By the time a smoker asks for help from a hypnotherapist, many have already tried other methods to stop smoking. They may have tried nicotine patches, gum, willpower, switching to vaping, but they have been unsuccessful in stopping completely. Plus, it’s not unusual to find that those who manage to stop, often return to smoking.
So, how can hypnotherapy help you to stop smoking? The following process will enable you to make an informed decision.
The first and probably most important question I ask, is: Do you really want to stop smoking? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is ‘I’m never going to stop’ and 10 is ‘I want cigarettes out of my life forever!’ – where do you place yourself? Anyone who rates themselves below 8, may not be fully ready to stop. So, I either ask them to return when their number is above 8, or we do the Hypnotherapy for Motivation and Confidence programme, before commencing the Stop Smoking session. There’s no point in wasting your time and money, if you don’t really want to stop.
You will then be asked to fill out some forms that asks questions, such as: When did you start smoking? How many cigarettes do you smoke daily? When are you more likely to smoke? There are many questions and it’s important that you answer them honestly, as it helps to get to the deeper reasons behind your smoking and how the habit benefits you. Filling in the forms are part of the process – of analysing how and why the habit of smoking started and continues, as well as giving you a personalised treatment.
The actual Stop Smoking session differs from a regular hypnotherapy session in a number of ways. For a start, it’s only one session long – approximately 90 minutes. Hypnotherapy for Anxiety, by comparison, is often around 6 sessions - of up to an hour each. The Stop Smoking Session is also more structured than other sessions, as there is a lot of information to cover and it helps to be organised. Often, smokers may not be up to date with (or haven’t been interested in) the latest information and statistics to do with smoking – such as the cost on the body and finances. So, this is essential to bring into the conversation. This also means that I am talking a bit more in this session than I would in other programmes. There is still plenty of time for you, the client, to talk about your history and experiences as a smoker.
The therapy: With the help of the forms and listening to the client, the reasons why a person smokes becomes clearer and it is relatively easy to find the cause. Briefly, it usually falls into the category of Psychological, Physical, Emotional or a combination of each. The physical in smoking is most obvious because of the addictive effects of nicotine. Emotional causes can, for example, be a link to a happier time or place where smoking was involved. Maybe, enjoying the social aspect - being part of the group who stands outside for a smoke and some gossip. Similarly, the psychological causes are often when the habit is formed with conditioning - repetitious behaviour which becomes embedded into the subconscious mind. It is also important to look at the your history with smoking, such as danger times and any hidden agendas.
The hypnosis work: Changing the mindset of the smoker into the mindset of a non-smoker. For this change to happen, relaxation or focussed-attention techniques are used, to enable you to engage the subconscious, where the treatment will be based. Through a variety of hypnotherapeutic suggestions, tools and techniques, change can occur. With work, as a newly-formed non-smoker, it's possible to incorporate the benefits of not smoking into your life. You can feel more positive and excited about this new life. This doesn’t mean that the client ‘falls asleep and wakes up a non-smoker’. Hypnotherapy does not work like that. After the session, you still have work to do, but being more optimistic and determined to stay a non-smoker may now be your achieved goal.
So, to answer the question: Is it too late to stop smoking? The answer is: No - if you’re ready to stop, you can stop.
One final note: I like to use the words ‘Stop Smoking’ rather that ‘Quit Smoking’. Most people are not concerned about the difference or may not even notice it, without it being pointed out. For me, ‘quitting’ implies a conditional way of giving something up: ‘I quit that job, because it was too stressful’. ‘If the job wasn’t stressful, I wouldn’t quit’ – thus implying that you would return if the conditions were right. I don’t want my clients to return to smoking, so ‘Stopping Smoking’ gives the sense of being permanent. Similarly, I use ‘non-smoker’ as it implies a more permanent way of living rather than an ‘ex-smoker’ – the ’if the conditions were right, I would go back’-smoker! I believe that the subtle use of language/semantics can have an impact on the deeper levels of our minds, thus leading to greater success in goal achievement.