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Times Chronicle    Glenside News
To Your Health by Linda Finarelli, Staff Writer - June 11, 2008
(To see the article online at the newspaper's website, click here)

Want to lose weight or stop smoking? Hypnotherapy may be an option.

According to Dr. Bruce Eimer, a clinical psychologist in Huntingdon Valley who specializes in hypnotherapy, the use of hypnotic tools along with psychological counseling can help people change behaviors more quickly and efficiently. The director of Hypnosis Help Center and Alternative Behavior Associates, Eimer said he has used hypnotherapy "to help people change harmful habits" for 20 years. His success rate is about 70 percent for those trying to stop smoking and about 50% for those wanting to lose weight, he said.

Eimer sees patients in a one-on-one visit, with follow-up within two weeks if necessary, he said. For some, the goal is not losing weight, but eating a healthier diet, he said. Some need to jump-start a diet program or "go back on the wagon."

There is a "greater drop-out" rate for those trying to lose weight, Eimer said, because stress or other emotional problems in their lives may be causing them to use food as an outlet and contribute to overeating.

The use of hypnotherapy to stop smoking "works for people who are motivated and determined to stop," Eimer said. Usually, the person either has a strong positive motivation to stop or is scared, having been told some medical diagnosis as a result of smoking will be made worse, he said.

It doesn't matter how long or how much someone has smoked, though it is easier to help those who smoke three to four packs of cigarettes a day than those who smoke only eight cigarettes or so a day, he said.

Similarly, those with exceedingly high cholesterol or indications of cardiovascular disease or diabetes are often more motivated to change their eating habits, Eimer said. However, he noted, "the severely obese don't do well with hypnosis... they need to have a more structured program."

Eimer said he got involved with the use of hypnosis years ago when he learned to use self-hypnosis to deal with back pain.

"I experienced the benefits for myself," he said.

A board certified, licensed clinical psychologist, Eimer is also trained in clinical hypnosis and is a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and member of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.

During the first phone call, he said, he gets basic information to screen people to "see if they're ready to stop smoking."

"I can tell if the [the person] is a candidate [to stop smoking] for one visit or whether they have other issues" and need to be seen on a more open-ended basis to deal with other problems, Eimer said. Those who qualify for "one visit" are given an intake evaluation "to determine the appropriate hypnotherapy approach to meet their particular needs; it's not a canned approach," he said.

Additional information "in a form most smokers have never heard" is provided, and he determines what needs smoking satisfies, the reasons to stop and how the patient copes with stress, and then talks about the dangers of smoking and benefits of stopping, he said.

Hypnosis, which lasts about 20 minutes, is used "to cement into the subconscious mind a lot of the ideas already given" to stop, Eimer said.

With hypnosis, "the conscious mind takes a mini vacation so the subconscious is more receptive to behavioral suggestions."

The suggestions are more toward taking care of one's body, he said, adding, "I don't like associations with aversive stimuli. It's not necessary to feel nauseous."

A lot of people have a misconception of hypnosis, Eimer said. "It's a voluntary and pleasant state of relaxed concentration during which the conscious mind is relaxed and the subconscious is receptive, with the person's permission, to suggestion."

"The more relaxed and comfortable and more focused, the more senses are heightened and the imagination is activated."

"No one can be hypnotized against their will," Eimer said, "and can't be made to do anything they wouldn't do outside of hypnosis. They are aware of everything that's going on."

In hypnosis the senses become more acute, but the person is not unconscious and there is never a problem coming out of the trance," Eimer said. People can talk while in hypnosis, "but it's not a truth serum," he said.

Eimer is the author of two self-help books on hypnosis and four textbooks. More information is available at www.hypnosishelpcenter.net




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