What is Hypnotism?
Hypnotism or hypnosis is really a state of focused attention, where your normal awareness, or ability to see peripheral objects, is reduced. In the state of hypnotism or hypnosis, you can be more open to suggestion. This is often why hypnotism for quitting smoking is so effective at helping people stop smoking in just one or two sessions.
There are many theories explaining hypnotism. It is really an altered state. And an altered state such as experienced during hypnotism is often marked by a different level of awareness, a deeper state of relaxation than you experience during regular consciousness. This is of course very different from being asleep. When asleep you have no real conscious awareness at all and are unaware of sounds or events around you.
How Does Hypnotism for Quitting Smoking Work?
When you book a session of hypnotism for quitting smoking, you will be asked to keep a diary for a few days and this helps you begin to consider how your habit works. In your hypnosis sessions, the actual hypnotism section of the treatment always begins with an induction. A hypnotic induction is a series of relaxation visualisations. With eyes closed your hypnotherapist will guide you to relax and it is common for hypnosis to begin with relaxing your body or imagining being somewhere calming and relaxing. This might be lying on a beach or being surrounded by a beautiful forest and allowing yourself to go into a deep feeling of calm, but without actually falling asleep.
Hypnotism is really found in two forms. Hypnotism for quitting smoking will usually be performed by a clinical hypnotherapist, whose role is therapeutic. They will be trained to help clients overcome challenges which can vary from weight loss to pain or phobias and of course they will use hypnotism to help you stop smoking. I am a clinical hypnotherapist and I use hypnotism for quitting smoking regularly with my clients in London.
If you’ve ever had hypnotism or hypnosis, you’ll know that you go into a very focused, relaxed state and you feel that you are more open to the suggestions that you hear. Indeed it can be a very relaxing experience. This means that hypnotism for quitting smoking will not only help you quit cigarettes but you should leave your hypnotherapy session feeling very relaxed and calm too.
As well as for therapeutic ends, hypnotism can frequently be used for entertainment. Techniques of ‘stage hypnotism’ have been a major feature of the work of hypnotists such as Derren Brown. Derren Brown would not, as rule, use hypnotism to help people quit smoking or help a client to overcome phobias or reduce their anxiety levels. He uses hypnotism, NLP and other tools from his magician’s tool box, to entertain audiences.
However, what we’re talking about today is very different. Clinical hypnotism is not about entertainment. This means that any worries you may have about not being in control or about being manipulated are truly unfounded. During smoking cessation clinical hypnotherapy, the hypnotism for quitting smoking visualisations you will experience will be perfectly safe. You will be able to hear what is happening and also able to open your eyes at any time.
More on the origins of using hypnotism for quitting smoking
Hypnotism has a very interesting history. Click here for an article explaining, in detail, its history. As you may know, the word hypnosis comes from an ancient Greek word ‘hypnos’ or ‘put to sleep’. Both of the words ‘hypnosis’ and ‘hypnotism’ derive from the term neuro-hypnotism or ‘nervous sleep’. These were popularized by the Scottish surgeon James Braid around 1841. It was Braid whose practices were later developed by Franz Mesmer and it was his work that really set the ball rolling for the creation of modern hypnotism. It is thanks to him that therapists today use hypnotism for quitting smoking.
Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, studied hypnotism whilst in Paris. At first he was very enthusiastic about it. He would hypnotize patients and encourage them to recover or rather uncover repressed memories. Freud used hypnotism to go back into the past to look for a solution to people’s problems in the present. Freud wrote an encyclopaedia article about hypnotism which demonstrates how much he initially valued it. However, even though he began to abandon hypnotism in favour of psychoanalysis, Freud is still very important in the history of hypnotism.
Today Milton Erickson is an important figure in the history and modern development of hypnotism. He was very interested in the use of ‘suggestion’. By ‘suggestion’ we mean simply the conversation had with a client during a session. During a conversation the therapist ‘suggests’ ways to think differently to the client. This could be a conversation in a state of trance or the use of visualisations as well. The use of suggestions in hypnosis can be powerful, especially when the client is resistant to change or when issues are deeply held. Hypnotism also uses other forms of intervention. Popular today is the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which in hypnosis is referred to as Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy.
How Does Hypnotism for Quitting Smoking Work?
During a hypnotism session, you will feel and appear very calm and relaxed. Though in fact you are actually very awake and listening closely to the suggestions and visualisations you hear from the therapist.
The hypnotic part of the session begins with an induction and the quieting of the conscious mind. Relaxing the conscious mind will mean that the subconscious mind is more open and receptive to suggestions. Whilst during a conscious conversation it’s easy to argue back or for the conscious mind to bring up barriers and resistance. When in the state of trance the subconscious is more ready to accept to the suggestions and to consider different ways of thinking.
