By Susanna Sweeney, MSc, MBACP, CHT
You are thinking about booking an appointment with a quit smoking hypnotist.
You have heard that hypnosis can help people make this major change in their lives. But you haven’t made the call because you are not sure. You may have some concerns and questions.
I have written a series of articles on stop smoking hypnosis which you will find links for below that are all designed to clear up misconceptions and help you understand what to expect.
In this article, I will talk you through nine things to consider so you can find the best quit smoking hypnotist for your needs.
Now that we have cleared that up, let's move on to what you should consider before booking an appointment with a quit smoking hypnotist.
You have done an online search for quit smoking hypnosis in your local area, but there are so many practitioners listed that you don’t know where to start.
One method of narrowing down the list of hypnotists is to ask around for recommendations in your circle of friends. Your friend’s personal experience with stop smoking hypnosis can vary of course, but if someone is repeatedly recommended then that person may be well worth checking out.
You may not get any recommendations. In that case my first advice to you is to ignore all advertising. Yes, really. Advertising can be very misleading. It is much better to do your own research and I am about to tell you how to do that.
First draw up a list of all quit smoking hypnotists in your area. Then, work your way through the list, phone them, and ask the questions below, plus anything else you may want to add. Feeling daunted? There is no need to be shy about asking questions. You are a customer and it is good practice to check out if a service is the right fit for you before you buy.
First and foremost I would advise you to check out the quit smoking hypnotist’s qualifications.
A quick online search, for example for ‘hypnosis training’ in your area will find the reputable hypnosis schools. Have a look at their home page to find out about the kind of training they provide.
If you can’t find this information, simply ask the hypnotist how long their training was. A substantial training should take at least one year and should happen in a classroom (as opposed to online). The training should involve working with real clients. Client case studies help to hone a practitioner’s skills and to prepare them for professional practice. That’s the reason I consider them essential.
Ask them are they affiliated to a professional association. Depending on the law in your country, not every practitioner might be. An online search, for example for ‘professional bodies hypnosis’ will reveal which associations are prominent in your locality, and what they stand for.
These initial questions will give you a first feel for the level of service you can expect from the quit smoking hypnotist.
Check out online reviews, too. Sites like What Clinic will have an option for clients to leave reviews about practitioners. The caveat being that often, these are not great quality because people who quit smoking through hypnosis typically won’t know much about hypnotherapy and are likely the subject of hypnosis myths. This will influence their feedback.
However, there may be one or two bigger issues that
crop up repeatedly about a particular practitioner in reviews. Do keep an eye out for those.
Do ask the quit smoking hypnotists on your list what their success rate is. This is a little bit of a trick question, and here is why.
This question will weed out practitioners who claim unrealistic success rates such as 95-99 percent.
No smoking cessation method can deliver such quit rates. Research has shown quit rates for stop smoking hypnosis of between 16% and 87%, depending on the exact method used (which compares favorably to other smoking cessation methods).
You don’t need the hypnotherapist to give you an exact figure here, but you are looking for a realistic answer, one that makes sense to you.
Read more here about unethical practices in quit smoking hypnotism and what to look out for.
Next you will want to know how many sessions hypnotherapy to quit smoking involves with each quit smoking hypnotist.
should ask this question because many quit smoking hypnotists offer
only one session. And for many people, one session is simply not enough
to make the change they want to make in their lives. Research on stop smoking hypnosis has shown that quit rates improve with longer
Therefore, at minimum, for aftercare, your quit smoking hypnotist should
give you a CD or a download of a hypnosis session you can use for daily
maintenance at home.
Session length is a good indicator of quality of the service. Believe it or not, there are some dubious quit smoking hypnotists who will promise to “Make you stop smoking” in as little as five minutes. You don’t need a PhD to figure how unrealistic that is. Hypnosis is not magic!
The first session should involve a substantial consultation of no less than 30 minutes.
The goal of this consultation should be to adapt the program of hypnosis for smoking to your personal needs. The actual hypnosis session should be at least one hour in length. This is to ensure the client is sufficiently deep in hypnosis. It also ensures that there is enough time to deliver the messaging required to change your attitudes, believes and mindset with regard to smoking.
WebMD recommend asking the practitioner if he or she is able to help the client without hypnosis. This publication is very cautious about recommending hypnotherapy to quit smoking, and that is why they recommend asking this question.
I also think it is a good question to ask, but for a different reason.
I would include this question because research has shown that quit rates are higher when you combine different techniques to quit smoking. This is the reason that my program combines cognitive behavioral and psychotherapeutic methods with a thorough hypnosis program.
So, do check what else the practitioner is trained in. For example, they may be an addiction counselor or a psychotherapist as well as a hypnotist, and that would, in my opinion, give them a deeper understanding of the issues involved.
Furthermore, you can ask the quit smoking hypnotists on your list whether or not their program of hypnotherapy to quit smoking can be adjusted to your personal requirements. For example, it may be important for you to quit smoking without gaining weight. Ask the practitioner if s/he can include tailor-made hypnotic suggestions for your particular concerns.
individualized hypnotic suggestions would be of great benefit because
research has shown that individualized hypnosis programs resulted in
higher quit rates (1).
You may have been waiting for me to prompt you to ask the quit smoking hypnotist how much they charge. By now you will have a sense that an opening question about the cost won’t tell you an awful lot. First you need to establish what you are actually paying for.
First and foremost you want to make sure you are getting a good quality service. When, at last, you do ask them how much they charge, you will now know to consider the price in relation to quality.
but not least I want to mention to you to listen to your intuition
while doing your research. Notice how you feel when talking to each quit
Include your intuitive feelings in your decision making about which is the best quit smoking hypnotist for you to book.
I hope this article has helped to demystify stop smoking hypnosis and to make hypnosis more accessible for you as a therapy.
In the comments underneath let our community know if you will give hypnosis for smoking a go?
In the meantime, here is to your health ans well being.
(1) Holroyd, J., 1980. Hypnosis treatment for smoking: An evaluative review. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 28(4), pp.341-357.
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