Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times.
~ Mark Twain~
How motivated are you to stop smoking? To breathe air rather than smoke? Your success depends on how committed you are to working through the underlying issues that cause you to smoke. Motivation and clarity around your intention is 99% of change. Ask yourself, on a scale of 0—10, where you now find yourself. Be honest. For hypnotherapy to be effective in your becoming smoke-free, it is important that you be at a "7" or higher. However if you are below a 7, hypnotherapy can be used to explore why that is so, and how you can arrive at a more highly motivated state to begin your work.
Most people stop smoking in stages or steps. There are some people who quit simply through their resolve, but for most others it takes several attempts to become smoke-free, and often includes outside help.
The Literal Smokescreen
Beyond the physical addiction to nicotine, choosing to smoke is often entangled with deeper core issues. Smoking has become a way to deal with unmet needs. These needs are valid, or they wouldn't keep arising. If not dealt with directly, they hold you captive.
Conflict Resolution through Reframing
Smokers who truly wish to stop smoking are in conflict with themselves. As humans, we are complex beings. One part of us wants to smoke and is ready to become free. On one shoulder sits the proverbial devil, while on the other shoulder is the angel encouraging you to stop. Through "reframing," the inner dialogue between these conflicted voices is brought out into the open. It is important for these individual parts to make their truths known in order to pull together, share the same goal, and work as a team, rather than being at cross purposes. Through reframing you have an opportunity to become aware of both sides of the argument, call a truce and get both sides on board.
It's important to recognize that there are no "bad" parts. It is the smoking behavior that is in question. The smoker part is doing its best to deal with unmet needs, and identifying those needs is essential to the process. An obvious example involves smoking as a way to deal with difficult emotions. Quitting might feel like losing your best buddy, a very threatening prospect. There are, of course, usually a multiplicity of other reasons yet to be discovered.
To be very clear, by becoming aware of these voices through reframing, I do not mean "Multiple Personality Disorder", as depicted by the media. In that stereotype, the character spontaneously shifts into different personas without being aware of it. She or he experienced amnesia and/or lost time. The reframing process, in contrast, creates the opportunity to get to know and appreciate yourself in all your complexity, changing what wants to be changed and retaining what needs to be kept.
After thoroughly ferreting out your reasons for smoking, as well as reasons for your desire to become smoke free, a third part, your higher self, is invited to join in the discussion. The function of your higher self here is to create a way for the conflicted parts to meet, collaborate and to join forces for your freedom.
Laying the Foundation
The following is a series of questions for your consideration and for you to discuss with your hypnotherapist before beginning the trance and reframing work. There are no right or wrong answers; what is important is that you answer these questions openly and honestly. The information will create a foundation to support the reframing trance work. You will notice that how you relate to these questions will change over time during the course of hypnotherapy.
How long have you smoked?
Why did you begin smoking?
On average how many cigarettes have you been smoking in a day?
What and how do you feel about smoking?
How do you feel about the smell of cigarettes?
How do you feel about the smell of nicotine on your hands?
How do you feel about the taste of cigarettes?
How do you feel about the act of lighting a cigarette?
What is your experience of holding a cigarette?
What is your experience of hot air and smoke on the back of your throat and in your lungs?
How do you feel about the sensation of inhaling smoke?
How do you feel about needing or wanting to take a break to smoke?
How do you feel about smoking as a way to deal with negative emotions or stress?
Have you quit smoking before? If so, what worked for you? What was difficult for you?
What were the events, thoughts, or feelings that were triggers for starting up again?
How long have you gone without smoking in the past?
How long would you need to not smoke now to consider yourself a non- smoker?
How does smoking impact your social life? Relationships? Family? Health?
On average, how many hours do you currently go without smoking from the last cigarette in the evening to the first one of the next day? (Know that your body knows how to go without smoking during these hours.)
Why do you want to stop smoking? Why now?
Who else wants you to stop?
And finally…If you were to stop smoking, how would your life change? The upside? The downside?