Healthy life has been a dream for everyone. Many things are done to pursue this aim, no exception for the smokers. Among the options to stop smoking habit, there is one interesting offer that recently gain public’s attention: hypnosis. It is far from drug or any kind of injection that goes into blood flow. In fact, hypnosis only plays with patient’s subconsciousness.
Why Do People Smoke, Anyway?
Believe it or not, smoking is not a primary need as some smokers might have mentioned. People do this involuntarily, based on the memory of the muscles. The reason why these people keep repeating the process is that smoking gives a short escape to whatever problem they have. Therefore, there is no such thing as not being able to quit smoking, since it is not a staple activity from the first place.
What is Hypnosis?
It might be exactly what many people imagined: giving suggestion to do something while the person is asleep or in a trance. Yes, this is not pure medical treatment, since it belongs partly to psychological help. Back then, it is popular as the procedure to help those who have physical or psychological disorder. Some patients need hypnosis to control stress, while the others use it to suppress appetite and nervousness.
While discussing about hypnosis, the patients should not mix it up with hypnotic action. In hypnosis action, the patients are not totally asleep. They are still aware of the surroundings such as sounds, movement, and also presence. Some entertainment shows might give wrong impression about hypnosis, but it cannot really make the patients do something against their will.
The aim of hypnosis is to help the patients stay in their calm mind. Within this relaxed state, people concentrate and listen more to suggestions. In this case, of course, the suggestions to stop smoking.
What Does Hypnosis Exactly Do To The Patients?
Since hypnosis or cessation is closely related to suggestive implant, some people are concerned about the type of recommendation whispered to their ears to their subconscious mind. There is no extreme suggestion that might lead to further trauma such as imagining the least favorite food when looking at cigarette. It is exactly the opposite: the patients are pulled back to the right path.
For your information, there is no one starts smoking because they need it. This habit happens as repetitive action since the first time tobacco runs into their lungs. Many smokers share that having cigarette help them to relax, especially on the hardest day. While this might be true, smoking will also give long term effect to the person’s overall health.
There is one method that often used by many hypnotherapists to help the patients. It is the Spiegel method. In short explanation, the smoking cessation procedure will highlight three main points. The first one is that smoking is actually injecting poison to the body. Eventually, the organs in the body will get sick, which lead to the second point: anyone need their body to stay alive.
Through slow narration, the hypnotherapists will gradually implant one last point to the patients’ mind: it is important to respect the body and do the best to keep it healthy. In the end of the session, the therapist might also give additional lesson about self-hypnosis, which to be repeated anytime the patients feel the temptation to smoke.
Later on, several negative thoughts about smoking is expected to arise every time the patients have the will to smoke. In short, after the therapy session, the patients are going to say that smoking is not something they are interested in, not something they need for healthy life. This kind of attitude will show up not only after seeing cigarette, but also anything related to smoking: smoke, pipes, lighter, etc.
In the end, the patients’ mind will switch from its usual way of thought. Instead of assisting hands to grab cigarette and smoke, they will avert the hands to do something productive.
What Are The Steps In Hypnotherapy?
As the patients have learned, hypnotherapy is closely related to the state of mind. To understand the steps of hypnotherapy, Mr. Moshe Torem, the president of American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, mentions four major characteristic of it. These points are the crucial factors while conducting the treatment.
- Focusing The Attention
The first important factor is helping the patients to really focus on something. Mostly, this is the problem someone wish to solve. For some other patients, this might be fear, emotional trauma, etc. Since the goal is to stop smoking, then the focus should be directed there.
- Disassociating From The Environment
In the next step, the hypnotherapists will bring the patients to a specific place out of the physical environment. It doesn’t literally mean that they travel to the place. The words said by the therapists lead the patients’ mind to build certain image.
Some people might think that this is the most important part, but actually there is nothing more important than the other steps. In this step, the therapists should mentioned what the patients should do for better self or result. Therefore, it takes more responsibility from the practitioners.
- Achieving Involuntariness
For the fourth step, the patients have come back to their senses. The real action could be seen when they see something mentioned in the suggestion phase. For example, if the hypnotherapist tells the patients to put their hand away from cigarette, they probably do so. It is as if there is some external force helping the hands to move away.
How to Find a Hypnotherapist?
As an open option, the patients have all the rights to do or not to do hypnosis. For those who refuse, there is no harm done. Even for those who are interested, there is nothing to lose after choosing the treatment. One important thing to do is asking health experts to recommend good hypnotherapist. Then, don’t forget to check the official papers such as the certificate, the license, and training diploma.
