What happens in your quit smoking hypnotherapy session?
You’ve just hung up the phone after booking your first quit smoking hypnotherapy session. Congratulations! But what happens next?
What to expect from hypnotherapy
If you’ve never had hypnotherapy before, it’s natural that you might be feeling a mixture of apprehension and excitement. Excited about potential freedom from smoking, but apprehensive perhaps about what the session will entail.
There’s no need to worry, though. If they haven't done so already over the phone, your hypnotherapist will first seek to put your mind at rest by addressing any fears or misconceptions you have about hypnosis.
It's important to express all your fears, worries or concerns about hypnosis for quitting smoking before your session, no matter how silly you think they may be. For example, being out of control in hypnosis, coping with stress after sessions are over or gaining weight after quitting. This ensures your therapist can fully prepare to address everything that's important to you, and that lingering doubts or concerns won't disrupt your responsiveness to the therapy.
Many people really fear coping with cravings after quitting, so your hypnotherapist may have asked you to time your smoking so you will arrive at the session experiencing a craving. They may then run through some easy-to-use techniques that can help reduce or eliminate cravings in the unlikely event you might have the odd one after the session.
Most people experience no cravings after successful hypnotherapy, and any you do have are likely to be much milder and easier to manage. So, by first teaching you a few simple strategies to take away and use in an emergency, you’ll instantly feel more relaxed, confident and in control.
Your first session
If they haven’t yet done so, they'll have a more detailed chat with you in your first session about your smoking history, including any specific triggers, times when you tried to quit in the past and all the things you’re looking forward to about being smoke-free. This is so your therapist can powerfully reinforce the exact changes you want to experience during your therapy.
They’ll always be keen to answer any further questions you have about any aspect of the therapy. It’s important that you’re relaxed and at ease with the process to help increase your acceptance of suggestion during therapy, so do be open with your therapist. Rest assured they've heard it all hundreds of times before!
You’ll then be gently guided through a hypnotic induction to begin taking your attention inwards. This usually begins with eye closure and can include suggestions for physical relaxation and mental calm.
The aim of hypnotherapy is to suspend you in the alpha brainwave state long enough to deliver key suggestions for change. Alpha occurs completely naturally and is the same state you’re in just before falling asleep and just after waking - drowsy but still awake and aware.
Your therapist helps you achieve a consistent level of alpha. This is called trance ‘depth’ and simply means they will be encouraging you to further increase your level of inner focus by guiding you to a deeper level of physical and mental relaxation. This helps you to become more intensely immersed in your own inner awareness, so you’ll feel a little more drowsy though not asleep, and still aware of everything that’s happening.
Once they’re satisfied that you’ve established a good level of trance for therapy, they’ll begin delivering the change work by suggesting new ways of relating to smoking to your subconscious mind.
These will be designed to gently break apart the binding habitual and emotional associations you have with smoking, so that you will leave the session feeling indifferent to cigarettes. When this happens, the urge to smoke and any withdrawal symptoms usually fall away completely.
Your therapist will also address any specific concerns or issues you have, such as being able to cope naturally with stress or anxiety, and any triggers that caused a relapse in the past. They will then update your subconscious mind with healthy new beliefs and expectations of life as a non-smoker before bringing your awareness back to the external environment.
During hypnosis you’ll retain full self-control so you’ll be free to speak, move, cough, scratch your nose or shift into a more comfortable position at any time. In fact, you could even get up to go to the loo if you want and slip nicely back into hypnosis on your return - as one client of mine did recently!
After your session, your hypnotherapist may be keen to follow up on your progress. If you were to have a relapse or experience any significant anxiety or stress management issues, they may offer you another session if necessary. They may also offer you an audio download to help reinforce the changes in the following weeks and long after sessions are over. This can really help make a lasting difference to your long-term success.
With hypnotherapy, there's nothing to give up or give in to - just an overwhelming sense of feeling great.