Hypnosis to quit smoking: does it work or is it a scam?
Is it certain that the hypnosis is sufficient as therapeutic resource to quit smoking?
If you look for in Internet "how to quit smoking", you are going to find multitude of pages and forums recommending you all type of miraculous methods, among them the hypnosis.
Although there do not exist serious scientific studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of the hypnosis to quit smoking, the gurus that try to sell it to you go out up to under the stones.
In this article I am going to comment briefly why the one to stop Smoking only with hypnosis is a myth (and a swindle).
Can you quit smoking with a single hypnosis session?
If you visit any hypnotist's website, you will immediately see that they all promise you to stop smoking almost magically after a session of a couple of hours.
They assure you that through their unique method, their voice, their neurolinguistic programming skills or whatever, they are going to "reset" your brain and eliminate your addiction to tobacco instantly.
Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but that's a lie. Addiction to tobacco (and any other drug) is a complex problem, and most people who try to quit smoking have been suffering from it for years (or decades).. No guru can whisper magic words in your ear that will change your brain in a few minutes.
Doctors and psychologists who have studied addictive behaviors in depth know perfectly well that overcoming tobacco addiction is a process that requires effort and awareness in changing day-to-day habitsand to apply relapse prevention strategies...
That's why the messages of hypnotherapists who promise to solve our addiction problem without any effort on our part (just take out the credit card) sound so sweet.
The power of group suggestion
Many hypnotherapists facilitate their hypnosis groups in hotel conference rooms. They take advantage of social biases to convince you that their method works..
An example: imagine 100 people attending one of these hypnosis sessions to stop smoking. By mere placebo effect and as a matter of statistics, probably 10 or 20 people will "quit smoking" that same day (but not forever).
The rest of the people (the majority) will not feel "the magic of hypnosis", but will be afraid or ashamed to admit out loud that it did not work for them. This is what usually happens in these types of groups: if it doesn't work for me, I think it's my fault.
- Related article, "What is Social Psychology?"
As you can imagine, most people for whom hypnosis does not work (pure placebo effect), will keep it a secret. And the few people who did allow themselves to be hypnotized by the hypnotherapist, "jumped on the motivation bandwagon" and quit smoking for a few hours or a few days, will tell everyone that the hypnotherapy was a great help to them. they will tell everyone that hypnosis is great..
This is what we call in psychology "survivor bias", when a minority who have had apparent positive results are the only ones who talk about the results, while those who did not succeed do not share the information (out of embarrassment or a sense of failure).
We then get the false impression that "everyone stops smoking with hypnosis".
Unfortunately, they eventually end up facing reality. Many people who come out of a hypnosis session without smoking end up relapsing a few days or weeks later. end up relapsing a few days or weeks later.. I know because that is the case of many of the people who ask me for help to quit smoking, they have gone through several hypnosis sessions and still no progress.
Can anyone quit smoking a couple of days with hypnosis?
Anyone can get motivated by watching some videos or attending a personal development event and quit smoking for a few hours or a few days.
The hard part is to maintain that over time. Among addiction professionals, it is considered that the threshold to consider that a person has overcome an addiction is one year without relapse (at least). (at least).
Those who profit from the myth of hypnosis take advantage of these biases in scientific research. They will say that many people came out of the session "smoke-free", but they will not follow up, and they will conveniently ignore the cases of relapse within days or weeks of hypnosis (most of them).
Wanting to solve our problems without effort Quitting smoking is not easy, even if Allen Carr's famous book says so.
Most people need to understand how their addiction works, what their smoking habits are like, what their smoking habits are like, how they use, and how they feel.How their smoking habits are, when they smoke, with whom, where, how they feel before, during and after smoking, the role tobacco plays in their day-to-day life, etc.
It requires a lot of self-awareness, and above all, changes in habits and adaptation to a new context. No one can give you that with 2 hours in a hotel.
The hypnotherapists usually take advantage of an almost mystical narrative to make people think that they have "special powers" or that they have access to the subconscious (which we have known for decades does not exist, despite the lies and scams of Sigmund Freud, who falsified his own cases to support his theories).
- Related article, "Which is the best method to quit smoking: cold turkey or gradually?"
Science shows us that hypnosis doesn't work
If we ask the scientific community, here's what the evidence says. Hypnosis is a technique (a technique, not a therapy) that can be interesting in very specific cases, if it is combined with other techniques.
That is to say, a psychotherapist could consider using some hypnosis punctually as part of the psychotherapy process, but never as 100% of the intervention, because that has neither feet nor head.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (and other variants) remains the method with the most scientific evidence for successful (and relapse-free) smoking cessation.
Psychological therapy for smoking cessation
I am Luis Miguel RealI am a psychologist and I have been working for years as a specialist in addictions. I can help you to quit smoking with scientifically proven methods, no magic tricks. With time and effort on your part, and the guidance of someone really trained, you will succeed.
If you want me to help you end your history with tobacco, contact me.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)