Hypnosis vs. nicotine

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A group therapy session for smokers trying to quit will be held tonight.

Smokers can attempt to kick their habit at a free hypnosis therapy session tonight at the Osage Community Centre in Cape Girardeau.

New Life Clinics, a not-for-profit organization located in Arizona, will be offering group hypnotherapy at 7:30 p.m. The therapy will be used to change people's behaviors to help eliminate tobacco use.

Dr. Robert G. Dean, executive director for New Life Clinics, said the hypnosis program has been successful in helping people quit smoking.

"When they are put under hypnosis, rather than use the word smoking, we use the word disorder," he said. "What they will be here for is a disorder and when you hear the word disorder, you will apply it to smoking."

He said the hypnotherapy can also be successful in helping people quit other bad habits such as nail biting and overeating.

"Don't be surprised if they change other things about their lives as well, all of these disorders will disappear," Dean said.

While no published scientific studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of New Life Clinics' smoking hypnotherapy, Dean said a credible study was done in 1995 by Mind Profiles Laboratory.

In the study, more than 10,000 New Life clients were surveyed one year after hypnotherapy treatment for tobacco addiction. Of the 80 percent of people who responded, 51 percent were not smoking.

However, Jackson Medical Center psychologist Jerrell Driver believes only a few people will benefit from the hypnosis therapy.

"It does work for some people, but this is not for everyone," Driver said.

He said the hypnosis will work depending on the person's ability to be hypnotized.

"There are people who are susceptible to external control and put a lot of faith into others," he said. "These folks will be the ones more susceptible to hypnosis."

New Life Clinics estimates 90 percent of the population can be hypnotized.

At the Osage Community Centre, the New Life Clinics hypnotist will perform a test to see if a person is capable of being hypnotized.

Driver said if more people used this type of treatment, more people would quit smoking.

"One of the most positive things you can do is quit smoking," he said. "My advice is to use whatever works."

The group hypnotherapy session will last approximately two hours and is free, but New Life Clinics will accept donations.

Since 1993, the clinic has been providing charitable health care services in 34 states.

"We perform clinical hypnosis. This is not a stage hypnosis for entertainment purposes," Dean said. "It is a perfectly safe procedure."

Children ages 12-17 can attend the session but must be accompanied by an adult.

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