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How can hypnosis help you to give up smoking?

In this interview the hypnotherapist Lee Walker speaks to Hannah Nepilova about the ways in which hypnosis can help patients to give up smoking.

Here are three of Walker's strategies.

  1. Pattern-matching Most clients turn up to my sessions thinking they're addicted to cigarettes. I tell them that there is a chemical element to addiction but that it usually lasts only 48 hours. In fact, what they are suffering from is a behavioural habit; a type of pattern-matching. For example, a lot of clients say they like to have a cigarette with a cup of coffee in the morning. So I say :"I'm 99% sure you have never created an associated between smoking and swimming or smoking and flying." I then go on to ask them to imagine what it would be like to have a coffee while doing something entirely different from smoking - reading the paper, say. So what we're doing through that process is creating a new pattern-match, laying down a new construct in their mind.

  2. Visualising the future I'm not in the business of telling people what their preferred future is but I like to help people to imagine what life would be like if they were a non-smoker, and then to work backwards. Once you know the destination, you can then work backwards and work out how to get there.

  3. Harnessing people's past experiences I remind clients that there was a point in their life when they probably believed in Father Christmas. Then one day something happened and they stopped believing in Father Christmas. Just like that. It took no effort. Then I say to clients: 'as easily as you stopped believing in Father Christmas, you can stop smoking.'

  4. Shifting the focus away from problems The vast majority of people tend to focus on problems. In the case of attempting to give up smoking, that could be any number of things, such as the sense of craving. In those situations I tend to say to clients: 'What else are you noticing about the experience of giving up smoking that isn't that?' People quickly get it and as soon as they do, you start to notice a shift.

To watch the full interview, see below.

To find out more about Lee Walker's work, click here.

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