Hypnotherapist Richard Webster is claiming a 92 per cent success rate in helping smokers to quit the habit. Diana Worthy finds out what is involved.
"Most people who come to me have tried everything else," hypnotherapist Richard Webster says.
That is why people visit his home in Howick and pay for help to become non-smokers.
The sessions are one-on-one and last an hour.
He starts by finding out why people want his help and asks questions that will elicit answers he can use to make suggestions during the hypnosis.
People worried about putting on weight once they become non-smokers can even ask Richard to include suggestions that will prevent them overeating. He says it is impossible to hypnotise people to do anything bad.
"Hypnotism bypasses the conscious mind and the subconscious accepts what's put into it as long as it's good for the person and so long as suggestions I put into it will be accepted," he says.
Richard says many people do not realise they have already experienced a hypnotic state - such as times when they drive to destinations without conscious effort, when they have just woken up, or when they are daydreaming.
The first step is getting his clients to relax in an easy chair and, with eyes shut, concentrate on deep breathing.
Once that has been achieved, he asks them to visualise a set of steps and start walking down them.
That is when the hypnosis starts and each session is tailor-made to the individual.
Clients are told they will be aware of everything being said to them and are made to feel comfortable, and even excited, about the suggestions being made.
The session ends when they are brought back up the visualised steps with a countdown to opening their eyes.
After that, he hands out a CD that reinforces the session and a checklist of things that will help during withdrawal from nicotine.
Richard encourages his clients to call him after three days and at any other time if they think they are slipping back into old habits.
He will even re-hypnotise people if they need it.
"I do have some people returning.
"The three-month time is the danger point. It takes that time for the adrenal glands to get back to normal.
"When people come back they're embarrassed - they got drunk and had a cigarette or maybe something else may have happened. I can hypnotise them again.
"But I have a 92 per cent success rate. I do try and screen people ahead of time.
"If someone's coming because their partners nag, then it's not going to work. It has to be something the person wants to do for themselves," Richard says.
He says hypnotherapy bypasses willpower and so it is an easier way to stop smoking for many people.
A hugely prolific and successful author, Richard also used to be a well-known stage hypnotist but says he grew weary of constant travelling and never being at home.
"I decided I just wanted to help people," he says.
Richard Webster's Action Hypnosis Centre is at his home: 8 Napa Court, Howick. Call 535 2344 to discuss charges and book an appointment.
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