Group hypnotherapy versus group relaxation for smoking cessation: an RCT study protocolReport as inadecuate

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BMC Public Health

, 12:271

First Online: 04 April 2012Received: 02 March 2012Accepted: 04 April 2012DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-12-271

Cite this article as: Dickson-Spillmann, M., Kraemer, T., Rust, K. et al. BMC Public Health 2012 12: 271. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-12-271


BackgroundA significant number of smokers would like to stop smoking. Despite the demonstrated efficacy of pharmacological smoking cessation treatments, many smokers are unwilling to use them; however, they are inclined to try alternative methods. Hypnosis has a long-standing reputation in smoking cessation therapy, but its efficacy has not been scientifically proven. We designed this randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effects of group hypnosis as a method for smoking cessation, and we will compare the results of group hypnosis with group relaxation.

Methods-DesignThis is a randomised controlled trial RCT to compare the efficacy of a single session of hypnosis with that of relaxation performed in groups of 8-15 smokers. We intend to include at least 220 participants in our trial. The inclusion criteria include smoking at least 5 cigarettes per day, not using other cessation methods and being willing to quit smoking. The intervention is performed by a trained hypnotist-relaxation therapist. Both groups first receive 40 min of mental preparation that is based on motivational interviewing. Then, a state of deep relaxation is induced in the hypnosis condition, and superficial relaxation is induced in the control condition. Suggestions are made in the hypnosis condition that aim to switch the mental self-image of the participants from that of smokers to that of non-smokers. Each intervention lasts for 40 min. The participants also complete questionnaires that assess their smoking status and symptoms of depression and anxiety at baseline, 2 weeks and 6 months post-intervention. In addition, saliva samples are collected to assess cotinine levels at baseline and at 6 months post-intervention. We also assess nicotine withdrawal symptoms at 2 weeks post-intervention.

DiscussionTo the best of our knowledge, this RCT is the first to test the efficacy of group hypnosis versus group relaxation. Issues requiring discussion in the outcome paper include the lack of standardisation of hypnotic interventions in smoking cessation, the debriefing of the participants, the effects of group dynamics and the reasons for dropouts.

Trial registrationCurrent Controlled Trials, ISRCTN72839675.

KeywordsTobacco Smoking cessation Hypnosis Relaxation Cotinine Randomised controlled trial Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-12-271 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Maria Dickson-Spillmann - Thomas Kraemer - Kristina Rust - Michael Schaub



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