How easy is it to stop smoking with hypnosis? Your mileage may vary, but you can expect that it will be a lot easier than quitting without hypnosis.
The thing is, sometimes smoking is just a habit with very little meaning to the smoker, and when that’s true, quitting is usually pretty straightforward. On the other hand, sometimes smoking is important for one reason or another, and it’s important to take care of that part first.
Take a guy who says that he needs to smoke in order to relax. Now, we all know that nicotine is a powerful stimulant, and smoking to relax is like taking Vivarin to relax! Does that mean he’s wrong? No! Not if his behavior matches his belief. If a cigarette calms him down, then it really does help him relax. What we’re seeing is the fact that the human mind is far more powerful than the chemicals we ingest. And doesn’t this imply that nicotine itself is neither here nor there? I think so.
It’s important to stay on the winning side when dealing with the unconscious mind. Telling the client, “That can’t be true, because nicotine is a stimulant” is a foolish thing, because the client knows perfectly well that smoking really does help him relax, and if he were to stop, what would happen then? The situation implies that he’d lose the ability to relax. And he might, if I were dumb enough to approach the problem that way. What I do instead is to tell the client, “You should stop smoking only when you’ve found new ways of meeting your needs that are at least as effective.”
So now the main issue for the client is coming up with a way of relaxing that’s at least as effective (and as convenient!) as smoking. When in hypnosis, most people quickly come up with solutions that work for them, and it’s unusual for me to have to suggest one.
Of course, relaxation is just one example. Some people haven’t learned how to take a break that isn’t a smoke break, and picking up this skill will be part of their process.
A typical story about smokers is about a new hypnotist who saw eight clients and did only “direct suggestions” not to smoke anymore. Four clients stopped smoking and were perfectly satisfied, and the other four either started smoking again or had burdensome side effects. But when you check to make sure that the client’s unconscious mind replaces any need that’s being served by smoking is with something that’s at least as good, there’s no reason why all eight wouldn’t have stopped easily.