Keep in mind that the certified hypnotherapist should come from medical field. Some of them are medicine, psychology or nursing. It is also necessary to have discussion about their training and as many questions as possible. For the last question, try to ask whether he or she has another alternative to help the patients quit smoking. If the answer is “yes”, then this person could be the right person to solve the smoking problem.
The patients have been warned about the possibility level of hypnosis treatment. Once again, it might or might not work, depending on the individual. One sign of miscellaneous hypnotherapists is promising something that is too good to be true. In this case, try to find another recommended hypnotherapist.
Does Hypnosis Work For Everyone?
A strong reason lies behind the simple statement “hypnosis to quit smoking as an open option”. It literally means that the patients should not expect that the treatment will surely work on them. Why? It is because in fact, it doesn’t work on several people. One out of four hypnosis patients doesn’t experience any significant change on his body. Even in successful case, the impact is different for each person.
Then, does it mean that all the researchers conclude an untrusted result? Well, this is not the right way to define it, either. In 2010, there was a systematic reviews to compare the researches that have been conducted. Instead of saying that these papers are written for nothing, the medical experts find that the evidence is not strong enough to prove the significance of hypnosis to help smokers.
Two years later, another review was conducted to see whether the hypnosis treatment gives any improvement at all. The finding concludes that hypnosis has the potential to help smokers with their tobacco addiction problem. In addition, this method is yet to be approved by America Medical Association. Back then, there was a support from medical side, which then rescinded in 1987 by AMA.
In conclusion, many medical experts suggest conducting more detailed and specified study to proof that hypnosis could really help smokers to quit smoking. As far as it goes, these experts don’t deny the possibility of hypnosis procedure.
What Are The Reasons For Fail In Hypnotherapy?
The first rule for hypnotherapy to work is the willingness from the patients to quit smoking. Unfortunately, those who take their time and join the therapy session might have different things on their mind. Some of them already tell themselves that the hypnosis will not work on them. Several others even just want to know how it feels like to be a hypnosis patient.
It is important not trying to get hypnotized. It is similar to trying to get to sleep. The more someone says “I don’t want to smoke today”, the more temptation he will get during the day. Thus, it is the worst thing to say while someone is in the process of stopping smoking. Another suitable parable would be asking someone not to imagine an elephant. Immediately, the brain will sketch the rough picture of elephant.
Believe it or not, human brains hate the words “don’t”. Saying “don’t jump” is basically translated as “jump” in the brain system. Human subconsciousness cannot digest the imperative sentence. This point is then used by many cigarette manufacturers on their advertisements. Ever since many treatments are invented to decrease the smoking tendency, the number of smokers are slowly decreasing.
What Are The Most Compatible Pair To Maximize Hypnosis Effect?
Some patients are more eager than the others. They already learn that hypnosis is not a single handed magic that could turn people from their habit of years only with several meetings. Once again, hypnosis only helps the patients to strive their goal easier. Instead of relying solely on the therapy, there are some options that could boost up the effect of hypnosis.
Several findings suggest that several smokers actually smoke because they have nothing to do. It is similar to impulsive eating found on women. Thus, one option to help these patients is by doing some productive activities. A patient is suggested to do house chores every time cigarette is calling back. It includes doing laundry or ironing.
Another option to try is nicotine patch and nicotine gum. It might be difficult to get over the tobacco once and for all. The patch and gum help to provide nicotine for the body. The patients then gradually reduce the dosage.
Why Hypnosis Is Not Yet Accepted As Official Medical Treatment?
Many medical steps include standard operational procedure; diagnostic and medication. Since hypnotherapy belongs to the medication part, there must be a solid proof that the procedure gives significant result. In order to prove this point, a lot of researches must be conducted, comparing the suggested treatment to another means of medication.
For smoking cessation, the result of the researches is varied. Some researchers claim that hypnotherapy could help most of the patients, while the result changes after changing the group study. In this case, the effectiveness of hypnotherapy is still questionable. Two medical experts, Joseph P. Green and Steven Jay Lynn even reviewed 56 studies about smoking cessation.
The result of the review suggests that hypnotherapy is better compared to having no treatment at all. Instead of being a strong medical base, these studies were combining hypnotherapy with some other medications. Therefore, it is quite difficult to say the real effect of cessation therapy itself. Finding some patients who rely on hypnotherapy alone to help with their smoking habit is difficult.
Even when the rare cases are found, the length of therapy and the effect will be varied for each individual. This last point makes the medical association refuse to include hypnotherapy as one of official treatment. It is important for a medication to give constant effect to the patients.
Despite of its pros and contras, hypnosis is still as harmless as it is. Working with no other than patients’ mind, this method might or might not help to reduce smoking tendency. Thus, those who are interested in this option shouldn’t have too high expectation.