by Chris Holmes
As more smokers become aware that Champix (or Chantix in the U.S.) is not so much a ‘Wonder Drug’ as a ‘Wonder If I’ll Just Get The Nausea, Or If I’ll Have A Complete Personality Change, Murder My Family And Then String Myself Up In The Garage’ sort of a drug, some of them are bound to also wonder if there are ways of quitting smoking that don’t involve gambling with your life.
There certainly are. Not only that, they have proven to work better than any of the medications in the long run anyway (i.e. at the twelve month follow-up stage, by which time over 80% of Champix users are smoking again.)
Hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method (which functions as a form of hypnotherapy anyway) and acupuncture all have proven hit-rates that beat the meds. I have no connection with the last two, as I am a professional hypnotherapist specialising in smoking, alcohol, gambling and drug habits for over a decade… but I recommend them anyway because they have a proven track-record and they are SAFE. In a moment I will provide some handy tips for anyone considering hypnotherapy.
Acupuncture: The key with this method seems to be to find an experienced practitioner who has worked with the smoking issue a lot. I don’t pretend to know HOW it works, but it definitely works for some – and as it cannot damage you or make you go crazy it is well worth a shot if you haven’t tried it. Surely it makes no sense to try any method that involves risk unless you have already tried all the ones that do not.
Allen Carr: He is no longer with us but his books are. So are the group-therapy franchises that grew out of his own private sessions as a ‘therapist’. In truth Carr set himself up as a smoking cessation therapist with no formal training of any kind, and one of his successes claimed that “he BORED me into quitting!” This maybe reflects Carr’s tenacity and unshakeable belief in his own method, plus his tendency to go on a bit! The group therapy sessions are four to five hours in length, ending with about 15 minutes of “hypnotherapy” from practitioners who are not really hypnotherapists. The cost was around £250 last time I looked, which was a few years ago. My advice is to read Carr’s original book first, the one that made him famous. He self-published it originally, then it went on to sell millions of copies. It’s about six quid, and it’s called “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking.”
1) If you have a bad attitude, you’re angry with the world or suspicious by nature and think everyone is out to cheat you, DO NOT ring a hypnotherapist. You will not respond positively and then you’ll convince yourself it’s THEIR fault! You COULD start by having therapy to fix your emotional issues, and then succeed normally with the smoking. That would work, and it would also make you happier. But it wouldn’t work the other way around.
2) For everyone else, hypnotherapy is the ideal way to ditch the habit effortlessly and with no weight-gain.
3) If the therapist is quoting fees that go over £200, find a different therapist UNLESS: you are rich and famous and/or the practice is located in Harley Street or whatever the equivalent of that is in your country. (Where all the private doctors who “specialise in diseases of the rich”, as Tom Lehrer put it, have their offices.)
4) Some hypnotherapists will usually aim to do smoking cessation in one session, as I do. Some don’t, and that’s okay as long as the overall cost of stopping smoking stays within that £100-£200 range. Do not assume that if you pay top dollar you get the best therapist. You just get the best-dressed therapist, with a Rolex. Their overall success-rate won’t be any different to anyone else’s.
5) Your therapist should explain to you, in advance, that hypnotherapy is nothing like the experience you expect it to be. Most clients are expecting to be asleep, or “away with the fairies” or something. In fact, you feel perfectly normal. You don’t “feel hypnotised” at all. This is important to know in advance, otherwise the client may assume “it’s not working” which can affect their MOOD and therefore the outcome.
6) The ideal mood for hypnotherapy success is LOOKING FORWARD to that success. A mood of positive, eager anticipation. So if anything is bothering, worrying or troubling you during the session – anything at all – TELL THE THERAPIST IMMEDIATELY. Interrupt the proceedings, ask, raise any questions you like. Then they can deal with it, it won’t be a problem.
7) The more positive you are, the better the result will be.
8) The more comfortable you are with the therapist, the better the result will be.
9) The more you are looking forward to being rid of tobacco, the quicker you will be.
10) It does seem like nothing is happening during a hypnotherapy session. Don’t let that bother you – all hypnotherapy sessions are like that. You only notice the results afterwards. ALSO: It does sound as if the hypnotherapist is simply telling you things you know already. That is because your conscious mind DOES know those things already. Hypnotherapy is an update for the Subconscious mind – which controls all habitual behaviour – to bring it up to speed with what the conscious mind has already learned. So I tell all my clients:
“The trance part of the session does seem a bit boring! And we use quite a bit of repetition when we talk to the Subconscious, so not only does it sound like I’m telling you things you know already, but several times over! But it gets the job done, and that’s all that really matters.”
It also helps to know: how much clients relax varies enormously and doesn’t matter at all, and that the only thing that really matters is how you feel about what is being said to you about tobacco. If you are in broad agreement with it, that’s acceptance and success should be immediate.
Finally: don’t ‘test’ the results by trying a cigarette. Hypnotherapy shuts the habit and the cravings down. Testing it by smoking simply starts them up again. Further hypnotherapy will shut them down again, but it is cheaper to let sleeping dogs lie.