Smoking cessation remains a major health priority. Despite public campaigns against smoking and widespread availability of smoking-cessation treatments, many people continue to smoke. The authors argue that the “problem of motivation,” that is, suboptimal or fluctuating motivation to resist smoking urges and to comply with the demands of treatment, commonly undermines treatment seeking and adherence, appreciably reducing the success rates of smoking-cessation programs. The authors describe the history of the Winning Edge smoking-cessation program and discuss ways to enhance motivation before, during, and after formal treatment. They illustrate how hypnotic suggestions, administered in the context of their program, can promote cognitive, behavioral, and emotional commitment to treatment and enhance motivation to live a smoke-free life.
With a sample of nearly 700 undergraduate students, the authors found support for diurnal variations in hypnotic responsiveness. Administering the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A (HGSHS:A) in the morning or evening resulted in higher average scores than from afternoon sessions. The authors replicated this finding using a second independent sample. In the primary study, participants indicated the time of day that they are most alert. Matching self-reported preferred time of the day with HGSHS:A administration time did not improve hypnotic responsiveness. Considering this as well as past research, the authors argue that mid-morning may be the optimal time to be hypnotized and afternoon the least favorable.