To some, hypnosis instantly conjures up the image of a monocle-wearing Freudian psychiatrist, a swinging pocket watch and a reclined patient inside a poorly-lighted room talking about oedipal sexual fantasies. However, the truth is much more mundane. Hypnosis is an accepted form of behavioural therapy to treat trauma, phobia and certain types of disorders. Patients undergoing hypnotherapy do not lose their free will or fall under the control of another. There is zero credible evidence of any hypnotherapist successfully compelling a patient to do something against his or her will.
Instead, using several benign techniques, patients' state of consciousness are altered and become highly focused, which makes them more susceptible to external suggestions that are inline to their own desires and beliefs. It is an accepted alternative therapeutic tool in medical community.
Hypnotherapists rarely employ the same techniques, but during smoking cessation sessions, patients are usually asked to think about the eventual outcomes of their smoking habits. Their responses are fleshed out in detail - the effects of diseases and the way they ravage the body and the effects of their illness on family and loved ones. Along the way, hypnotherapists will pepper in remarks about the effect of second hand smoke, the effect of the smell of cigarettes on their clothes on co-workers and family members and other similar life-disrupting episodes.
Hypnotherapists also train patients on daily affirmation techniques to help them maintain discipline and boost their chances against relapses. On the whole, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of hypnosis, but anecdotal evidence suggests that some patients are sufficiently affected to eventually quit smoking.
The National Health Service believes that there is no hard evidence on the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. However, the agency concedes that hypnosis does demonstrate some effect to patients.
There is no governing body for hypnotherapist in the U.K. However, you can find one near your location using the National Hypnotherapy Society website.
As always, do your homework before participating in any therapy sessions.