Joe is someone who’s very much in control of himself, and his life. And, so it was a little surprising that he chose hypnosis to help him stop smoking. After all, a great many people associate hypnosis with being controlled.
No one can tell Joe what to do. He went into business for himself, so he didn’t have a boss. He told me that is customers could negotiate with him but they couldn’t tell him what to do. He wouldn’t take orders from the employees at the office, or from the wife and kids at home either. No one could boss Joe around.
As I was getting to know him initially, Joe told me that when he was growing up his family moved around a lot because his father was in the Army. Apparently, dad would have the kids line up at attention at times. And, I could almost imagine the kids saluting as dad barked out orders. Joe hated that.
Joe let me know that he was in control of his smoking. He didn’t smoke around other people, so he planned all the times and places during the day that he would be smoking. He would light up by a certain point on the drive into work so that he would be finished by the time he arrived.
When I asked Joe if he realized that every example he gave the of being in control of the smoking was an example of how the smoking was controlling him, he surprised me. He spontaneously went into hypnosis. He got very still, his eyes unblinking gazing at a spot on the floor, and he sat like that for 45 minutes. When he finally looked up at me, I asked him, “Are you going to smoke again?” He said with utter, and thorough conviction,“Absolutely not!”
Being in control, not being bossed around, was extremely important to Joe. And, during those 45 minutes he spent in hypnosis, Joe made sure that cigarettes and tobacco would never control him again. And, this is a good example of how a person will use hypnosis in unique ways that suit his or her particular personality needs.
Because I was using a conversational approach to hypnosis, Joe never had to be concerned about whether I was controlling him with hypnosis or not. I never told him what to do or what not to do. I simply used Joe’s own personality structure in a very natural way to help him find his own way to become a non-smoker.