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How To Stop Smoking - Is Hypnosis Effective In The Fight To Quit Smoking?


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Few people realize that Sigmund Freud's first love was hypnosis. In 1887 Freud translated Bernheim's On Suggestion and its Therapeutic Application into German. He also added a preface to this material and readily practiced hypnosis. Charcot was his inspiration and he made it apparent that he agreed with Charcot above all. Generally he endorsed the use of hypnotherapy in all of its’ forms and used it as his basis for the subconscious.

Generally, hypnosis tries to input ideas, suggestions, and priorities directly to the sub conscious mind. The same theories are used in subliminal suggestions. Many hypnotherapists involve several theories in their extinguishing process. For example, many non-smoking hypnosis sessions have had participants smoke many cigarettes back to back. The result was nicotine overload that typically ended in vomiting. The vomiting was then associated with the act of smoking a cigarette.

In addition, all participants are lead through a progression of relaxation exercises designed to leave the unconscious available for input. In that space messages are placed that are opposed to smoking. Such as, “smoking cigarettes is poison" or, “I don't smoke because I value myself". Often other suggestions such as alternatives to smoking are also incorporated.

In May of 2000, Ohio State University studied 59 separate studies to evaluate the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in smoking cessation. The study found that it was effective compared to the control group and that it is most effective when paired with other therapies such as behavior modification. In fact, the best way to quit smoking is to combine several available therapies. In addition to hypnotherapy and behavior modification, nicotine substitutes such as nicotine gum and the nicotine patch have been shown helpful.

After the initial hypnotherapy session, follow up visits and home activities that reinforce the therapy are important. So hypnotherapists use audio tapes to facilitate home relaxation and hypnotherapy. Support groups are also used in conjunction with hypnotherapy and have been shown to be therapeutically beneficial. The most effective method will differ from person to person and that's why it is important to find a qualified professional for help. When seeking hypnotherapy, consider the following:

  • Ask for references! Check several references before you obtain the services of any professional.

  • Interview the hypnotherapist. Most professionals will be happy to have a brief consultation and answer any questions. If they aren't willing to do this, find another professional.

  • Ask a medical professional who they would recommend. Many doctors and nurses have contacts with a variety of cessation programs and they typically give qualified recommendations.

  • Contact an association of professionals. Consider the British Association of Therapeutical Hypnotists , the British Society of Clinical, or the British Society of Medical & Dental Hypnosis.

  • Make sure your provider offers a complete program. Ask about their suggested combination therapies to maximize your chances of quitting.

    Many ask if everyone is capable of being hypnotized. The only requirements are that you be cooperative, have an IQ of 70 or above, and are free from any major mental health issues so most anyone can potentially benefit from hypnotherapy. As with any treatment your success depends on several variables but hypnosis can help you become smoke free once and for all.

    Terry Doherty works all over the UK working extensively with individual and business clients helping them to stop smoking, manage weight, manage stress, become more confident and help create generative change. Terry uses the latest techniques of hypnosis, NLP and life coaching skills for profound change. Contact him at

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