When I began writing posts for my Website I went back to where it all began – in the late 1970’s with my research into smoking and my subsequent book, “Personal Change Through Self Hypnosis”. .

As a Student and Staff Counsellor at University of Technology, Sydney, I made frequent use of hypnosis as a therapeutic technique, and made an audio tape of each session so that it could be played regularly at home. One day a recording I made for giving up smoking cigarettes tangled up so I made another, and listened to it for quality control. Then I simply stopped smoking.

Setting about researching the comparison of making your own tape recording and listening to it versus being hypnotised by someone else, I found a 75% abstention rate for those who made their own recording.

This was amazing.

I had many interesting experiences and incidents carrying out my research. The 120 people I used for my experiments came from the staff and students of U.T.,S. and from outside. I advertised for subjects in the Sydney Morning Herald, and had a few high profile participants. Fortunately out of four who could have made disparaging remarks to all and sundry, three gave up smoking and the other reduced his intake dramatically.

I followed them up for six months, receiving feedback at regular intervals.

The participants who gave up smoking completely reported that they did not need willpower. For most of them, as happened with me, smoking seemed to disappear from conscious awareness: other people’s cigarettes did not bother them, they were not aware of smoking ads in the cinema, no cravings, no interest at all.

Two of the participants complained that they had undertaken the project for a lark, with no intention of giving up because they loved their Marlboroughs and their Gitanes. But they found they just couldn’t bring themselves to smoke after the sessions. Both had constructed their own hypnosis recordings.

So for cigarette smoking at least, self hypnosis was much more powerful than hypnosis by another.

More next time.