So... hypnotism?

I pass this hypnotism clinic on the way to work, and I’ve been wondering. I know a lot of people claim success with using hypnotism to stop smoking, right? So, does it really work?

And if so, would it work to help me get up in the morning to run? And how do you pick a “good” hypnotist anyway?

If the answer is just “applied placebo effect”, that’s fine. The question is, does it work.

I have had no luck with it, although most of my experience has been with self-hypnosis (tapes, books, DVDs.) I did go to one live once.

I have tried it to help me lose weight and have never felt any benefit.

The spectacularly dull answer is that it ‘works’ for some people and not others.

I think I know what you mean by ‘applied placebo effect’, and that is a largely accurate view of what’s going on. Another useful description would be ‘ritual magic’, which I prefer and think is slightly more accurate. You can read about ‘ritual magic’ all over the web. In brief, the idea is that if a client invests some belief in a ritual that is deemed either to have therapeutic benefit or to facilitate behavioural modification, then some relevant benefit or modification can in fact result, even though the ritual itself is partly or wholly arbitrary.

For example, some people who go for acupuncture treatments find it effective and some don’t. The percentages stay the same even if the practitioner places the needles ‘incorrectly’. This is necessarily the case, since the placing of needles in particular places has no empirically verifiable efficacy. The belief is all. Similarly, some people who go for an NLP ‘phobia cure’ say it works, others say it doesn’t. The percentages remain the same even if the practitioner doesn’t do anything that is deemed to be ‘genuine NLP’ and in fact just makes the whole thing up. Belief in the ritual is the only efficacious element.

Hypnosis is just one more form of ritual magic. There are many variables involved, and all you can really say (as above) is that it works for some people and not for others. However, anyone expecting hypnosis to be some sort of ‘magic key’ to achieving a behavioral change is going to be disappointed. It may help a little, but basically it’s still down to you to achieve whatever changes you want to achieve, and this usually involves willpower, resolve and discipline.

The hypnotist isn’t going to do anything except show you how to feel mentally and emotionally relaxed, and then lead you through some suggestions, affirmations or dialogues that are deemed to be useful. If you find this ritual is useful, then you find it useful and good luck to you.

No, it’s all in the mind.


you will get me some lemonade…

Worked for me to stop smoking. Interestingly, I had several cigarettes immediately after the session, but I lost interest within the next couple of days.

Best part, it was a free session offered to residents of my County, via the County Health Department.

A friend of mine quit smoking after one group session with a [del]spook[/del] hypnotist.

The wonder drug Chantix worked for me. I never tried the hypno stuff, it seemed freaky or something…:eek: