Help Me Quit Smoking
Can hypnotherapy help me quit smoking?
This month's questions collected from readers are about hypnosis and the use of nicotine: Here is what one of my own clients had to say about their experience with hypnotherapy. Although not everyone will have that kind of ease, between 85 to 95 percent of those who want to quit, can, through hypnosis. "I thought I'd have a terrible time giving up cigarettes--I've heard of grumpy, cranky people who have stopped--but I feel great; I didn't even think about it." 1. CAN HYPNOSIS HELP ME TO QUIT SMOKING WITHOUT GAINING WEIGHT? I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT THIS IS ONE OF MY BIGGEST WORRIES BECAUSE SO MANY OF MY FRIENDS PUT ON WEIGHT AFTER THEY QUIT. If you are concerned about your weight, then give your hypnotherapist the desired weight you want to be and ask her/him to add positive suggestions when you're hypnotized that you will eat like that (ideal weight) person, that you will choose healthy, nutritious foods in the right amount for your (ideal weight) body, and that you will never put into your body anything unhealthy for it. 2. I WENT TO ONE OF THOSE BIG GROUP ONE-TIME HYPNOSIS SESSIONS TO TRY TO QUIT SMOKING, BUT IT ONLY LASTED A WEEK WITH ME. DOES THIS MEAN HYPNOSIS REALLY ISN'T EFFECTIVE FOR SMOKING ADDICTIONS? DOES IT MEAN I CAN'T BE HYPNOTIZED? Just because a group session didn't work to help you stop smoking doesn't mean hypnosis isn't effective for stopping. It just means that you need more personal assistance in quitting a long-term habit. A good hypnotherapist will create a program just right for you as an individual with your particular reasons for the habit. As for whether you can be hypnotized, everyone can be, in theory. We all go through altered states (or trances) each day--daydreaming, falling into a doze, etc. So, with the hypnosis, you can be if you want to be, and if you trust the hypnotist. 3. I HAVE TRIED SEVERAL TIMES TO QUIT SMOKING. I HAVE USED THE PILL, PATCHES, QUIT COLD TURKEY--AND NOTHING SEEMS TO WORK FOR ME. I WANT TO QUIT BUT HAVE NO WILL POWER TO DO SO. WILL HYPNOSIS WORK FOR ME. Your conscious mind has a very short-term memory and motivation--which probably explains why New Year's Resolutions last such a short time. Your unconscious or subconscious self is where your real long-term motivation lies. Hypnotherapy is powerful for stimulating that motivation and changing the programming you have at that deep level that is convincing you that you must smoke (or chew). 4. I'VE BEEN SMOKING 2 PACKS A DAY FOR OVER 25 YEARS. HOW MANY SESSIONS WOULD IT TAKE TO QUIT SMOKING, AND HOW SUCCESSFUL IS IT FOR SOMEONE WHO'S BEEN SMOKING SO LONG? It doesn't matter how long you've been smoking, or how many times you've tried to stop, or how many times you returned to it; when you are really ready to quit, without anyone else's pressure--only your own, then you will find that hypnosis is very effective in helping you do what you really want to do. As to the number of sessions, that will vary per person, usually from 1 to 3 sessions. 5. I DON'T SMOKE, I CHEW SMOKELESS TOBACCO, AND HAVE BEEN FOR ABOUT 12 YEARS. I NEED TO QUIT. I DON'T WANT TO WAKE UP SOMEDAY AND FIND A LESION IN MY MOUTH THAT IS CANCEROUS. A hypnotist can help you with chewing tobacco just as easily as helping someone stop smoking. In both cases, the therapist is helping your deeper mind reach a conclusion that it is healthier, and more to your interests now, to give up nicotine in any form. 6. I'M IN A HIGH-STRESS CAREER, AND USE MY SMOKING TO HELP RELAX ME. I'M WORRIED THAT I WON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY HANDS AND MY STRESS IF I QUIT. YET, I'M CONCERNED ABOUT MY HEALTH, AND GET A LOT OF WORRY FROM MY CHILDREN ABOUT THIS. I OFTEN USE "BEING TOO BUSY" AS AN EXCUSE FOR NOT DEALING WITH SOMETHING. Well, look at it this way. Will you be too busy to handle the results of a shortened life, in which your children are without you, or where you are too ill to take care of them? As for worrying about what to do about the stress, have the hypnotherapist give you some post-hypnotic signals that assist you in relaxing. You may also find someone who also teaches you self-hypnosis--if you have time....!! 7. I SMOKE CONSTANTLY, AND WANT TO KNOW MUCH STOPPING WOULD COST ME. I HAVEN'T MUCH MONEY. IT WON'T DO ME MUCH GOOD IF I CAN'T AFFORD IT. Look at it this way? Aren't your cigarettes costly to someone who doesn't have much money? How long do you want to keep putting your money down the drain? Is the little money you have doing the best for you? How can it be, if you are spending half of it on nicotine? So, the question is, can you afford NOT to quit. I assume you smoke at least 2 or more packs a day, from what you say. If you continued at that rate, and you never paid more for a pack of cigarettes than what they now cost, you would have spent well over $20,000 in the next 10 years--that's a lot of change!!