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Can Hypnotherapy Really Help Me Quit Smoking?

Woman with cigarette in her hand, unable to quit
Hypnotherapy can indeed help eliminate bad habits.

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times. – Mark Twain.

To answer the question if hypnotherapy can really help you quit smoking, you first have to understand one important thing: hypnosis is not magic.

Hypnotherapy is a partnership between therapist and the client. They both work together towards an agreed-upon goal, and great communication is key. Therefore, the answer to the question is, yes, hypnotherapy can help you quit smoking. But you have to really want to do it, and with the support of your therapist, you have to work at changing your ways.

In the first session, and indeed, in the subsequent sessions, as insight arises, I’ll ask you why you smoke, and of course, why you want to quit. Some people, for example, smoke to fit in. Some people smoke to curb anxiety. The answer to question #1 reflects your underlying belief system and may reveal false beliefs - like “I need smoking to feel calm." The answer to question #2 most likely reflects a desire for a more positive future. For example, you may want to quit to save money. Or you may want to quit to improve your health. My husband quit smoking in order to marry me – and he was so motivated, he didn't need hypnosis to do it. There may be an underlying belief about health or money that prevents you from achieving your goal. My husband seem to know I was the best thing for him, so he created a plan to quit and stuck to it.

In any case, the reasons for smoking, and the reasons for quitting, are unique to the client, and so I help you create a program that not only alters your behavior, but alters your relationship to your belief system.

Another way that hypnotherapy can help you quit smoking is by creating positive suggestions for the withdrawal. Let's face it – cigarettes are addicting. That's why most people have so much trouble quitting. Some people may replace one addiction with another – like drinking instead of smoking, or eating sweets, instead of smoking, which might result in weight gain. Hypnotherapy can help mitigate the otherwise uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and plant seeds for better habits.

What if I start gaining weight when I quit smoking?

In fact, hypnotherapy can help with weight loss and smoking cessation simultaneously, even though, as far as the body and mind are concerned, they are the same thing. Since smoking causes the metabolism to work at a slightly higher rate, quitting may understandably cause a little bit of weight gain. So, together you and I can decide how to handle this possibility. For example, should you eat slightly less? Or should you exercise a little bit more? If weight loss is already an issue in addition to smoking cessation, progress may take longer, perhaps, as many as 10 sessions.

I would usually guess that a client might need 6 to 8 sessions to quit smoking. And the reason the number is so high is that the client may discover more reasons for smoking as time goes on. For example, let's assume you want to quit for health reasons. It seems very straightforward – you began smoking in high school to fit in with your friends and just maintained smoking as a habit. Now you’ve met someone who doesn’t smoke, and you want to quit to start a healthy future with this person. But then, once you actually quit, you discover other reasons for smoking, even aside from difficulty withstanding the withdrawal symptoms. Perhaps, you used smoking to handle a severe trauma. Now, you're actually afraid to go without it. So afraid, in fact that you question your worthiness for the future are you so desire.

The point here is that quitting is a process, and neither you as the client, nor I as the hypnotherapist can know exactly how this process is going to play out.

Woman staring at a pendulum.  Is that how hypnosis works?
Hypnotherapy is not mysterious or magical, but a practical tool to transform the mind.

How does hypnosis work?

If you look at my video How Hypnotherpy Works, you will begin to understand how the subconscious works. The subconscious, as you will see, is all about emotions, memories and the nervous system. Therefore, an emotionally motivated client is the best client - that is, someone who is truly sick of their own behavior and wants change. If you come to hypnosis in order to please someone else like a spouse or a parent, it isn't going to work.

When you pay for smoking cessation sessions with a hypnotherapist, it is a demonstration of your commitment to quitting smoking. Commitment is what helps us achieve things in life. Sometimes it feels hard to commit to something without the support of someone else. For some people, booking and paying for the smoking cessation session is enough to stick to their own commitment to stop.

What is a session like?

As I said above, when I work with someone to quit smoking, we spend the first session talking to work out the reasons you want toquit smoking, the reasons you smoke, an In this session, you will also learn how hypnosis works because it's important to understand that you are essential to the process. In this session, you will experience, hypnosis, but it will be very light. Hypnosis feels like half sleeping/half waking. And it’s important for me to see how you respond to this state before proceeding to do deeper work.

Next, I ask you to commit to smoking behavior rules during the break between the first and second sessions. When you come for the second session, we speak about the things you found difficult, what lifestyle changes helped, and what didn’t. Hypnosis, from this point on, becomes more deep and effective.

When you use hypnosis, you learn how to take control of your own thoughts. You have the focus and the power to cement the decisions that you make. If you continue practicing hypnosis mindfully, you will have the power every day to say no to smoking. Although hypnosis alone will not help you stop smoking, when you work with a hypnotherapist with experience helping people in this way, they will give you the tools to stop the smoking habit for good. Success is sweet indeed.

A woman cross the finish line. Victory is sweet.
Achieving your goal is a great feeling, and hypnotherapy can help.

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