Recently, several hypnotherapists have asked me for input on what makes an effective smoking cessation intervention. Here’s a quick overview…
Motivation for Smoking is Key
Smoking cessation with hypnosis/NLP is a matter of finding out why they smoke and including that motivation in your suggestions. So, if smoking helps them relax, get an anchor for relaxation. Have them pick out several alternative behaviors to smoking, make sure at least some of them could be as immediate as having a cigarette (drinking a glass of water, taking a deep breath etc.). Take them to a time in the future, when in the past, they would have had a cigarette (talking on the phone, after a meal etc.) As they step in to the situation, have them, in their imagination, engage in the alternate behavior. You fire off the anchor and suggest that they get even better relaxation from the new behavior. Lather, rinse, repeat. Do it in trance and/or out.
How to Find Out Why Someone Smokes
To find out what motivates them to smoke, ask them. And/or, step them into a time when they really wanted a cigarette. Get the feeling behind the desire! People can have a few reasons to smoke so they might smoke for different reasons at different times.
Use Direct Suggestion
If all else fails, just hyp-mo-tize ’em and tell ’em they are a non-smoker.
Also reframe, reframe, reframe any negative beliefs they have about stopping smoking.
Use the Swish, Luke
Sometimes you get an image or sound that is particularly instrumental in creating a desire for a cigarette. If you get one, swish it away! I recall a client who had a nice, closed up picture of a burning cigarette end, glowing cherry red, with an appetizing waft of smoke curling up. That image was part of what motivated him to smoke. Once we swished it out to a healthier and even more appealing image, much of the desire was gone.
Future pace to make sure your work is clean. If they still feel a desire for a cigarette, you may not have covered all the bases as far as their motivations for smoking…
Now go save people’s lives!