There are many reasons why a person may start to smoke, with most people taking their first puff in their teenage years or as a young adult. While this is usually due to peer pressure, rebelling against parents, or modelling a sibling’s behaviour, others may try it to simply relieve boredom or as a method to try and curb stress. Whatever the reason for taking that first drag, many people don’t believe that they will keep smoking, however, many years later they are still ‘hooked’ and struggling to kick the habit. The good news is that although smoking is a very habit-forming activity, habits can be broken just as easily as they are started.
Like many smokers, you may already have tried to quit using gum, patches, medication, or even sheer willpower with little or no success. That is because none of those products deal with the mental and emotional triggers and sources of the habit relating to your complex brain and unconscious mind. This is where hypnotherapy excels.
So what exactly is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is defined as an altered state of awareness in which you appear to be asleep or in a trance. In other words, hypnosis is simply a very pleasant and natural state of relaxation in which the unconscious mind is more open to learning.
Does hypnosis really work to quit smoking?
According to scientists at Iowa University, who analysed the results of more than 600 studies covering almost 72 000 people from America and Europe – Yes. Their research found that hypnosis surpassed all other available methods in its ability to help smokers stop smoking, and was found to be 15 times as effective as trying to stop alone. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 77(4), Aug 1992.
What can I expect from a hypnotherapy session?
Most clinical hypnotherapists will start a session by explaining what happens to your brain during hypnosis and allow you to ask questions. They will then ask you questions based on your goals and desired outcomes of hypnotherapy and observe you while you give your answers.
You will then proceed into the induction, which is the relaxation part of the process that leads to hypnosis. This is achieved by the hypnotherapist using safe techniques and methods, based on the feedback given by the client at the start of the session. This may take a few minutes as they try to find what works best for you, and no, there is no swinging pendulum or pocket watch.
Once you are in a relaxed and in a hypnotised state, the work takes place. During this process, the hypnotherapist makes suggestions that will encourage changed behaviour and thought patterns around smoking. Often these suggestions will have been agreed between the patient and the hypnotherapist in the initial introduction and assessment around why you want to quit smoking.
The ending of the hypnotic session is quite straight forward and involves a gradual return to full consciousness.
What if I blurt out a secret?
Despite what many stage performers may claim during an entertaining show, it is a myth that someone can take over another person’s mind. In hypnosis, you are in full control at all times and cannot be made to say or do anything that goes against your will. In fact, brain tests performed on patients during hypnotism sessions have shown a high level of neurological activity. You can rest easy in the fact that a hypnotised person retains self- control and overall awareness, so they do not reveal anything they want to keep secret or aren’t ready to make public. You will be in full control during the session. Not the hypnotherapist. You, the client.
How many sessions does it take for hypnotherapy to work?
The short answer is that every person is different and no two smokers are the same. Some people find that 1 session is enough, and others feel they need more sessions to successfully quit. Of course, there are various degrees of success with hypnosis, some people prefer to quit immediately, whereas others use a method known as ‘The Slow Goodbye’ which involves a gradual reduction of habit supported with ongoing hypnosis sessions. Both are effective and it is a personal choice.
How do I find a good hypnotherapist?
Research has shown that the success of therapies is dependent on many factors. The training and skill of the practitioner, the readiness of the client, and most interesting, studies have shown that the level of rapport and trust developed between the client and the therapist is the most significant factor of achieving successful therapeutic results. This means choosing the right therapist for you is extremely important.
Ultimately the subconscious mind is one of the most powerful weapons that you have in your arsenal. Although it might not be for everyone, hypnosis can be an enjoyable and relaxing experience. Fundamentally it’s a potent methodology for triggering profound personal change. So whether you are on a mission to finally be free from that filthy smoking habit, or want to address deeper issues, it is definitely worth a try. If you’ve read my website and feel I would be a good fit for you, please feel free to reach out with questions or book online.