Quit smoking with hypnotherapy: A non-invasive alternative

So you want to stop smoking and you have tried all the old ways, lozenges, patches and going cold turkey and none of them have worked. Have you tried Hypnotherapy? Hypnotherapy is a pleasant, non-invasive therapy which more and more people are turning to as an alternative to the pharmacological interventions marketed by big drug companies. 


The most important thing when giving up any habit is that the individual needs to be psychologically ready to give up, and sometimes this is why people can fail as deep down they are just not ready. The habit or vice could be a crutch or coping strategy, or one of the few things currently giving them enjoyment. This is why I always try to ascertain how motivated people who contact me regarding smoking cessation are - there is no point in spending money on appointments if deep down you are just not ready to give up. 

I often find that the person who wants to give up their habit, in this case smoking, does not get any enjoyment from it anymore, it is purely part of their behaviour and daily routine as they have been doing it for so long. It can be helpful to ask people when they have their first cigarette in the morning, it might be with a coffee in the kitchen having just woken up. Through the use of suggestion a hypnotherapist may disrupt their routine by changing the order or the location. 

It may be helpful to point out that once upon a time they hypnotised themselves into taking something harmful to them and convinced themselves that they liked it. Their body does not like it, but has grown accustomed to it - it does not want or need it, but they can be hypnotised to change again. 

The most important thing that I find helpful in bringing about change in people who wish to discontinue a habit is to make change attractive to them. In my experience often people do not want to change as they equate the status quo with security, however, if a hypnotherapist emphasises to them the damage they are doing to their health, their skin, how their sense of taste and smell will be heightened through quitting... change starts to become more attractive. 

In my experience the people who come along to stop smoking are motivated to improve their physical health but sometimes also their mental health. They are perhaps chronically stressed and use smoking as a maladaptive coping strategy, this is where I emphasise that trance is recuperative. In my time practising hypnotherapy I have not known anyone to leave the room not feeling more refreshed and relaxed. I try and emphasise to clients to use their self-hypnosis recording which I devise for them to use in their own time and to incorporate it into their routine as a positive coping strategy whenever they feel the need to smoke or are stressed. 

In any situation I carry out a thorough assessment with clients as it is important to find out what else is going on in their lives and if there are mitigating factors which might hinder their chance of success. This allows me to sometimes make helpful suggestions using my hypnotherapy and nursing experience if I detect something that could be adjusted to help their progress. For example, the person might use smoking breaks at work to get away from their desk and gather their thoughts for a while in a busy job, but perhaps instead of smoking, they could employ some mindful breathing techniques.

In certain cases people may smoke because they are depressed, studies have been published that show that people who smoke often do so through feeling low. Using my assessment skills from 15 years of experience in mental health I am often able to make appropriate suggestions that can mitigate their feelings of low mood. In my experience, the best chances of success can depend on finding if anything is driving the behaviour and treating and managing it. 

It is important that any therapist you attend carries out a thorough assessment and that at initial contact they indicate that this is what the first appointment will consist of, if this does not happen it is likely a good idea to keep looking.  

So what makes hypnotherapy a useful tool in stopping smoking? Well hypnosis in itself brings about a state of enhanced responsiveness to suggestion. The individual may do things unconsciously as part of their habit which the hypnotherapist can either make them consciously aware of or change the routine they do things in. 

Hypnotherapy can also bring about added self-confidence through ego strengthening and enhanced focus in achieving treatment goals. It is common for people to worry about losing control during trance but I always strongly emphasise to people that they are always in control, that they can come out of trance any time they want to, and in the case of trance for smoking cessation you do not need to be in a deep trance to achieve success as you want the conscious mind to still be quite aware. 

In summary, hypnotherapy to stop smoking is a pleasant non-invasive intervention that can bring about lasting change, not just in the actual problem of stopping smoking but in improved relationships, more energy, more enjoyment from food and drink, and more disposable income.

The official smoke helplines in the UK often use nicotine replacement therapy as their number one approach to help people stop smoking, citing the body of evidence supporting it compared to hypnotherapy. However, it is worth noting that often the clinical trials for these drugs are funded by the drug companies themselves and their outcomes unduly influenced them, and with any drug, there is the potential for side effects. 

So if you found that doing things the same way brings the same outcome, and have tried pharmacological interventions without success then perhaps your problem is not medical in nature but something else and maybe hypnotherapy can help unlock the solution.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Troon KA10 & Glasgow G3
Written by Iain Lawrence, (BA) Dip Hyp
Troon KA10 & Glasgow G3

My name is Iain Lawrence I am a Hypnotherapist Based in South Lanarkshire and South Ayrshire. I am a caring empathetic practitioner and I have experience of a wide range of issues from Phobias to Anxiety. I use Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Therapy and NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming in my practice. I believe change happens starting small.

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