970s, Dr. Herbert Spiegel published accounts of his success using hypnotherapy to help patients quit smoking in a medical journal, thus spurring interest in hypnotherapy as a quit smoking aid.
The Spiegel technique. Dr. Spiegel’s allegedly successful hypnotherapy technique involved making suggestions to the patient’s subconscious about the poisoning effects of smoking and the body’s need to stay healthy so as to propel the patient through life. Subsequent hypnosis practitioners adopted many concepts of Spiegel’s technique, which continues to be used to this day in efforts to help people quit smoking.
Other methods. In addition to the techniques popularized by Spiegel, hypnotists may also use other suggestions and mental images to deter smokers from their addictive habit. These include forming associations with unpleasant tastes, odors, and other sensations when the thought of smoking a cigarette comes up.
What to expect. Your hypnotist will likely begin by taking a medical history and explaining the basic concepts of hypnotherapy and how it works. You will also be taught some self-hypnosis techniques so that you can reinforce your new behaviors at home. You can expect to attend multiple sessions to receive the full effects of hypnotherapy.
If you are one of those people who must see evidence of something before believing it, then you can give up on the idea of using hypnotherapy to quit smoking. There is no scientific evidence to support claims that hypnosis can help people quit smoking, and there are no studies that conclude a positive link between hypnosis and smoking cessation. Basically, research is inconclusive. However, if you really want to quit smoking and are willing to try anything, you really can’t go wrong by at least giving hypnotherapy a shot.