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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Hypnosis as a Way to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

Jan 02, 2015 02:57PM ● By Barry Wolfson

For the last 26 years, when the calendar changes from one year to the next, my phone begins ringing. It’s become as predictable as the new year itself. As director of the Hypnosis Counseling Center, I’m approached by people calling me to set up hypnotherapy appointments to help them overcome some of the obstacles and challenges in their lives. Usually it’s for smoking cessation or weight loss. Often, however, it’s for other forms of behavior modification or wanting to create more positive and healthy changes in their lives.

I usually also get the following questions: 1. How effective is hypnosis? 2. What is the cost? 3. How many sessions do I need? 4. Will I cackle like a chicken?

You know the drill. Each year, folks make New Year’s resolutions to change behaviors. Almost none of them keep those resolutions. It’s not that we don’t want to make changes: The problem is we try to tough it out alone using sheer willpower. However, many resolutions involve long-term habits that are simply too difficult to change without help. That’s where hypnosis comes in. Hypnosis can be a very effective tool in making this year’s resolution come true.

Why don’t resolutions always work? Although January 1 connotes a new beginning, just picking an arbitrary date to make a change doesn’t always make it happen immediately. It’s like riding a bicycle. Very few of us probably mastered that task immediately. It took practice and then some more practice, falling and getting back up. The same is true for smoking cessation and weight loss.  Cigarettes are highly addictive; even though the health risks are clear, most folks have tried to stop smoking many times and failed. And even with the help of nicotine patches or nicotine gum, people fail unless they also learn to practice behavior modification, which is what hypnosis is.

Many folks ask me why hypnosis will work while other methodologies don’t. Hypnosis is an ”alpha” state of mind, a dreamlike state similar to that achieved through yoga and meditation. I use my voice to put clients into a very relaxed state where I can then plant positive suggestions for change. At the same time, I make my clients individual customized audio CDs to listen to daily. These CDs reinforce what’s done in my office and help clients practice on their own, enhancing their chances for permanent success. Does everyone I see succeed? I wish they did. I would love that. Unfortunately not, but a great many do. However, clients need to approach change as ongoing rather than something happening in one day, like New Year’s Day. Nicotine addiction and poor lifelong eating patterns weren’t created in a day and won’t be broken in one. The old adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” applies for a reason.

Clients also see me in group classes for smoking cessation and weight loss that are held in a variety of adult schools, YMCAs and fitness clubs, and corporations throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While group classes are less expensive than individual sessions, they are not quite as effective as individual counseling.

Even though hypnosis has been approved by the American Medical Association since 1958, some folks still have their doubts about its efficacy as a valid treatment. Why not start the new year right and consider hypnotherapy as the first step in a healthier life?

For more information, email Barry Wolfson, MS, director of the Hypnosis Counseling Center, at [email protected], call 908-996-3311 or visit

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