Hypnotherapy, hypnotherapist, hypnosis, london,

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hypnosis?

Modern psychology defines hypnosis as a state of "increased suggestibility" - however the simplicity of this definition belies its power and depth.

Hypnosis is a natural state that we enter into many times a day when our critical mind is switched off and we become absorbed in something or simply day dream. During this time we are more open to suggestion (the executive function is withdrawn) and we have access to both our conscious mind and the less conscious, or subconscious.

It is in the subconscious where our habits and habitual thinking, the learned routines that we have automated, operate.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a simple, but extraordinarily powerful technique, where suggestions are given, under hypnosis, to change thinking patterns, beliefs, behaviour, physiological and emotional responses. Some people compare it to opening up a "control panel" to the mind and body. The hypnotherapist works with the client to achieve hypnosis and then introduces powerfully crafted thoughts, ideas and visualisations that bring change at the very deepest levels.

What about nicotine patches and other drugs?
Why isn't hypnotherapy available under the NHS?

This a complicated topic however it is important to be clear on effectiveness rates. Generally the following figures are broadly agreed upon as abstention rates 12 months after treatment:

  • Willpower alone: 6%
  • Placebo: 8%
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): 10% to 15%
  • Buproprion: 16%
  • Varenicline: 21.9% (new drug known as Champix)
  • Hypnotherapy: 28% to 38% (we believe 50% to 80% for our approach)

A few points here:

  1. When TV ads say that Nicotine patches can double your chances they aren't saying much. And you are still addicted to nicotine.

  2. Placebo for NRT is highly controversial. Placebo is where you are given an inert dummy pill (e.g. sugar) instead of the actual drug and there is some significant improvement simply due to the expectation of the patient. However there is no good placebo for Nicotine Replacement because people can actually feel the nicotine from the patch as it stimulates the nervous system (Nicotine is central nervous system stimulant). So they know if they are getting the real thing or a dummy.

  3. Recent announcements about the new drug Champix (Varenicline) were "spin" - as they focused on 12 week abstention rates (at a claimed 44%.) No-one considers 12 week abstention rates to be an acceptable measure. In studies Champix had 21.9% abstention at 12 months. So nearly 80% of you would still be smoking next year.

  4. Hypnotherapy is not currently a recommended treatment with the NHS because the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), who issue the NHS guidelines, requires very strict research standards for studies to be included in their evaluations. Most studies on Hypnotherapy for Smoking Cessation have failed to meet these standards. The strict standards are better suited to drug testing, where variables are tightly controlled, than counselling or hypnotherapy, where there are many hard to define variables. In addition a wide variety of treatment protocols are used with no strict definition. Therefore the status is that it is still awaiting further study.

  5. Widely differing treatment approaches are reported under "Hypnotherapy" - these range from simple suggestion ("you will no longer smoke"), to regression ("let's go back to childhood and find out why you started smoking"), to modern, multi-modal CBT based approaches. In addition, the skill and experience of the therapist introduces a considerable variable into the research study. Simplistic direct suggestion approaches and inexperienced therapists will generally bring down the overall reported effectiveness rate for "Hypnotherapy".

  6. Modern research studies meeting the strict standards for NICE are cost-prohibitive for small organisations and even the self-regulatory bodies of hypnotherapy (e.g. the National Council of Hypnotherapy).

  7. Recent discussions with the Advertising Standards Authority, who are very strict on hypnotherapy ads for stopping smoking, have led them to approve the statement that "hypnotherapy is at least five times as effective as willpower and at least twice as effective as Nicotine Gum". Therefore the ASA will stand by hypnotherapists claiming around 30% effectiveness for Smoking Cessation (five times the 6% rate for willpower alone).

  8. Hypnotherapists that are claiming 95% success rates have no figures to back this up - and they have been successfully challenged by the ASA in every instance.

  9. We believe that a modern multi-modal CBT based hypnotherapy achieves results in the 50% to 80% range at one year abstention. We acknowledge that currently we do not have research studies to back this up.

Do I lose control under hypnosis?

This is a common fallacy and nothing could be further from the truth. Hypnotherapy is a collaboration between the client and the hypnotherapist and requires the client's active participation. You can hear and respond to everything during the therapeutic process and you are an active participant in the therapy.

How does Smoking Cessation work?

Deep in the subconscious mind is where the majority of your behaviour is controlled. Once a new behaviour has been consciously learned it is delegated to subconscious control (e.g. riding a bicycle, driving a car or smoking). The same is true of the way we "process" information about the world around us - having acquired a set of beliefs and concepts we delegate them to subconscious control and - we automatically engage in thoughts, feelings and behaviours subconsciously - i.e. not under our conscious control.

Smoking is 80% habit - and a subconscious coping strategy for stress and social anxiety. (However Nicotine increases overall stress and social anxiety - while providing short-term relief. Which is why it appears so addictive.) Once an individual becomes aware of why they are smoking, when the automated habit is broken and when new stress coping strategies are introduced - then the smoking habit stops.


How many sessions?

Most people find that Stop Smoking is effective in a single session, however some people find that a second "booster" session is needed.



mark davis hypnotherapist

'Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking"
- New Scientist ( vol 136)


Stop Smoking Hypnosis  -   Hypnotherapy London - Free Self Hypnosis - Hypnotherapy Hampstead -