Quitline or Hypnosis?


Quitline or Hypnosis? Either are good but both is even better! On Monday the 6th March I attended the QuitLine Brief Intervention course at the Victoria Cancer Council for Health Professionals in Melbourne. I was really pleased to see that many of the strategies and mindset they teach dovetails nicely in with what we do in hypnosis. The standout fact for me from the training, was that smokers will decide to quit smoking if their health professional mentions it to them.

Quitline has done a stellar job educating smokers since 1985 about the devastating health effects to every part of your body. There are 7,000 toxins in every cigarette and it affects every organ in your body. There are 40 smoking related diseases you can get and some of the visuals they provide on their website of how the body is affected, from oral cancer to how it affects pregnant women and passive smokers are very scary. Around 3.3 million Australians still smoke and an estimated 15,000 people die each year of smoking-related illness.

I smoked from 17 to 25 until I was pregnant and then would smoke off and on until my third child was born. I remember in the unregulated 1980’s, the days when there was no .05 and you casually noted the road toll in the hundreds as you drove on the road. I remember smoking when the kids were babies sitting around having champers and telling the hubbies that we had had a very busy day…
We know better now and we know that smokers are the exception not the rule. In our indigenous community, the smoking rate ranges from 40 percent to 75 percent – along with other health issues. We know that smoking and mental illness and unemployment go hand in hand and death for the indigenous people occurs years earlier compared to the general population.I love the fact that we can take a multi-dimensional approach and solution to helping people quit smoking patches/medication/my quit buddy/acupuncture/ coaching and hypnosis and that there is so much support from organisations like Quitline.

There should definitely be some incentive for the unemployed to quit like a one-off payment – the benefits would be enormous health and fitness wise. Or a non – monetary incentive like a gym membership perhaps.
I did get a bit fired up though having sat through the presentation of quit smoking products which went on and on towards the end of the training.The Quitline educators acknowledge that for their clients the most successful solutions to help people quit smoking are a combination of products and coaching. Now hypnosis definitely comes under the umbrella of coaching and suggestions which are accepted and implanted with the client’s permission into their subconscious mind.

In my opinion and experience with over 450 clients who have come to me to quit smoking- hypnosis can be very powerful and effective at utilising and harnessing the client’s motivation and desire to quit finally.
Whilst in hypnosis the client’s emotions are amplified and their imagination fired positively and linked to a successful outcome. That is to be a permanent non-smoker who breathes fresh air. Importantly hypnosis can be the convincer that they need to achieve and believe their goal to quit smoking. This happens with suggestions made to the client through repetition, imagery, future projection and harnessing emotional responses to a healthy future. When the critical mind is switched off and the client is deeply relaxed/in trance the subconscious mind will more readily accept the suggestions as long as the client is compliant.
There are no drugs used, no products only your mind, conscious and subconscious, your thoughts your willingness and your beliefs to achieve the goal. Interestingly I recall only around 1 client who experienced cravings after the hypnosis.

I asked the Quitline staff what was their view on hypnosis and they said they could not endorse it as there have not been enough clinical studies done. There is much anecdotal evidence and there have been trials done with much success, but not enough. However, if client asks about hypnosis as a therapy they do refer them to the Australian Hypnotherapy Association which is the accredited body for professional hypnotherapists. The association has done and is doing massive work and education of health professionals and insurers to get hypnosis recognised and accepted as an effective therapy /intervention for smoking. Some insurers rebate for hypnosis which is fantastic and all of us especially smokers who want to quit, are paying through the nose for health insurance should be lobbying them hard.
So, we are lucky that we have a smorgasbord of help you only have to choose your serving.

Cathy Barrow