AN inspiring treatment which has helped alcoholics in York beat their battle with booze looks set to be the focus of a major research project designed to help other addicts.

Advanced hypnotherapist Robert Williams is applying to the Alcohol Education Research Council for a £40,000 research grant in a bid to spread the word about the success of his work in York.

He uses hypnosis to tackle alcohol addiction at the York Alcohol Advice Service (YAAS), a voluntary sector alcohol counselling organisation in Bootham.

Nineteen of the first 20 people treated remained clean after being discharged, with the results attracting the attention of drink and drug agencies around the UK, he said. If the funding bid wins support, hypnotherapists in Birmingham and Gloucester along with Robert in York would treat about 75 clients between them over a year.

The results of their work would then be presented in a study to show whether this unusual intervention is successful.

Robert hopes it will show the effectiveness of hypnotherapy as a treatment for alcohol addiction, and pave the way for centres such as YAAS to receive more, vital funding.

Hypnotherapy focuses on dealing with the root cause of why people are drinking - by working through the underlying reason which has resulted, for example, in panic attacks, anxiety, depression or low self-esteem.

"I don't see people for ten to 20 sessions like some counsellors. Often six sessions is enough to work through what's going on," said Robert.

"None of us have been born with alcohol issues. It is normally caused by something which has happened and our way of dealing with it is drink to blank out thoughts, help with panic attacks or self-confidence. I am not saying hypnotherapy is the answer, but people have to find what's right for them. It is about finding a different way for people to move forward. There's no guarantee, but I am getting results with the vast majority of people I am seeing."