How can Hypnotherapy help me stop smoking?
If you hadn’t already decided it was time to quit the fags, then the Budget should well and truly have helped you make up your mind. Believe it or not, cigarettes are set to soar to over $50 per packet by 2020!
So there’s never been a better time to quit. But can Clinical Hypnotherapy help you do that, and if so, how?
People sometimes think using hypnosis to stop smoking is something like a miracle cure. You hear lots of stories about people stopping in just one session – and in fact I’ve had many, many clients respond that quickly (though I never make that promise: sometimes it can and does take longer).
Even so, it’s no miracle, and after quite a few years thinking about it, I’d like to share with you how I think it works. Let’s start with a mystery. You want to stop, right? In fact, if you’re like most smokers you have stopped, maybe more than once… only to start again.
Sometimes people who’ve managed to stop and then take up the fags again tell me they think they must have an ‘addictive personality.’ Quite the opposite, I’d say! In fact, if you can stop for months or even weeks at a time, the one thing you can say is that you’re NOT addicted, because the physical reaction to withdrawal from cigarettes is at its worst in the hours and days following, and then gradually weakens, within a few days and certainly within weeks and absolutely certainly before months have passed.
So that’s our mystery: you’re not physically addicted – but you start up all over again. Why is this? Here’s my explanation, which is also an explanation of how hypnotherapy can help you to stop permanently. OK, here goes…
Why is smoking good for you?
Do you know why smoking is good for you? You don’t, do you? I’m sure if I asked you why smoking is BAD for you you’d know the answer right away (my clients always do) – but you probably wouldn’t have a clue as to why it’s good for you. And it is, believe me: that’s why you do it. You’re getting something out of it. What that something is depends upon the individual. Some find it’s a great cure for boredom. Some use it socially, because their friends do. Some started smoking a long time ago because they thought it was cool and maybe because they thought it would stop them putting on weight. Some use it as a circuit-breaker, a little reward after a period of concentration or hard work.
So we can say that smoking serves a purpose.
Now imagine that you’re having a conversation with your subconscious – or, if you prefer, with your body – and you say this: ‘Hey! I don’t know and I don’t care why we smoke, but I WANT YOU TO STOP AND I WANT YOU TO STOP RIGHT NOW, OK?!’
How do you think your body is going to react? Probably like this: ‘What do you mean, stop? But that’s how we [deal with boredom/reward ourselves/hang out with friends]! If you take that away from me, how are we going to get THAT thing done? No way I’m stopping!’
Now let’s try again, but with a different approach. What if we started by thinking about what smoking is good for – what we’re using it for? And what if we then started to think about an alternative way to get the same job done? Now the conversation with the body could go like this: ‘Hey! I’ve been thinking about why we smoke, and I am really grateful for how we use it to [deal with boredom/reward ourselves/hang out with friends]. That’s a very important job and we’ve got to make sure that it gets done. But you know I’ve been thinking about an alternative way of getting that job done… Would you be interested in trying that?’ My view is that the body really doesn’t care HOW the job gets done, so long as it DOES get done. It’s as if you had to get to town to catch up with a friend: what matters is that you get there, so you could catch a ride with a friend who’s headed that way; walk; ride a bike, or catch the tram – what matters is that you get there, not so much how you get there.
And all this talk about you talking to your subconscious or talking to your body? Well, that’s where Hypnotherapy comes in. You’re probably already aware there are different parts to your personality – such as the workplace you, the Friday night in the club you, the quiet shy you and the loud and confident you. It makes sense to think that there’s also a part of you that smokes and another part of you that knows it’s terrible for you and wants to stop.
The stopping part is likely to be the conscious part, and the part that trips you up and gets you smoking when you really know you shouldn’t is the unconscious or subconscious part of you – or, as I said, you could think of it as your body, the part of you that’s developed the habit and now doesn’t want to stop.
We need to communicate with that part of you that is reluctant to stop – and that’s exactly what Clinical Hypnotherapy is. Forget notions of ‘clucking like a chicken’ and ‘mind control’: in fact, it’s just putting you into a gentle, relaxed state so that your conscious brain can switch off and your Hypnotherapist can then communicate with those other parts of you.
Oh, and by the way… if you’re sceptical about all this, or you believe you can’t be hypnotised, congratulations! I’d say, if you haven’t experienced it for yourself, that’s the smart and rational response. And you really don’t need to believe in it: you just need to be open enough to give it a go. As for not being able to be hypnotised, well, let me deal with that. I’ve heard that so many times I’ve lost count, and usually from people who’ve never even given it a go. So, if you don’t mind me asking, how would you know?!
Give us a call on 0477 516 777 for a free 10-minute phone consult. You can ask questions and I can address any of your ongoing concerns.
Rebecca Pearce is a psychologist, a lover of nature, being active and finding ways to challenge herself, learn, expand and grow. She is partial to a music festival, a dance, good food and sunny days. Rebecca works in private practice, helping overwhelmed and confused humans to find peace and calm in their otherwise perfectly normal lives.