Breaking the Smoking Habit For Life
In my work as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I believe that people want to make some sort of change in their life. These changes may be on a physical, mental, or spiritual level. I also believe that we even know how to make the desired changes; however, we are sometimes limited by our own old thinking patterns which hold us back from making desirable and practical changes in our lives. Sometimes I ask my clients: Are there things in your life which you know you should be doing to make those improvements you desire, but are not able or can't do them at this time? Most people answer " yes" to the above question. This is where the powerful effects of hypnosis can become helpful to clients who wish to make changes, but can't bring themselves to make changes consciously. For example, with smoking, they try to make changes, give themselves a “quit date”, or force changes to be made, but find that will-power can only take them a short distance toward their goals. And each time they try to quit, the period between each try becomes shorter and shorter. Hypnosis can be very powerful and effective in aligning your conscious and your subconscious minds. Hypnosis works by activating all the different regions of your mind and gets them working together striving towards a common goal. Hypnosis activates your mind power so that you will want to do the things you know you should be doing, to help you achieve your positive goals and dreams.
Sometimes an individual may be resistant to change, even if one is not consciously aware the resistance. Let us discuss this a bit further. Will-power is the force of the conscious mind and works by forcing the mind to change a habit. Using will-power alone to stop smoking often results in very short term gains and solutions. For any change to be long lasting we must work on the root of the problem, or the seat of the motivation. The subconscious mind holds the secrets to long lasting change.
Hypnosis works by facilitating access to the subconscious mind through relaxation, guided imagery, and positive direct suggestions. Hypnosis through guided imagery is simply the picturing of specific visualizations as directed by your Hypnotist. In your mind you create the person you wish to become, and your body will follow suit. During a hypnosis session, you are always free to accept or reject any imagery or suggestion you choose.
The conscious part of our mind is the 5% of our mind which everyone says we use through will-power; and the subconscious mind is the other 95% which is the most powerful determinate of our behavior. It is the subconscious mind which is the center of our imagination, our motivations, and behaviors. What the subconscious mind believes the individual tends to achieve.
With my Smoking Cessation Program, I add a very specific and powerful technique to the session. That is, Parts Therapy. Because the subconscious mind holds all of your beliefs and memories, and the feelings that imprinted the beliefs, it has only one job to do. And that is to PROTECT that belief. Smokers believe rationally that they smoke because it relaxes them, it helps them in times of stress or crisis, it is their ‘friend’. But the real reason is not that simple. It is an emotional reason. The subconscious mind, being the single most goal oriented mechanism known to Man, finds ways of keeping your belief about yourself in place. If when you started smoking it filled the emotional belief that you are unworthy, unlovable, etc, and you felt good when you smoked, then the subconscious mind believes that this is a good way of dealing with the emotion. The majority of smokers began as young teens. It became socially acceptable to smoke IF their peers smoked. And by being a smoker, there is belonging, acceptance, a commonality.
The subconscious mind is NOT rational so it does not take into consideration that cigarettes are loaded with carcinogens. This is something the rational mind understands, but it’s part of the 5% of the mind. It cannot change a long held belief of the subconscious mind without subconscious mind relearning. And this is why hypnosis works! It allows access to the subconscious so that positive relearning can take place. When working with me as your Facilitator, I speak directly with your Smoker Part to understand why it protects you with your smoking habit and then help it understand that this protection/behavior is no longer in your best and highest interest. This is when powerful change happens because the rational/conscious mind and the subconscious mind both get the same message and resolution.
Hypnosis is a safe and effective tool in the hands of a competent and ethical practitioner. The hypnotist only acts as a facilitator in the hypnosis process, and as all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, you can only be taught how to change those things which you want to change.
Research on the effectiveness of hypnosis for quitting smoking:
To find the most effective method to stop smoking Frank Schmidt and research student Chockalingham Viswesvaran from the university of Iowa used a meta-analysis, utilizing the results of more than 600 studies totalling nearly 72,000 people.
The results, which were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and included 48 studies of hypnosis covering 6000 smokers, clearly showed that hypnosis, to use the same terminology as the quit counsellor, was three times more effective than NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy).
References - Elliot Wald, Tami J Eggelston PhD & Fredrick Gibbson PhD, "Cognitive reactions to smoking relapse", New Scientist, vol 136, pp6.
Posted from Josephine Teague, Research Director on 07/09/2002
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