Debby Skerry came away a believer. Linda Pinchbeck was a little more skeptical. The ladies were part of a crowd of approximately 50 people who attended the group hypnosis session for smokers trying to quit at Bristol Community College on Wednesday.
Debby Skerry came away a believer. Linda Pinchbeck was a little more skeptical.
The ladies were part of a crowd of approximately 50 people who attended the group hypnosis session for smokers trying to quit at Bristol Community College on Wednesday.
The program was presented in conjunction with the American Cancer Society ahead of Thursday's Great American Smokeout.
Alan Alves, a master clinical hypnotist, took the participants on a 55-minute journey to a “private tropical beach on a warm sunny day."
Alves said a group session similar to the one at BCC typically nets a 20 to 25 percent success rate. In a private session, he claims more than 90 percent will quit smoking for good.
“With a group session it is very difficult to relax,” said Alves. “You are sitting in a room full of strangers. Someone might be snoring or coughing.”
Alves said media images over the years have glamorized smoking and programmed individuals to take up the habit. His hypnosis sessions serve as a way to break away from the routine.
“We try to change their programming,” said Alves. “Your conscious mind has temporary memory, but your subconscious mind has permanent memory. That’s like your computer mind. That’s your operating system. If you have some programs that are bad programs, you will operate in a bad manner. Hypnosis can help you change those programs, but you’ve got to want to help yourself.”
Alves said hypnosis helped him quit his three-pack daily habit several years ago. He has been involved in hypnosis for more than 25 years. Alves graduated from the Omni Hypnosis Training School in Deland, Fla. and was certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists. He opened the Southcoast Hypnosis Center in 1999. Two years later, Alves obtained the level of master hypnotist, and in 2002 he became a certified instructor for the National Guild of Hypnotists.
Pinchbeck has smoked for several years. The New Bedford resident said her husband convinced her to give the session a try.
“I thought it was interesting,” said Pinchbeck. “I haven’t decided if it worked.”
Skerry is hoping the hypnosis will convince her to quit her 40-year habit. She currently smokes three packs a day despite having both of her lungs collapse after a bout with pneumonia in 1998. The 54-year old Fall River resident said she wakes up every couple of hours during the night and her first instinct is to grab a cigarette.
“I feel good about it,” said Skerry. “I’m hoping it breaks me out of my routine.”
During the session, Alves attempted to convince the attendees that they were nonsmokers and will remain nonsmokers for the rest of their lives. He emphasized that people have to have the desire to kick the habit.
“They’ve got to want to do it,” said Alves. “And they’ve got to reinforce it themselves. If you focus your mind, you can create your own reality.”
E-mail Derek Vital at firstname.lastname@example.org