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Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation
My phone rings, and the voice asks me about my success rate on stopping smoking with hypnosis. I reply, “100% of my clients will stop smoking, if that is what they want.” A pause on the other end of the line. I explain…. those who are motivated to stop smoking, will become non-smokers. Those who say they want to stop smoking, but secretly, are only calling so they can say that they tried everything to quit, including hypnosis, may resist suggestions and continue to smoke. It is a widely accepted myth that a hypnotist can control another person. This falsehood was created for entertainment by television and stage hypnotists.
I sense that I have the callers attention. I continue explaining that smokers have been 'conditioned' to believe that quitting is hard. This belief makes it easy to blame smoking as an addiction so strong, that nothing will work – and this gives the smoker permission to keep smoking. Those are the clients who I love to work with. Where a part of them knows that smoking is harmful and they really should stop, and another part that says, “I really enjoy smoking and I don’t want to give it up". Or a part says "No one is going to tell me what to do.”
The caller’s name was Linda (not her real name) and she had been smoking since a teenager, when smoking was cool, and helped her feel grownup. Now, forty six years later, she begins her day at 4:00 a.m. to ‘load up’. She sits in her kitchen, chain smoking an entire pack of cigarettes before going into work. She chain smokes at every coffee break, at her lunch break and has a cigarette in her hand, ready to light as soon as she leaves her work place at the end of the day. Linda loves to smoke. She loves the feel of the smoke as it passes down her throat and into her lungs. It makes her feel empowered.
Linda is also a grandmother, with an ill granddaughter. Linda knows that if she wants to be with her granddaughter, she needs help stopping smoking and needs to stop right away.
Many smoking cessation clients choose hypnosis as their last resort. They have probably quit numerous times, only to start smoking again. A large portion of smokers believe that smoking helps them cope with stress. Others smoke to be rebellious. And smoking is often paired with drinking, socializing, fitting in with the crowd. There are numerous myths around the difficulties over stopping smoking… such as gaining weight, feelings of withdrawal and experiencing anxiety. This is folklore which becomes part of the smokers personal beliefs, further creating more barriers around stopping smoking.
However, statistics show that the majority of smokers are able to quit ‘cold turkey’. So, you may ask, what is the difference between someone who stops on their own, and someone who struggles? The answer…. they both used self-hypnosis to begin smoking… and those who stopped smoking on their own… used the inborn power of their mind… self-hypnosis.
No one is born a smoker. Smoking is not a natural behaviour, it is a learned behaviour. Learning to become a smoker involves a great deal of commitment and determination which is repeatedly reinforced. Some of the rewards are social acceptance from other smokers, a distraction when stressed, an activity when bored, or simply modeling after a parent. The non-smoker has used self-hypnosis to change their subconscious beliefs and behaviours around inhaling toxic nauseating chemicals to a behaviour which is rewarding and enjoyable.
Since self-hypnosis was employed to create the habit, then working with a trained clinical hypnotherapist is a logical means to extinguish the habit. Hypnotherapist’s are trained to interview each client and uncover what it is about smoking that keeps them smoking, and address’ these issues. A hypnotherapist is trained to communicate in the language of the subconscious mind, and can provide the tools for being calm and relaxed during stressful moments. For eating desired healthy foods, avoiding unwanted weight gain. In hypnosis, all feelings of withdrawal, grumpiness, or any other undesired emotions are eliminated. A shift occurs, where one’s thoughts around smoking ceases, and are replaced with thoughts of breathing in fresh air, free of chemicals.
Our bodies are amazing. Every time we injure our selves, the body immediately begins to heal. That cut finger is soon forgotten, as the wound quickly closes and heals, without a second thought. Each time a cigarette is finished, the body begins the healing process. Within 20 minutes, blood pressure and pulse rate drops to normal, temperature of hands and feet increase to normal. Within 8 hours, smokers breath disappears, carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal and the oxygen level in blood increases to normal. And within 24 hours, the change of a heart attack decreases. Within 3 days, breathing is easier. The body will continue to heal its self – once smoking has ceased.
It has been one month since Linda’s smoking cessation appointment. She left the office feeling energized, refreshed and excited about being a non-smoker. Excited about being able to be there for her granddaughter. This morning, when my phone rang, I recognized Linda’s voice, as she asked me to hold the line. She handed the phone to her granddaughter, whose little voice simply said, “Thank you for helping my Nanny”. My heart swelled with pride. This is why I enjoy my work!
Joan Broadhurst is a Clinical Hypnotherapist with a private practice in Victoria BC. Joan specializes in smoking cessation and can be reached through her website: http://stopsmokingbc.com.
Joan also sees clients for many other issues. To learn more about Joan and her practice visit her website at: http://soultalkhypnosis.com.
Joan is a member of The Piah Group, http://thepiahgroup,com
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