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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why Hypnosis May Fail (for Smoking and Weight Loss)

By far the most common applications -- indeed, the "bread-and-butter" of many practicing professionals -- involve the use of hypnosis to help people quit smoking and lose weight.  Sadly, the statistics are quite different than what many may believe.

It is a principle of hypnosis that one cannot be hypnotized to do something he/she does not wish to do. This is extremely valid with habits. Those who want to quit smoking will do so (generally with or without hypnosis), whereas those who merely wish they didn't smoke rarely succeed.

When I first read Trance and Treatment (by the Spiegels, a father-son duo, both psychiatrists), I was stunned to learn that they claimed a mere 26% success rate with smoking. The American Medical Association (AMA) has also noted that roughly three of four people who begin smoking will be unable to quit. However, I heard various hypnotists bragging about 50% all the way up to 94% success.

The discrepancy is explained by precisely when the follow-ups are done.  For some unknown reason, major regressions occur at three months and one year. The Spiegels' follow-ups were at the one-year mark, while some of my colleagues did follow-ups within as little as three days!

In those pre-Internet, pre-cell phone days, it was far too easy to lose touch, so I was unable to do follow-ups on all of my smokers.  Of those I reached twelve to thirteen months later, some 30% had kicked the habit, but given the limited numbers, my score still lies well within the parameters suggested by the Spiegels and the AMA.

Weight-loss is actually worse. A colleague told me years ago that he had never seen a person for weight-loss where the excess pounds were really the issue. In fact, there were almost always other problems related to the obesity. Various studies by the AMA invariably found that five years later, the overwhelming percentage of dieters had regained their pounds. The only encouraging sign was that people who lost weight gradually and began an integrated program of diet, exercise, and nutrition were more likely to succeed.

I didn't bother with five-year follow-ups, and at this point I almost never work with people for either of these purposes. Happily, other uses of hypnosis have proven most beneficial, and it may perhaps even more helpful when combined with reiki. Anxiety (including performance anxiety/test anxiety), cognition (helping people learn more quickly), pre-birth, and pre-surgical applications have shown marvelous results, and hypnosis (with reiki) also helps immensely with treatment of many psychological issues, including phobias and stress management. I am delighted to address all of these, as well as general "healing" (physical, emotional, chakric, and spiritual).