Adrian, Just how does hypnotherapy help someone to stop smoking? Tracy D., London
Great question, Tracy, and it’s one I often hear from people who have tried and failed to quit smoking on their own. Disheartened smokers call for help feeling so ashamed that they just didn’t have the willpower to quit on their own. I smile when I hear an audible sigh of relief after I tell them that they didn’t fail because of weakness; overcoming a smoking habit with willpower alone is nearly impossible for most people.
The reason that smoking is difficult to overcome by sheer willpower alone is because it is a habit buried deep in the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind operates on another level than the conscious mind and, as such, it must be reached by another method.
Think about it. Why do smokers instantly crave a cigarette at specific times of day, after meals, in a bar, or in social situations? It isn’t something they consciously choose to do. Just like taking a breath, the unconscious mind sends a signal that it’s time for another cigarette. The unconscious mind has created a behavior pattern and adapted to it; it loves to smoke and doesn’t consider consequences. So it’s not a lack of will-power but the fact that the habit is so deeply buried in the unconscious that makes quitting hard.
That’s why hypnotherapy can help. Hypnotherapy works because it is the only talking therapy that works directly with the unconscious mind. As a hypnotherapist I make suggestions to the unconscious mind to change the way it feels about smoking. Through those suggestions, the unconscious lets go of its previous programming and adapts to its new identity as a non-smoker.
But I must add one caution here. Even with hypnotic suggestions, a smoker must be committed to quit on a conscious level for hypnotherapy to work. I cannot hypnotize someone to change behavior without their full cooperation, desire, and consent. That’s why whenever a client asks for help to stop smoking I always start by finding out how determined they are to quit. If they are truly committed to becoming a non-smoker, the suggestions I make to the unconscious mind will support their own desire and determination to help them become a non-smokers for the rest of their lives.
Using my skills in hypnotherapy to help people stop smoking is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. I love to help people improve their quality and quantity of life. That delivers amazing job satisfaction.
In the next post I’ll walk you through what to expect from your first hypnotherapy session…