This experience is perhaps comparable to when you’re swimming in the sea. The conscious mind is more on the superficial surface level, just like the surface of the sea, where the waves are choppy. However as soon as you go into a trance and you go even a little deeper, just like the water under the surface, it’s much calmer and still. Trance can be achieved in fact by simply just closing your eyes.
When used to quit smoking, hypnosis will utilise visualizations and suggestions to help you think differently about smoking and your habit. Whilst in hypnosis you may be guided to think about memories about smoking and ‘reprogramme’ your mind to think about the role smoking and cigarettes have played in your life. Often you might be asked to remember the times when you had an unpleasant experience with smoking. These memories can be utilised to help you dislike smoking in the present. Hypnotism for quitting smoking can be a very powerful method to help you change perspective drastically about your habit and reduce your desire to smoke. Hypnosis is also a very safe way to quit smoking and it’s medication and side effect free too.
Looking at memories and past events is particularly important when performing hypnotism for traumatic experiences such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or simply just to change memories which are important for the issue for which the person has come for help.
Smoking, as I’m sure you are aware, can be a very addictive habit. Smoking has, in fact, two forms of addiction. On the one hand there is the physical addiction to nicotine. This addiction, after not smoking for about a week or two, becomes less problematic. However, there is another addiction involved with smoking. That addiction is the psychological or emotional addiction one has to cigarettes.
Just think about times you smoke. Do you use cigarettes as a way to deal with stress? Perhaps it might be that you find it difficult to finish a meal without having a cigarette? These types of associations are often habitual but also psychological or emotional. This is where hypnotism for quitting smoking really can be very powerful for helping you break these patterns.
During hypnosis for smoking cessation, you might be asked to imagine seeing these times differently. You will learn how to consider those times but in fact have less desire to smoke, be that after a meal or perhaps even imagining having something else instead of a cigarette. Your hypnotherapist may ask you to imagine some unpleasant experiences with smoking or get you to imagine smoking cigarettes to feel like an exhaust pipe that you’re breathing in for example. This is perfectly safe and for a fraction of a second unpleasant, but will give you enough of a new feeling that a big shift in perspective can happen. Your memory and mind connect to help you feel less attachment to smoking. Many hypnotherapists teach smokers self hypnosis and may ask you to repeat affirmations or listen to hypnotism recordings outside of the session.
Of course hypnotherapy may not always work for everybody, though most people are indeed hypnotizable. It’s just that the intensity can vary from person to person. However, for hypnotism for quitting smoking to work, you do not need a deep level of trance, just a very light level in fact.
It is important to note that it will often be the work done before the actual hypnosis, which is most important. When I help people quit smoking, a large amount of the main work is really done before the hypnosis session. We look at the habit in depth, the triggers for smoking, the times and places and situations in which you have a craving to smoke and also talk about practical tips and helpful strategies. That will mean that when you’re in a situation you used to smoke, you’ll be armed and ready, knowing how to do really well.
It’s never too late to quit smoking. Whether you’ve been smoking for a year, five years, or even 40 years, hypnotism can still be a very powerful and effective route to help you.
Hypnotism Tips for Quitting Smoking
Here are some hypnotism quit smoking tips. If you think about it, hypnotism works by helping you reverse perspective. Why do you smoke and feel addicted to nicotine? It all happened because, when you started to smoke, you are, in a sense, hypnotised to enjoy or hypnotised think that you enjoyed smoking. You were negativity hypnotised by the cigarettes. Cigarettes or any addiction, for that matter, creates very powerful arguments, convincing you that you need it for your life, that you can’t do without it. How will you cope in a stressful situation without cigarettes? What will you do when you are bored? If you’re in a social situation, how will you be able to interact and mingle with other people without that crutch of a cigarette? These are all arguments that the cigarettes themselves come up with.
- So my first tip is to notice what are those arguments that the cigarettes make in order to convince you that you need them? Sometimes these arguments can be very subtle. They might not even seem that the thought or argument is even related directly to the cigarettes at all. These arguments can feel very, very powerful and that’s because nicotine utilises the most powerful resource that they can have to create them. Nicotine uses your own mind, using your biggest fears and concerns to convince you that you need to smoke.
- Think of alternatives that you can use in those situations you used to smoke. For example, if you used to smoke to reduce stress, think about alternative ways that you can relax and feel calm. Maybe consider mindfulness or meditation. Look at exercise, take a walk, find a hobby, enjoy a hot bath, drink herbal tea, and find ways to reduce stress on a regular basis. Also look at things like caffeine or alcohol consumption. Look at how you can increase calm and well being in all areas of your life.
- Find support. You may find it helpful to look at online forums that help people quit smoking. You may decide that you in fact need a hypnotherapist to help you, providing hypnotism to quit smoking, quitting for good. Of course sometimes it can feel very daunting or difficult to do this on your own. It’s true that you have all you need to succeed. Hypnotism will be a really good way to give you that final positive push to overcome the last barriers.
If you’d like to learn more about hypnotherapy and how hypnotism for quitting smoking works, get in touch today.