Hypnosis Works And Lasts!
For most people, the absolute worst way to attempt to deal with a smoking habit is through the use of willpower. Like moods and emotions, willpower fluctuates. One day it is strong. The next day may be a down day and willpower fades. It is usually neither consistent nor effective.
Among stop-smoking procedures there are countless methods, programs, substitute products, pills, chewing gums, self-help tapes and books, etc. Many are designed to help build up the personal power to resist or overcome the addiction. Hypnosis does not work at achieving the strength to resist. It is designed to eliminate the desire. Instead of giving up something that a person desires (a sacrifice), the individual’s goal is to be rid of something that isn’t wanted – a much more agreeable position psychologically.
Reasons For Smoking
There are two principle reasons for smoking: identification and replacement. Identification is the situation in which the smoker indulges in the habit because others whom he admires do so – parents, peers, entertainment or sports figures, etc. Identification smoking is the most common and easier to eliminate.
Replacement smoking occurs when smoking is used to replace some deficit in life – lack of companionship, love, acceptance, self-esteem, security, independence, etc. – or to replace some pre-existing habit such as overeating, reaction to anxiety, or boredom, etc. Replacement smokers often derive sensual gratification from smoking – they enjoy touching or feeling the cigarettes, tapping the pack, seeing the flame of a lighter or the curl of rising smoke, or the smell of burning tobacco. Often, the lighting of the cigarette (or cigar or pipe) in itself becomes a ritual. Replacement smoking is quite often a true and severe addiction.
Nature of Smoking
Since smoking is both physical and mental, success in a stop-smoking effort must change not only the mental attitude, but the physical reaction. Through hypnosis it is possible to change the taste of cigarette from pleasurable to unpleasurable. When this is accomplished problems often related to the cessation of smoking tend to be avoided. Castor oil (or other bad tasting medicine) may serve as an example. When a person gives up the ingestion of castor oil there are no withdrawal symptoms; and there are no needs to compensate for the lack of the medicine through overeating, sucking hard candies, etc.
In some cases a gradual reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked proves successful. Of the many procedures available the hypnotist will select that which is most appropriate for the individual client. In some cases, effective cessation of smoking can be achieved in a single session. In other cases, three, four, or five sessions may be required. Individual sessions have the advantage of being adjustable to deal with the causes of the habit, the gratifications provided, the characteristics of the clients, and similar matters not fitting group work.
It is important to determine just what personal need is satisfied by smoking. Some smokers seek to fill a need to nurture themselves – lessen loneliness or get a “pick up” at the start of or during the day. Others feel smoking will relieve stress or provide moments of relaxation. Still more feel cigarette smoking makes social contacts more comfortable. The problem is that a habit adopted to meet a special need often proves destructive, eliminating the need by destroying the smoker.
The risks entailed in smoking have been stressed and analyzed for years. Aversion techniques used in hypnosis applications can provide dramatic results. Data on why, when, and where smoking is indulged can reveal information helpful in planning a stop-smoking hypnosis method.
Smoking & Visualization
One of the most powerful attributes of the human psyche is the visualization ability. Many hypnotists, working many types of problems, program clients to accept the belief that, “What the mind can conceive, you can achieve!” This concept is common in fields of meditation, positive thinking, and spiritual faiths.
Hypnosis can help develop and focus the powers of visualization. And since visualization is frequently undeveloped in clients, and since it can be learned, hypnosis can be used as a teaching modality.
In stop-smoking programs the ability to visualize one’s self as a non-smoker, free from past effects of the habit, filled with new health, energy, and vitality, is a major asset. Visualization enables the client to picture in the mind cigarettes as unappealing, bad tasting, foul smelling, and otherwise revolting. Likewise it is possible to picture and otherwise sense clean breath, healthy appearance, sensitive tastes.
Through visualization a smoker can perceive himself/herself as looking healthier, more active, in better physical condition, with easier breathing, stronger lungs, and similar advantages. Through hypnosis, senses of light, touch, smell, hearing, and taste can all be enhanced and used to modify reactions as necessary to achieve goals.
Once a smoker has achieved success in a stop-smoking program it is necessary to reinforce the programming that led to the cessation practice. Smoking habits are acquired over a long period of time. Even though the smoker may have ceased smoking, the habit is likely to still be active. But like most activities, if not used, it tends to fade and disappear. The hypnotist will take measures to reinforce the programming during the period (perhaps a couple months) required for the habit to weaken, providing a personalized tape to maintain success until the habit, itself, is gone.