How to stop smoking with hypnotherapy
If you smoke, you know all the reasons you should not smoke. Other than it’s gross for everyone around you - you put yourself at a higher risk of awful health issues, you smell – as does your house and car, even if you do not smoke in them and you dampen your appearance too. The problem is, you know all that and you love it, or you hate it and desperately want to stop but find it too dam difficult.
When I tell people I work as a hypnotherapist, most people initially think my work focuses on stop smoking hypnosis or helping people with fears and phobias. Often surprised when I tell them that I rarely use hypnotherapy for smoking and most of my work is helping others with problems such as anxiety or trauma.
One reason for this is that stop smoking hypnosis is not my passion, however, the studies do not show any benefit to stop smoking hypnosis above other interventions. There is little evidence to show whether hypnotherapy is as effective as other therapies.
Hypnotherapy and smoking
The standard protocol for a hypnotherapist to use in a quit smoking session is to try and weaken the desire to smoke or strengthen the will to quit through hypnotic suggestion. Suggestion is used all day every day and we all succumb to it. It’s the reason advertising is such big business.
The state of hypnosis is a normal everyday state of mind, one in which you have intense focus. The American Psychological Association define hypnosis as “a state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion.” (APA, 2014). Other times you might find yourself in a similar state of mind are whilst watching TV, engrossed in a book/magazine, scrolling your phone, in a flow state or driving a car. Notice the correlation between the focused state of mind and advertising space!
The studies do not show hypnotherapy to be more efficacious than other treatments however one trial compared hypnotherapy with no treatment and found there to be no quitters in the no treatment group compared to the hypnotherapy group in which nine out of 20 participants maintained non-smoker status for at least 48 weeks. This indicates that it is beneficial to have some form of therapy to help you quit smoking and you have the pick of many.
I believe it important in my smoking cessation sessions to incorporate more than suggestion to help you maintain your choice to quit smoking. We explore the reasons you like smoking. For example, do you like the regular break it gives you? Does it give you something to do with your hands at times you might otherwise find them a bit awkward? Is it your identity? This awareness helps you to find another way to achieve the same benefit.
One client decided to do a five-minute workout every hour for example. Another person made sure they took a five-minute walk around the block at the same intervals they would previously smoke.
I find incorporating mindfulness exercises into a quit smoking programme helps too. Mindfulness allows you to accept your feelings. Rather than labelling feelings (thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings) as positive or negative, they become like colours, all different but without hierarchy. You will find that you can sit with a craving and allow its presence without acting upon it. Your actions and reactions will become controlled rather than impulsive.
In conjunction with hypnosis tools, habit changing processes and hypnotic suggestions you will become the non-smoker you so wish to be. The constant voice in your mind that works out when to take your next cigarette break will disappear and you will no longer look at non-smokers with envy.