I see many smokers who are struggling to quit. Initially we talk about their smoking history, past attempts to quit and any health concerns for themselves or if they know someone whose health was compromised by smoking.
Smokers are very quick to say they hate smoking; they hate the smell, the cost and don’t like the fact that they have to go ‘somewhere else’ to smoke.
A recent client said she was at a family function and a couple of cousins were also smokers. The routine was for them to step outside and chat while they smoked.
The client had already come for her first of two office visits and had been listening to MP3 of her session daily at home. While recounting this particular smoke break story, she said it was very different from previous times. ‘We were standing in the cold next to the chimney to the back side of the house. I remember feeling so stupid because I was freezing to death and isolated from the rest of my family just to smoke.’
She spoke at length about how, in the past week, she became much more aware of the absurdity and certainly the health risk of smoking. I reminded her how hypnotherapy enhances mindfulness, we become very careful thinkers and impulsivity fades. This was likely why she saw this situation in a new light.
I asked her why she ever smoked in the first place, what was the upside? If she was so eager to condemn the cost, stink and health risk what could she possibly be getting from smoking.
She said ‘I guess I just want to smoke.’ To that I asked her to drill down into the ‘want’ a little more. Could she logically want something that checked off the cost, stink and health boxes? She paused and then responded with an emphatic ‘of course not’.
I asked if it made sense that the ‘want’ was just a habit that had taken on a life of its own out of simple repetition? That made sense to her.
Then I asked if it also made sense that by continuing to repeat the relaxing process that reinforced a comfortable smoke-free transition could fix the problem? She just smiled and nodded. After our chat we did her hypnotherapy session and she left the office feeling very focused and confident.
I routinely engage in these types of conversations with clients prior to initiating a hypnotherapy session because it helps them sort through all the details on a subconscious level. Once the session is concluded clients typically are much more focused and confident about moving forward to healthy change.
By: Paul Gustafson