Can Hypnotherapy Really Help You Quit Smoking?

Hand holding a flower instead of a cigaretteRoughly seven out of 10 Americans who smoke say they would like to quit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Are you one of them? Are you concerned about your health or the health of those around you who are inhaling your secondhand smoke?

Smoking is known to be a principal cause of cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems, including bone fractures and cataracts. The CDC estimates that tobacco use causes nearly six million deaths per year worldwide, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than eight million deaths annually by 2030. If you’re one of the nearly 70% of smokers who would like to quit smoking and you’ve seemingly tried everything, maybe it’s time to consider hypnotherapy—a safe and effective way to kick that unwanted habit without the unnecessary cravings and weight gain.

Is Hypnosis Just a Stage Act?

When you think of hypnosis, your first inclination might be to think of stage performers who seemingly seize control of the minds of skeptical participants, convincing them that they see things that aren’t there and making them act like fools. But consider the facts.

Although hypnosis is understood by many to be an altered state of awareness in which the person appears and may feel as if he or she is in a trance state or asleep, a hypnotized person is, in fact, fully in control and conscious throughout the session. While in a hypnotic state, you are fully aware of your surroundings and you can never be coerced into doing anything you don’t want to do. So the next time you see a stage hypnotist, keep in mind that the person quacking like a duck wanted to quack like a duck.

Unlike stage hypnosis, which is used for entertainment, clinical hypnosis—referred to as hypnotherapy—is a reputable method often used to help people dealing with physical and/or psychological challenges. Some common examples of issues that respond well to hypnosis are pain management, insomnia, weight management, depression, and cessation of addictions—including smoking.

Unlike stage hypnosis, which is used for entertainment, clinical hypnosis—referred to as hypnotherapy—is a reputable method often used to help people dealing with physical and/or psychological challenges. 

Rewriting the Appetite of the Mind

When working toward smoking cessation, I talk with the person to find out his or her triggers for reaching for a smoke and why the person wants to quit. While the person is in a hypnotic state, I ask him or her to imagine unpleasant outcomes from smoking. For example: Every time you inhale the smoke from a cigarette, nearly 4,000 chemicals, including more than 60 carcinogens, are ingested into your body.

The average male loses about 11 minutes of life expectancy each time he smokes a cigarette. A pack of 25 cigarettes means about 275 minutes of life is lost; put another way, that’s over four and a half hours. Imagine smoking a pack a day for a year: that’s roughly 70 days gone forever.

I also help the person to reduce smoking triggers—by, for example, taking a deep breath when stressed, drinking crisp, clear water, and/or taking a walk when the urge to smoke hits. Working together, we rewrite the appetite of the mind to no longer want cigarettes. And we replace images of the negative aspects of smoking with positive images of not smoking. Imagine cleaner clothes, fresh-smelling breath, and compliments from friends and family on your fortitude. Imagine the joy of really tasting your food again and your children being proud of you.

So if you’re like many who would like to quit smoking, consider contacting a hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapy just might be the smoking cessation tool you’ve been waiting for.

References:

  1. Richter, P., Pechacek, T., Swahn, M., & Wagman, V. (2008). Reducing Levels of Toxic Chemicals in Cigarette Smoke: A New Healthy People 2010 Objective. Public Health Reports, 123(1), 30-38.
  2. Shaw, M., Mitchell, R., & Dorling, D. (2000, January 1). Time for a smoke? One cigarette reduces your life by 11 minutes. BMJ : British Medical Journal, 320(7226), 53.
  3. Smoking & Tobacco Use: Fast Facts. (2015, April 15). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm
  4. Smoking & Tobacco Use: Quitting Smoking. (2015, May 21). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/cessation/quitting/index.htm

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Ann Marie Sochia, MS, LPCA, CHT, NLP, therapist in Cary, North Carolina

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 14 comments
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  • Daisy

    Daisy

    July 17th, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    Smoking has been a very hard habit for me to break free from so honestly i am willing to try almost anything that will help me quit and stay quit for good.

  • Christopher

    Christopher

    July 17th, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    How do I find someone who is definitely trained to do this instead of just sort of knowing what they are doing? Are there certifications that I should look for?

  • margaret

    margaret

    July 18th, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    I find that if you are open minded enough then there is something out there for just about anyone who is wanting to break that habit. It could be hypnotherapy or it could be something else, but once you are truly dedicated to ending that bad habit, then something is out there that can help you. Because in the end it is all about how dedicated you are and how mucyh you are willing to do on your part to obtain that goal.

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    July 20th, 2015 at 8:53 AM

    Daisy, I understand how hard it is to quit smoking. I suggest you contact the NGH.net (National Guild of Hypnotists) and find a Hypnotist/Hypnotherapist in your area. Success can really be yours. Ann Marie Sochia MS, LPCA, CHT, NLP

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    July 20th, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    Christopher,
    I suggest you contact the (National Guild of Hypnotists) and find a Hypnotist/Hypnotherapist in your area. Success can really be yours. As far as credentials. I would suggest someone that has Certification with a national Hypnosis organization and a lot of experience and success with Smoking Cessation. Ann Marie Sochia MS, LPCA, CHT, NLP

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    July 20th, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    Mararet,

    I couldn’t agree more. Well said! Participation from the client is so important and a willingness/desire for change. (National Guild of Hypnotists) and find a Hypnotist/Hypnotherapist in your area. Success can really be yours. Ann Marie Sochia MS, LPCA, CHT, NLP

  • Daniel C

    Daniel C

    July 20th, 2015 at 10:33 AM

    There are many things that insurance companies will not cover and even though they encourage smoking cessation, most of them are not willing to pay for what would somewhat be considered an alternative therapy.

  • Dayna

    Dayna

    July 21st, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    I am a binge eater so I wonder if this is something that I could look into that could help me with my problems that I have with food.
    Sorry that that is a little off topic but I saw it and something just kind of clicked with me when I read about this.

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    July 21st, 2015 at 6:53 PM

    Daniel,
    That is true some insurance will not pay for it. I have helped many clients that worked for companies that paid for it. I also personally offer a sliding scale for fees if a client needs it.
    Ann Marie Sochia MS, LPCA, CHT, NLP

  • Ann Marie Sochia

    Ann Marie Sochia

    July 21st, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    Dayna,

    I suggest you talk to a trained Therapist that specializes in eating disorders and Hypnotherapy. For some people it help. Everyone is different.

    Ann Marie Sochia MS, LPCA, CHT, NLP

  • Daniel

    Daniel

    July 22nd, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    Thanks so much for mentioning those things, because I just have a really difficult time knowing that there are things out there that really can work for people and yet they do not have access to it because their healthcare and what they may be eligible for is totally dictated by the corporate world.

  • Lacey

    Lacey

    July 24th, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    Great article, clearing up any confusion or myths people may have heard about hypnotherapy.

  • hunter

    hunter

    July 24th, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    it’s reducing that connection that certain triggers may have for you, those cues that cause you to eat or spend or smoke, and help you relearn so that those triggers are not such negative things for you anymore.

  • Daisy

    Daisy

    July 25th, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    Thanks Ann Marie. I want this for myself and my family wants it for me too because I have had several family members who have gotten both oral and lung cancer, but you know how strong of a hold that addiction has on you. I have been doing this since I was 13 and I am 57 now so that’s a long time and a tough pattern to break.

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