LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - When you hear the word "hypnosis," you might think of a mysterious hypnotist waving a pocket watch back and forth. But modern day hypnotherapy involves free will and hyperattentiveness. We sat down with a hypnotherapist to learn the science behind hypnotherapy and how it could be the cure to overcoming health problems that have lingered for years.
For 40 years, Cliff Webster smoked daily. "I would say, 'I'm gonna quit on my own,'" says Cliff, "but I couldn't do it."
A chance encounter with hypnotherapist Raymond LeBleu, Ph.D. in 1987 pushed Cliff to try a different smoking cessation technique: hypnotherapy. "Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to help people make changes," says Dr. LeBleu.
These changes can range from eliminating phobias to transforming poor health choices. For Cliff, his own skepticism was put away with the hope that this could be the treatment that would end his addiction. "He laid me on the couch and talked to me," says Cliff, "and I would think he didn't hypnotize me, couldn't have, I don't get hypnotized...but he did!"
20 plus years later, Cliff has yet to smoke another cigarette. "He will not go back to smoking," says Dr. LeBleu, "he's been hypnotically programmed not to smoke."
This hypnotic programming centers on the idea that the mind and body are intertwined and hypnotic verbal suggestions are the only "medication" the person needs. "What I do," says Dr. LeBleu, "is put a person into a hypnotically relaxed state and give them curative and therapeutic suggestions."
Linda McGenity is Cliff's sister-in-law. Smoking close to four packs a day, Linda turned to hypnotherapy as a last resort to quit her addiction. "It worked for my brother-in-law," says Linda, "but I'm nervous...I think it'll be great, though."
Each hour-long session involves deep relaxation techniques and constant verbal cues. Dr. LeBleu says hypnotherapy is about giving the person control over the problem controlling them. "The whole purpose of clinical hypnosis is not to take control from people, but to give them a greater sense of control," he says.
In the week since Linda's first session, she's cut her cigarette intake in half. Cliff says had he not quit 20 years ago, he doesn't think he'd still be around. "At my age, I'm 77," says Cliff, "I don't think I'd even be alive today."
Even the experts say with proper relaxation and focusing techniques, you can enter a hypnotic state on your own and make suggestions to the hypnotic mind. To find out how to do this, click here.
Linda McGenity has agreed to let us check in on her in six months to see how much progress she has made with smoking. Dr. LeBleu says the most long-term success comes from at least five hypnotherapy sessions. The average cost for a session is anywhere from $75 to $250.