As a hypnotist, I frequently help people overcome addictions, typically: smoking, alcohol, cocaine (or crack) and sex. If you, or someone you know, is considering trying hypnosis for this reason, there are some things you should keep in mind.
1. Hypnosis is not psychotherapy or counseling. (Some counselors are also trained hypnotists. Try one of them if you want both.) Hypnosis is much more akin to computer reprogramming. Therefore, if it works, it’s going to work quickly. I frequently have people stop the addictive behavior or experience an 80% reduction after one session. (Visit the “Success Stories” section of my website at www.mooreinspire.com to read about some of them.) It’s unusual for me to see a client who is working on only one addiction more than five times. Psychotherapy frequently takes years before any perceptible change in behavior occurs.
Does this mean that psychotherapy is a needless waste of time? NO, it simply operates on a completely different paradigm than hypnosis.
Hypnosis is very pragmatic. You tell me what you want to accomplish, and I will develop the appropriate suggestions so that you may achieve that goal. Examples: quitting smoking, passing a licensing exam, enjoying sex with given partner, lowering level of anxiety, feeling more confident in job interviews, you name it.
Psychotherapy and counseling work on the conscious mind. Addictions, along with habits, long-term memories and beliefs, are all stored in the subconscious mind. I believe that counseling and psychotherapy both have the much more wide-reaching and esoteric goal of self- awareness. New clients, who first sought one of the former,frequently tell me, “I KNOW why I have the problem thanks to counseling. It just hasn’t stopped.”
The first thing I tell my clients is: You can ask any question you want in here except “WHY?” If you ask why, your subconscious will make up some kind of story, like: Because you’re an idiot, or because you had a bad childhood, or because your uncle abused you. That way of thinking is what Carolyn Myss refers to as “woundology,” or as what my mentor, Shelley Stockwell Nicholas calls “the movie script of your life that you wrote for yourself.”
In hypnosis, we are simply about solving the problem. Really, who cares why?
2. Even when hypnosis doesn’t appear to work initially, it will have a powerful enough impact on the client’s perceptions that it will eventually create the desired change in behavior. I can remember one of my first drinkers was insistent that she be able to come for hypnosis without attending AA. (I don’t require, but STRONGLY ENCOURAGE, involvement in a 12-step program since they have the best record of success with addictions. I also believe that addicts need to be around people who are NOT going to enable them. I wish I had a dime for every “helpful” mother who brough her addicted child in to SAVE him. The person who needs hypnosis, in that case, is the parent, and I always end up telling them to stop enabling their child, if they want them to get well.)
Anyway, back to my drinker. Every week I encouraged her to attend AA, even though she was not.
About a year later, she called to “rip me a new one.” “My sponsor said to be sure to call you to tell you the hypnosis DID NOT work and you SHOULD NOT be lying to people and telling them that the hypnosis will work without AA. I HAD to go to an AA meeting to finally quit drinking!”
Obviously she had not only lied to herself, but her sponsor, too, about what I had actually said.
“Hoorah!” I shouted. “It DID work! It got you to go to AA.”
BTW, I actually have had numerous clients, since the first one, quit drinking without AA. So, have I stopped strongly requesting that they go to meetings? No.