Vol. 49, April 2007
Recently I have been receiving phone calls for smoking cessation where the smoking cessation is the presenting problem, but is not the real problem. What do I mean by that? It is true that people smoke because they feel that it relaxes them, but it does not relax them because nicotine is a stimulant. What smoking really does is help to cover up other issues that the client is not dealing with in many cases.
I had a gentleman call today for smoking cessation. He explained that he really wants to stop smoking because he lost his father to lung cancer at a very young age and doesn’t want to die so young. Upon further conversation it became clear that he has an addictive personality for he also is a recovering alcoholic and tends to act out compulsively in other ways.
As we talked some more he revealed the fact that at the age of seven he was molested and that this had caused some fairly significant issues for him to deal with as an adult. In this particular situation bringing him in to do smoking cessation alone would not be a productive way to treat his situation. He also suggested that he had stopped smoking for a period of years three times before. With this history there are a few different levels of work that would need to be done to fully address this smoker’s problem.
First it would be necessary to clear the negative emotions and the traumas that were experienced which would include dealing with all the times he had started smoking after quitting for a significant period of time. Next we would have to add the work on to deal with the addictive behaviors and finish with the smoking cessation session. In this way he would have a very good chance of kicking the smoking habit for good for we would have gotten to the cause of the problems in the first place. It is almost as if we were starting with a clean slate with nothing from the past needing to interfere with his success.
I know that when people call hypnotists for smoking cessation they are told that there is a certain proto call that is used. I would suggest that you find out from the hypnotist that you are considering if they are willing to do the work to find out what is really stopping you from being able to stop on your own instead of just doing a standard smoking cessation session. The only exception to this rule is if you have always smoked from the day you have started without and substantial time when you were able to stop on your own or with the aid of some sort of smoking cessation program. A substantial amount of time would be in my opinion 6 months or more.
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