Smoking (Chewing Tobacco) Cessation
Last month I dealt with one of the most frequent “New Year’s Resolutions” – Weight Control. This month, I’ll tackle the problem of quitting smoking or stopping the habit of chewing tobacco.
1. I am ready to quit, and I think hypnotherapy is the way to go for me. I have smoked for 10 years, and am a heavy smoker, so it is very hard for me to give it up. I would like to know how it works. Will I just not have the urge after the session? Can hypnosis help in stopping to smoke WITHOUT gaining weight? Also, how about for stress relief? Please let me know if you can help me, how much your fee is, and if you have a money back guarantee, if it doesn't work.
2. I don't smoke, I chew smokeless tobacco. I've been chewing 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. I am in a high stress career. I've tried patches, nicorette gum, seeds, lollipops, and “cold-turkey.” I am afraid that my luck will run out soon. Can you suggest anything?
3. My family seems to have a "predisposition" to cancer and diabetes. Needless to say, the cards are not stacked in my favor! I have tried numerous times to quit, including the “cold turkey” way and the patch, which made me ill. In addition to the numerous health benefits of quitting, I just bought a house, and I don’t want to stink it up!
4. How effective is hypnosis in helping you stop smoking? What credentials should a qualified therapist have? What should I expect to pay per session and how many sessions should I need? Can more than one problem be addressed at a time? I live on a very strict budget.
It is not uncommon for people to try to quit smoking or chewing tobacco many times before either finally quitting, or giving up trying to quit. Frustration and self-recrimination can be high over the control such a small thing has over their lives. But there is good reason for failure to quit--the desire of the conscious self which constitutes about 5 percent of one’s mind is overwhelmed by the real desire, habits and urges that have been programmed into the subconscious mind, which constitutes the other 95 percent. When there are two conflicting opinions--“I want to quit!” “I don’t give it up!”--guess who wins!?
Smokers (and Chewers of tobacco) have a number of fears that can stand in the way of quitting:
1) How will I handle stress, anxiety, boredom and other feelings without my Cigarette (or Chew)
2) What will I do with my hands?
3) What will I do with my time?
4) What if I gain weight?
5) How will I cope with the physical withdrawal?
Hypnosis is a powerful tool for dealing with these fears. I believe that a qualified therapist is one who understands those underlying fears and includes them in whatever program they have for their clients who are trying to quit. In my intake with a client I want to know what smoking (chewing) does for the person--that is, when and why they smoke (chew). I want to know what the benefits are to them quitting. Since there have been “benefits” to smoking (or chewing), then it’s important to replace them with the benefits of quitting.
Some therapists do one-session programs, such three five. Some charge by program, and others by session. My own program, called "Quit Smoking (or Chewing) without Gaining Weight," is based upon how many years one has been smoking, or chewing tobacco. The first session of 1-1/2 hours or more includes an intake to know more about the client and his/her habits, including the year and reasons the client began the habit. This helps me create a particular program for the individual. I can target the suggestions, not just to the adult client, but to the particular age personality that felt it was important to start. I follow this with some hypnosis to clear any imprints that might in any way cause the issue, or block the client from quitting. The second meeting is a full hypnosis session, which usually focuses on quitting without gaining weight. I have been doing this for 14 years and have a large "kit bag", so my success rate is very good.
Sometimes I’m asked if I give a guarantee. I believe this question comes from the fly-by-night Stop Smoking group sessions done in cities, in which people are guaranteed money back if they don’t quit. I feel this is very misleading to the public. It implies that the hypnotherapist can make you do something. In fact, the hypnotist is helping you to SELF-hypnotize. The client is allowing the therapist to be their guide. That guide helps them into their own resources and motivation. I can guarantee that my work is professional and that I have a lot of experience and methods at my disposal. I can guarantee I will do everything I can to help the person reach into and use those resources. But how can I guarantee the client’s part in the process? If the client wants to be hypnotized she/he will be. If the client wants the therapist to be their guide, it will happen. If the client wants to quit then he/she will quit. However, if the client has underlying and strong reasons for not wanting to quit, then he or she probably will block the hypnotist’s work. I can’t guarantee that part of the bargain. We are a team in concert with each other, contracted to do our bit in seeing that the goal is met. As long as we both agree that it’s a good thing to do, it will likely happen!
Some persons believe hypnotherapy is too costly for them to use to quit smoking or chewing. Believe me, what you pay for hypnosis to quit is far less than what you end up spending in cigarettes--In another 10 years, if you smoke just one pack a day (without the price of cigarettes going up), you will have spent at least $10,000 to $15,000. That's a sizeable down payment on a car or house! And if that doesn’t appeal to you, how about a trip around the world!