is hypnotherapy an effective way to quit smoking?
well, smoking was actually one of the first things that i worked on when i was completing my hypnotherapy training (in therapy programs students often practice on each other, and my hypnotherapy program with linda campbell was no exception).
i started smoking casually in my late teens – i’m probably aging myself here but when i was old enough to first start going to bars you could still smoke in there – and once i began working in a part of the non-profit sector where cigarettes are essentially currency and it’s weird if you don’t smoke, i picked up the habit more regularly.
it was so normalized, and smoking became less of a casual on-the-weekend-thing over the course of a few years. around that same time, i was finally diagnosed with asthma, which was obviously really exacerbated by my interest in more regular smoking. i tried to quit and reduce my use several times, but found that i was prone to mood swings and irritability, and anyone who has worked in an environment where smokers take more breaks knows that how much easier it is to just keep smoking.
but when i started my hypnotherapy training in the spring of 2012, it made sense to let one of my classmates practice on me and help me try to quit smoking. because i was a very casual smoker, and by that time i was in a workplace with a small staff where no one smoked, i was able to quit after just two sessions.
the part i found remarkable was that i felt as though i didn’t have any cravings.
in the first few days after the session i would ‘forget’ to smoke at a time when i otherwise normally would.
after the second session i found that i had little desire to smoke, and while it did take will power and control on my part to say no when cigarettes were offered to me, i didn’t want them as much and it was easier to say no.*
i’ll honestly admit that when i started my hypnotherapy training i was still a bit skeptical about how effective it could be.
what i found from working with clients is that those who smoke a higher amount often take a few more sessions. i have worked with clients who smoked more than a pack a day for over 25 years, and within 3 o 4 sessions some have been fully abstinent, and others have reduced their use to only a few cigarettes a day. so while many of the clients i have worked with have needed more sessions than i did, or found it more difficult, it has still been incredibly effective.
as stated in my previous post, most of the clients i have worked with needed between 4 and 6 sessions to quit smoking entirely. some find that a follow-up session a few months later is helpful.
286 participants in a study who received only one hypotherapy session still had higher quit rates after 6 months than those who tried to quit cold turkey.
the 2008 study enrolled the 286 smokers in a randomized smoking cessation trial, and concluded that hypnosis combined with a nicotine patch “compares favorably with standard behavioural counseling in generating long-term quit rates.”
not surprisingly, hypnotherapy is most effective when used in combination with other therapies such as nicotine replacement therapy, and when sessions are highly individualized to meet the clients’ unique needs.
contact me if you are ready to work together to create a smoking cessation program that works for you.
what have you tried in the past to quit smoking? share your experiences in the comments!
*please note that this was simply my own personal experience and may not be true for everyone. i make no promises or ‘guarantees’ about the efficacy of any therapeutic program. ultimately, you are the one who will decide how your treatment turns out and whether or not you are able to quit smoking. i am a facilitator and a guide for your process.