When I started my hypnosis practice it was kind of a joke to me. The two issues hypnosis is best known for are weight loss and smoking cessation. And those were two areas I had absolutely no interest working with.
Then I had my first quit-smoking client.
Wham! They quit, and both of us could see right away the drastic change and improvement in their life. They were happier, healthier, more positive, less stressed and less anxious. They were thrilled. Their spouse was thrilled. They smelled better, looked better, felt better. They walked away from our sessions a non-smoker for life, and they knew they would never go back.
And I was hooked.
Smokers have two things going for them that few of us have: clear, compelling desire to quit smoking, and the support of our culture, their families, and their bodies.
Smokers want to quit, and you can see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, see it in their fidgety limbs and distracted looks around the room. They want it so bad, but they also know that something else is going on inside them that has so far gotten in the way. They come into my office already under a kind of hypnosis - they've been hypnotized by the tobacco industry to think (or feel) that smoking is good... even though with their conscious mind they KNOW it is bad. And they're tired of it. Smokers come to me wanting a change. Ready for a change. Once they've stepped into my office, they've already started to quit. Before they leave, they are non-smokers, and they'll be non-smokers for the rest of their lives.
I love working with people who want to quit smoking, because they really want to change, and because the change is so plain to see. When they stop smoking, that's obvious! When they start calming down, I can see the difference. As they feel better about themselves, about their ability to handle stress and control their own thoughts and actions, everyone notices. When someone becomes a non-smoker, they see the difference. And even for someone who sees profound personal transformation every day, that is thrilling and satisfying on a deep level. The change is obvious.
I have found smokers to be particularly motivated to change. And the number one factor that makes a difference in hypnosis is the desire to change. Smokers see when they've "fallen off the wagon" immediately, and bring that self-awareness to the hypnosis session. We can follow that back and neutralize whatever the source of those emotions and habits is. When we hit it, the desire to smoke simply evaporates. If they smoke a few cigarettes between sessions, we know we got close and we follow it back again - freeing them from whatever was binding them to that habit. And every time we knock out another block, they are that much more a non-smoker. And more...
Because smokers often know, on some level, that smoking isn't their problem. Smoking is a symptom. Smoking is the effect, not the cause. So once we neutralize the cause, the effect is easy to fix. And it is.
I love working with smokers because their success is so marked, so positive, so measurable, and so remarkable. Not just the fact that they aren't smoking - but that they are non-smokers, and they smile easier, feel more confident, at more at peace with themselves and their world. Really - I see it every day.
I don't mean that non-smokers experience no stress, or that bad things don't happen anymore. I just notice that when people are able to let go of whatever it is that drives them to smoke, their outlook on the world and themselves and their relationships radically changes. And I love that.
Every smoking cessation client I get reminds me all over again why I love smoking cessation clients. They get it. And they get change.