Quit Smoking: Hypnosis Works and it Lasts
Among stop-smoking procedures there are countless methods, programs, substitute products, pills, chewing gums, self-help tapes and books, etc. Many are designed to help build up the personal power to resist or overcome the habit.
Hypnotherapy does not work at achieving the strength to resist. It is designed to eliminate the desire. Instead of giving up something that a person enjoys (a sacrifice), the individual’s goal is to be rid of something that isn’t wanted – a much more agreeable position psychologically.
Reasons for Smoking
There are two principle reasons for smoking: identification and replacement. Identification is the situation in which the smoker indulges in the habit because others whom he admires do so – parents, peers, entertainment or sports figures, etc. Identification smoking Is the most common and the easiest to eliminate.
Replacement smoking occurs when smoking is used to replace some deficit in life – lack of companionship, love, acceptance, self-esteem, security, independence, etc. – or to replace some pre-existing habit such as overeating, reaction to anxiety or boredom, etc. Replacement smokers often derive sensual gratification from smoking – they enjoy touching or feeling the cigarettes, tapping the pack, seeing the flame of a lighter or the curling of rising smoke, or the smell of the burning tobacco. Often the lighting of the cigarette (cigar or pipe) in itself becomes a ritual.
Replacement smoking is quite often a true and severe addiction.
The Nature of Smoking
Since smoking is both physical and mental, success in a stop-smoking effort must change not only the mental attitude, but the physical reaction. Through hypnosis it is possible to change the taste of a cigarette from pleasurable to unpleasurable. When this is accomplished problems often related to the cessation of smoking tend to be avoided.
In some cases, a gradual reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked proves successful.
Of many procedures available, the hypnotherapist will select that which is most appropriate for the individual client. In some cases, effective cessation of smoking can be achieved in a single session. In other cases, multiple sessions may be required. Individual sessions have the advantage of being adjustable to deal with the causes of the habit, the gratifications provides, etc.
It is important to determine just what personal need is satisfied by smoking. Some smokers seek to fill a need to nurture themselves – lessen loneliness or get a “pickup” at the start of or during the day. Others feel smoking will relieve stress or provide moments of relaxation. Still more feel cigarette smoking makes social contact more comfortable. The problem is that a habit is adopted to meet a special need often proves destructive, eliminating the need by destroying the smoker.
One of the most powerful attributes of the human psyche is visualization ability. Hypnotherapy can help develop and focus the powers of visualization.
In stop-smoking programs, the ability to visualize one’s self as a non-smoker, free from past effects of the habit, filled with new health, energy and vitality is a major asset. Through visualization, a smoker can perceive himself/herself as looking healthier, more active, in better physical condition, etc.
Once a smoker has achieved success in a stop-smoking program, it is necessary to reinforce the programming that led to the cessation of the practice. Smoking habits are acquired over a long period of time. Even though the smoker may have ceased smoking, the habit is likely to still be active. But like most activities, if not used, it tends to fade and disappear.
The hypnotherapist will take measures to reinforce the programming during the period (perhaps of couple of months) required for the habit to weaken until the habit itself is gone.