Breaking the smoking habit through hypnosis
Kevin Dean, an Angie's List member in Chatsworth, Calif., says he tried almost everything to quit smoking: going cold turkey, journaling about his habit and aversion therapy — including pinching himself when he got the urge. Nothing worked. Then a friend suggested hypnosis.
"I'm a skeptic in general," Dean says. But desperate for a break, the 35-year smoker joined other Angie's List members who have turned to hypnosis — many doing so, like Dean, to quit smoking or lose weight.
He spent $750 on six sessions with Marc Gravelle, a veteran instructor and hypnotherapist at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Tarzana, Calif. Gravelle estimates about one-quarter of clients who come to the Institute's clinic do so hoping to lose weight or quit smoking.
Many succeed, he says, but he's quick to add one must be motivated: "A person has to really want to quit."
Research on using hypnosis for smoking cessation shows success rates — which vary greatly by the study — are often on par or better than traditional methods; the same seems to be true for weight loss, though long-term success rates tend to be lower.
Hypnosis worked for Dean, affecting his psyche. "I found myself thinking about being a non-smoker," says Dean, adding that he began questioning whether he even wanted a cigarette — a foreign thought.
He quit three days after his first session, which was a year ago. "I don't think about smoking, which is a phenomenal, phenomenal proof for a guy like me," he says.