At Quit For Good we never ask for testimonials and when we do receive them from our clients we never put them on our website. This is because they are considered unethical by The National Council of Hypnotherapy of which we are a member of.
They can and quite often are made up by other websites and there is no way of checking as The Advertising Standards Authority require any testimonials to be verifiable and this for us would conflict with the confidentiality that we offer our clients.
The only testimonials that we do provide on our website are those that have been written in various newspapers as these are genuine and more importantly they do not break client confidentiality.
Readers with better memories than my own may remember a certain reporter promising rather smugly to give up smoking with minimum fuss at around this time last year.
Well, your honest reporter must now report that in September last year he fell in spectacular fashion off the wagon and proceeded to make up for nine months as a non-smoker by resuming his 10-a-day roll-up habit.
In fact you could say, he fell off the wagon, rolled off the road, bounced down the hill and landed lung first in the soft and smelly.
Luckily, your honest reporter doesn't give up easily (no pun intended) and in December this year, enlisted the help of local hypnotherapist Gary Maddison to help kick the habit once and for all.
Gary is a far cry from the stereotypical, intense-eyed hypnotist.
There's no gazing deeply into anyone's eyes, swinging pendulums, psychobabble or mystic mumbo-jumbo here.
In fact when visiting Quit For Good at the Old Chapel off Oldham Road, Ashton, its clear that it is such imagery that modern practitioners like Gary are keen to shake off.
Speaking in his broad Oldham accent, he explains: "People think when you go to see a hypnotist, you lose control, but that's not true.
"Hypnosis in the media tends to be stage hypnosis and people doing things against their will in films, but in actual fact, its nothing like that at all.
"Your subconscious mind won't accept suggestions it doesn't think are good for it."
Hypnosis can be used to treat a variety of ailments and symptoms, from sexual dysfunction, to depression, obesity, confidence and self-esteem and irritable bowel syndrome.
Gary says he has even cured one woman of a fear of novelty slippers!
After a brief explanation of the process and an interview in which we talk through what I hope to get out of the session, its time to settle down in the chair, dim the lights and allow Gary's voice to send me into a deep trance.
It’s immensely relaxing.
I can actually feel myself getting heavier, sinking deeper and deeper into the chair as he speaks and, contrary to my own preconceptions about hypnotism, I'm conscious of Gary's voice throughout the entire procedure.
The process involves a visualization exercise - almost an exorcism in which I imagine looking at a mirror image of myself.
However, there is one difference, my reflection is a non-smoker.
After listening to the differences between myself and my goody-two-shoed, non-smoking counterpart in the mirror, the two of us step forward and merge.
And that's all there is to it.
I am brought slowly out of the trance. Its a little bit like waking in the morning, there is a slight reluctance to give in to the pressures of the waking world - a deep temptation to stay deep in my relaxed state - but once I have woken fully, I feel alert and refreshed. But not much different.
All that takes place later, when something rather strange happens. I don't feel like smoking. Scratching my head in puzzlement, I throw my tobacco in the bin when I arrive home.
During the weekend, something even stranger happens.
I go to the pub, fully expecting to be irked by the temptation to smoke. I even sit outside among the smoker, trying hard not to sound like an escapee.
"No thanks. I'm a non-smoker, you see. Cured rather suddenly and miraculously just last night actually. Marvelous eh!"
For more information on booking a session with Gary, phone him at his practice on 0161 330 7025 or visit his dedicated stop smoking website at www.quitforgood.co.uk
Visit our sister company at: www.gfmhypnosis.co.uk
NEW Year is all about new starts and getting to grips with problems which have plagued us for the past 12 months.
And Oldham hypnotherapist Gary Maddison is chomping at the bit to help people reach their goals.
Chronicle photographer Philippa Rustage decided to give hypnotherapy a go when she met Gary on a photoshoot after he pledged to donate 10 per cent of his takings to the Royal Oldham Hospital’s children’s ward for every client who quit smoking.
She signed up to the course with an open mind. “I had no idea what to expect, but I was willing to find out,” she said.
“I thought it would make a good feature for the Chronicle, and I thought I might as well figure out a few problems while I was there,” said the 25-year-old.
Now at the end of the course, which costs £50 a session, Philippa admitted: “I do feel a lot different. It built my confidence, and made me realise that I am unique.
“I feel much more positive now, and Gary taught me how to turn a bad thought into a good one.
“I use the skills he taught me both at work and at home, particularly in relationships, and dealing with feelings of jealousy and fear.”
Philippa’s first session was one of Gary just talking to her, explaining what was going to happen, reassuring her that she would be in control throughout, and teaching her how to reach a state of deep relaxation.
Then the questioning began, with Gary probing her innermost thoughts, and pressing her to reveal why she harboured feelings of jealousy and fear.
“I would answer a question and he would ask ‘why,’ then the same again when I answered that question.
“It really helped me to focus on what the problem really was, and work back to find out exactly where the feelings came from,” said Philippa.
“It brought things up that happened years ago, and it’s great for anyone who has hang-ups about a previous relationship that’s affecting a relationship now.”
She added: “You do have to be very open though, there’s no point in going if you are not going to be completely honest.
“I admit I was worried about that, but Gary is so easy to talk to, didn’t judge me, and took everything seriously.
“He helps people whose marriages are falling apart, whose children don’t want to see them, and who drink, eat or smoke too much — people who have quite serious problems.
“Yet he understands that people can get hung up about what can seem most insignificant to other people, but is a big problem to overcome to the person concerned.”
Philippa added: “He explained to me that if we keep having the same bad thoughts, such as “I hate Mondays,” or “I don’t like the way I look,” our brain eventually accepts them as a fact, whereas if we can look for something good and think good thoughts, they become the fact, and it lightens our mood.
“It makes sense, and it works. Overall, my work life is much better, and my relationship with my partner is far more understanding.
“I have been taught self-hypnosis so I can continue with the therapy on my own.”
Thursday is World Hypnotism Day, and Gary is holding free workshops to dispel the Hollywood hype which he says now plagues the ancient art of self empowerment.
He said: “Hypnosis is often seen as a last-ditch attempt for people who feel stuck and who have tried everything else.
“I would like it to be a first option because it most definitely works,” said Gary.
Anyone who wants to attend the workshops can contact him on (0161) 330 7025 or visit www.gfmhypnosis.co.uk