The most difficult part of stopping smoking is not getting rid of the physical addiction to nicotine. Once you have read a little further, that will make perfectly good sense.
Anti-smoking drugs are designed to either reduce the anxiety or depression associated with stopping smoking or, as with the patch, to replace the nicotine with another source of nicotine. The antidepressant drugs make some sense because many people who stop smoking with willpower get irritable, or anxious. However, these drugs have a limited success because it is seldom if ever the physical withdrawal that causes the irritability or depression that occurs when people stop smoking.
Frequently people who use nicotine replacement devices like an inhaler or patch will still have strong urges to smoke. And, that gives us a clue about what makes smoking so hard to stop. It is not the nicotine itself that is most important. It is the mental associations and attachments to the activity of smoking itself.
A few of the reasons smokers have given me that they were unable to stop:
“I only take breaks at work to smoke. If I am not smoking I will not get any breaks.”
“Cigarettes are my friends.”
“I can only write music when I am smoking.” ( Professional song writer)
“Smoking makes me look cool.”
“It scares me to think I will never smoke again.”
Did you notice that none of those reasons have anything to do with effects of nicotine? And, if nicotine addiction is really the issue, how is it that some people have strong cravings to smoke while they are using the patch? Since the patch puts nicotine into their bodies, nicotine cannot be what they are craving.
As a hypnotherapist, I have found that once the issues like taking a break, or the fear of not smoking taken care of in hypnosis, that all the cravings, irritability, depression just go away. And, my clients do not gain weight, because they have not switched their habit from smoking to eating, they have gotten rid of it completely.
And, that is why hypnosis is better than drugs for stopping smoking. It takes care of all the issues that drugs cannot address.
A psychotherapist came to me for hypnosis.
Her goals were rather vague. That was a concern, because if the client’s goals are not specific and concrete enough, I as a hypnotherapist may either not know when they have been achieved, or worse, I may misinterpret what the client wants and give her something else entirely.
So, my first efforts were to establish a bit of rapport, and start in on defining what she actually wanted. Something like “a sense of ease and flow in life” cannot be measured or observed, so I asked a lot of questions to narrow down just exactly what she meant.
And, when I started asking all those question, I noticed two things. She did not have any real specific way of telling when she would have achieved her outcomes. The more I tired to narrow down her outcomes the more she asked for different things. The other thing I noticed was that my efforts to understand her goals were causing me to lose rapport.
My client was kind enough to give me some subtle hints, like, “I don’t feel comfortable that we are developing a safe space for a therapeutic relationship”. And, it took me a while to realize that she was really asking for was psychotherapy rather than hypnotherapy.
Ask a hypnotherapist for something like increased self esteem, and she or he will usually go for it directly and immediately with a specific technique, metaphors, and/or one or more of the other tools of hypnotherapy. A psychotherapist will typically spend one or more sessions establishing a relationship, and then proceed into ongoing open ended nondirective conversation, perhaps digging into the client’s past. And, the psychotherapeutic approach usually is directed towards different kinds of issues than hypnotherapy. For example, a suicidal or deeply drug addicted client would be better served by a psychologist or psychotherapist.
My normal more directive approach was simply making my client close down and feel unsettled. So, I realized that what we both expected from our session was completely different, and that I had lost any chance of having good therapeutic rapport with her. So I stopped the session. I told my client that there I was dissatisfied with how things had gone, which was my responsibility, so I would not charge her for the session.
Then I got very quite inside, and just let a nice conversation develop as we got to know each other a little. Basically, I shifted gears, and offered her my best efforts to give her the beginnings of the therapeutic relationship that she had been wanting and expecting.
As we discussed what had happened, my client mentioned that she had a psychotherapist that she had worked with, and that she would go see him to help her go after her outcomes. It seems to me that the benefit of our session was simply my client’s realization that what she was really wanting was psychotherapy and not hypnosis.
How do you know how when to stop eating?
When someone comes to me asking to use hypnosis to help them control their weight that is one of the first questions that I always ask.
A great many of them say, “I’m done when the food is gone,” or “When I’m full,”or even, ”When I’m uncomfortably full.” Occasionally, someone will say, “When the food is gone. If there is food there, I will eat it.”
We might wonder at this point, how does someone who is naturally slender know when to stop eating? Babies eat until they have had enough, and then stop. If everyone did just what they do, there would be very few overweight people.
So, how do people learn to eat past physical satisfaction in the first place?
Poor eating habits are typically learned in childhood. Well meaning parents push children to clean their plates, reward them or calm upsets with sweets, which teaches them hungerless eating. Eating as celebration, a reward, or to feel better when upset, are all learned behaviors.
So, having overeaten for a lifetime, how can we find out how much food it really takes to satisfy hunger?
There is simple and elegant experiment reported by Brian Wansink in his book Mindless Eating. Simply prepare a meal, put however much food you would usually eat on the plate. Cut up the food into bite sized pieces. Put on a blindfold, and eat until you have had enough. Then take off the blindfold and notice how much food is left on your plate.
You may be amazed.
A great many people decide how much to eat by what they see on their plate instead of how physically satisfied they feel. A skilled hypnotherapist can teach someone to learn a new way of knowing when to stop eating. The hypnosis helps them bypass their habitual way of eating and put new habits in place in a very short time.