Ok, ok… So loads of my professional peers have been expressing glee for a few days because there is a piece of modern research, the findings just published, whereby hypnosis is shown to have a good degree of efficacy in helping people to be non-smokers. That sounds good, doesn’t it?
Now bearing in mind that the recent TV documentary here in the UK and other reports have been disputing this efficacy and offering resistance about hypnosis being useful in helping people stop smoking, I welcome it too.
Get ready for a big BUT….
I have purposely avoided writing about it straight away for one particular reason… The research is so utterly lame.
I mean, the findings are so profoundly lame in the way they are framed, I am desperately un-enthused about it… So how would any other — non-hypnosis professional — feel reading it?
Ok, so let me quote some of this non-earth moving material, found at US News and World website here:
Smokers trying to quit sometimes use nicotine patches to fight their tobacco dependence. But patches don’t work for everyone. New research suggests that patches might be made more effective if used in combination with hypnosis, just as they tend to work better when used in conjunction with professional counseling. A recently published study showed hypnotherapy to be as effective as standard behavioral counseling when combined with nicotine patches in helping smokers to quit and stay off cigarettes for one year.
“This study provides much-needed evidence that hypnosis is indeed a very helpful treatment,” says lead author Timothy Carmody.
Hahahahaha — as effective as standard behavioral counseling when combined with nicotine patches… Hahahaha. This has to be one of the most lame findings for any piece of research. Am I being unkind?
The article continues:
During hypnotherapy, Carmody explained, patients are coaxed into a relaxed state and then provided with a series of skills for coping with withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke. Patients are given an audiotape of this training to reinforce these messages at home, and over time it is hoped they will gain increased confidence in their ability to stay off cigarettes for the long term.
Hypnotherapy is one of many alternative therapies gaining wider acceptance at some of the nation’s best hospitals and medical research institutes.
The study, conducted at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California-San Francisco, was published in the May issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research. A total of 286 participants were randomly divided and received either hypnosis or standard behavioral counseling aimed at smoking cessation. During standard behavioral counseling, patient and counselor discussed the dangers of smoking and the benefits of quitting. Participants in both groups were seen for two 60-minute sessions and received three 20-minute follow-up calls to reinforce the messages discussed in either the hypnosis or behavioral counseling treatment sessions.
Brian Hitsman, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, called the results encouraging and added that the hypnotic intervention evaluated in the study may have the potential to serve as another nonpharmacological treatment option in addition to standard counseling. But Hitsman emphasized that hypnosis may boost smoking cessation rates only when combined with nicotine patch therapy. “This study says nothing about the potential effect of the hypnosis intervention in the absence of a nicotine patch,” he said.
Exactly!… Why oh why would you do a piece of research attempting to show the efficacy of hypnosis for stopping smoking… While they were using nicotine patches? This is crazy…
Ok, bless the researchers for putting something mildly positive into the public domain… But, it is utterly lame… I read earlier this week, a load of hypnosis people suggesting that this research could be used for marketing purposes and all kinds of other good work in promoting us hypnotherapists and hypnosis professionals… But excuse me for not joining in with the ‘Hallelujahs!‘
I love to see my beloved subject getting credible scrutiny and proven results and I am happy for the results here… It is the same as when my football team, Nottingham Forest wins… I love it under any circumstances… But if we beat a local pub side or deal out a thrashing to a local under-15 team, I would find the victory rather dissatisfying!
Hear, hear! And why do we even need this lame bit of research when we already have some much better evidence from 1992:
Don’t they have anything better to spend their research funding on?
Thank you Sophie! The New Scientist documented research from 1992 is something I’d like to see people build upon rather than publishing the sort of stuff I have mentioned today.
I would want to know who underwrote the study. My hunch, and it’s only a hunch, it’s Big Pharma. They like to repackage medications so they can extend the life of the drug and make more money. Pairing the nicotine patch with another modality to boost effectiveness keeps the money rolling in. That may be why the study groups both used the patch vs/ having two control groups, one that only used counseling and the other only hypnosis.
In my practice clients keep having wonderful results without the use of the patch, gum, and Chantix.
I often wonder who the hypnotists are who run these “researches” and if they’ve had the usual weekend “Hypnosis For Psychologists” course with the ubiquitous Progressive Relaxation or if they are in fact trained to some exacting standard i.e. the National Guild of Hypnotists.
The reason this research is saying that hypnosis when used with patches can be effective is because NRT is SO ineffective and hypnosis is massively effective that the big pharma companies want to cash in on hypnosis’s success rate in order to boost their profits. Simple as! I wouldn’t be surprised if Pfizer had paid for the reserach to be done! If you want to stop get multi session (4x1hour minimum) hypnotherapy from someone who knows what they’re doing and its easy to stop! No need for NRT!
I have been helping clients to quit smoking since 1994 and my clients have reported fantastic results (most of my new clients come through recommendations). In all this time I have never treated anyone for stopping smoking whilst they were using nicotine patches or gum. As smoking is mostly a psychological addiction then NRT ensures that the prop is still there. A smoker needs to quit completely in order to be free, rather than relying on their gum. patches, inhaler or whatever.