In September 2004 I was able to help a Wolverhampton Journalist stop smoking using hypnotherapy. Below is the article she wrote for the Wolverhampton Chronicle about her experience. If you wish to quit smoking, don't hesitate to get in touch with me for a free, confidential chat.
DESPITE the fact that the use of hypnotism can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians, it remains a relatively unknown subject with many misconceptions.
Having tried in vain to banish images of swinging pendulums and piercing eyes, I was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered to be the reality.
A 'confirmed' smoker of several years I was determined to kick the habit once and for all and with an 80 per cent success rate, Derek Brownhill's therapy gave me the optimism I needed.
Set back from the road, his house is at once welcoming complete with a sofa you could lose yourself in.
In seven years of practising full-time from his Stow Heath home, Derek has treated patients for everything from panic attacks to gambling addiction. Smoking, by nature, comes under a different remit - for most people there's the fear that they will miss something.
Once a heavy smoker himself, Derek realised he'd be a hypocrite if he tried to cure clients of smoking while continuing to puff away.
Intriguingly, he hypnotised himself.
He said: "At one time I used to smoke cigarettes, cigars and a pipe. I had tried to give up before on many occasions and would often screw up a whole packet in my hand and vow no more.
"I'd go two or three weeks without smoking and then start again but this time I had a good feeling I'd do it."
Smokers will always have some sort of reservations about quitting. Derek says although many genuinely believe they enjoy smoking, they will find they enjoy not smoking more.
"Many people have misgivings about hypnotherapy believing it to be something magical. They are also cautious about spending their hard-earned money.
"Over the years I have cured an enormous amount of people for all sorts of things including depression, anxiety, phobias and many kinds of irrational behaviour including one woman who was afraid of noise."
For most people, their only knowledge of hypnosis comes from gimmick shows on television so it is hardly surprising there are so many misconceptions.
Derek said: "Most people come to me for anxiety problems so they tend to already be in a nervous state. If I started using gimmicks or tricks it would frighten them.
If you need help with smoking, try Derek's e-Book. Click here for details.
"There are many ways to hypnotise someone but the easiest way is for them to lie down, close their eyes and just listen to my voice. I play some relaxing music and they find hypnotherapy to be a nice experience.
"Rather than going off to the planet Zod, it's merely a state of relaxation."
Hypnotherapists believe the mind to have three parts - 80 per cent is the sub-conscious part, 10 per cent is the conscious mind and the remaining 10 per cent is the spiritual part which accounts for phenomena such as premonitions and sudden inspiration.
The conscious mind is the critical mind as it relies on the senses. Once that is relaxed the sub-conscious mind opens.
Because the sub-conscious mind records a person's entire life, regression to childhood can uncover the root cause of most emotional problems experienced in adult life.
Derek said: "Childhood is the most emotional time in a person's life because you are not in control of your own life and you experience all the negative emotions for the first time.
"A painful experience may be triggered off in adulthood returning in the form of a phobia. But you can strip away the bad emotions and insecurities until you are left with someone who's strong, confident and happy. It's as if the phobia just lifts."
Some fear hypnotherapy as they believe it allows another person to take control of their mind. In fact, Derek says, it's totally the opposite.
"If a hypnotherapist tried to take advantage of a client they would simply come out of the relaxed state as the mind naturally tries to protect you and would not allow anything like that."
For Derek, the job is a complex and a fascinating one as no two clients are the same.
" It's very interesting what you find the cause of people's problems to be. Once a lady came to me who had suffered panic attacks for 30 years.
"She was also very nervous when driving a car and would often hyperventilate and not be able to get her breath. If she had to stop at red traffic lights she would go into a blind panic.
"When I took her through analysis she was sceptical as many people are because they don't believe the reason could be as far back as childhood.
"However, in about the fifth session she suddenly remembered walking across a field when she was nine years old and a man starting to chase her.
"This was a very frightening experience and she was terrified. The incident had been repressed from her conscious mind which often happens as the mind will block things out.
"When she was being chased she was running faster than normal so in adulthood when she was driving she would get faster and faster.
"Similar to when she was being chased, the last thing she wanted to do was stop and that was where the panic would set in when she got to a red light.
"For 30 years she had been trying to resolve her problems with anti-depressants and thought she had tried it all. But problems do not go away like this, they nag away.
"Since the memory and the emotion attached to it was released all the symptoms disappeared."
One of Derek's first patients was a man who had suffered with agoraphobia for 22 years and had panic attacks every time he went outdoors.
"I took him through analysis and he was cured in just five or six sessions. He had a lot of emotion locked up inside and it was not until that was released that he could get on with his life. It we only then that I realised how powerful treatment hypnotherapy was."
The numerous gifts and thank-you cards scattered around Derek's front room are testament to this fact, many of them from former smokers.
One glorious smoke-free week has now passed since my own session so it looks as though I may just be sending one myself."