You're Getting Smoke Free
Not only is the state of hypnosis totally natural, but people slip in and out of it all the time and don't even realize it, says hypnotherapist John Weir.
We're doing it all day long, we just don't call it hypnosis, said Weir, president of the Hypnosis Center for Motivation and Habit Management in Munhall. It's a natural function of our brains. Hallmark doesn't have a card for World Hypnotism Day yet, because this is only it's second year, but Weir will mark the occasion with two sessions aimed at the biggest New Years resolutions: weight loss and smoking cessation.
The main thing I try to do is clear up some of the misconceptions that people might see in Hollywood and the media, Weir said.
You're not giving up control. The person under hypnosis is in complete control at all times. Weir says hypnotism can help a subject return to what he calls the natural you, allowing people to correct their thoughts and learned behavior.
It's like putting new programs into a computer, and at the same time deleting old programs, he said.
But Benjamin Radford managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, said there may be an easier way to lose weight or quit smoking.
If you have the self-discipline, save the $250 or whatever it costs, and do it yourself, Radford said.
Radford, author of the book Media Mythmakers, said many people have a sense that there is some mystery surrounding hypnosis and its benefits.
For a lot of people, they need an authority figure to help them unlock their potential or whatever, Radford said.
Hypnosis is as successful as the subject wants it to be, Radford said, and depends largely on the subject's motivation. Weir agreed on that point; desire and motivation are key to altering behavior via hypnosis, he said. And both agreed that a person isn't going to do something under hypnosis that he or she wouldn't do otherwise.
A lot of people worry and say What if you hypnotize me and tell me to bark like a dog? Weir said.
People who participate in hypnosis stage shows might be persuaded to sing like Madonna then and there, Weir said, but not to bark like a cell phone rings. Your brain won't let you do things it thinks are unacceptable. Radford noted that such people tend to be exhibitionists, to a degree, who already are willing to go along with premise of hypnosis before they go onstage.
Radford said he sought the help of a hypnotherapist when he having trouble sleeping in college, but without success. I wasn't willing to say I was hypnotized when I wasn't, he said.
For his part, Weir points out that hypnosis is a viable therapeutic option approved by the American Medical Association.
It lets a person take greater control of their behavior, he said. Hypnosis can help people activate themselves to get to their goals.