Hypnosis to Quit Smoking:

To find out more about hypnosis generally, take a look at the Hypnotherapy page.

Why Is Hypnosis Used to Quit Smoking?

A good hypnosis program aims to reinforce your own motivation to quit smoking. It anticipates mental blocks and wavering that may occur until the new habit of being smoke-free is established.
Hypnosis works best when there is mutual cooperation between the person and the therapist. Willingness to follow the therapist’s benign instructions to relax physically and mentally leads to a more positive and effective session. Motivation to change is one of the key ingredients to a successful therapeutic outcome.  
A typical course of hypnosis treatment for quitting smoking includes a fact-finding consultation, one or more hypnosis sessions, and some kind of follow-up and support, for example the weekly “Quit Smoking” support group at The MindSpa.

How Does Hypnotherapy Help Someone Quit Smoking?

When a person sees a hypnotherapist for smoking or nicotine addiction, they have often already tried to quit multiple times with other methods. Although nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, counselling and other options can be effective in a person’s effort to quit, hypnosis has also been found to be helpful to some people. In one study, as many as 48% of the participants reported continued abstinence from smoking after one year.

Hypnosis treatment also aims at addressing the subconscious motivations for smoking. These are often solutions for boredom, stress, loneliness, or the desire to fit in.  While in the trance state the therapist repeats suggestions that offer alternative behaviours to smoking when those needs or situations come up.

What to Expect - a Three Stage Process

In the consultation session, I will ask you about your nicotine habits, for example, How often do you smoke? When, where, and why do you smoke? Have you tried to quit before? Why do you want to quit now? The answers to these questions will help to clarify your goals and help me to personalise your therapeutic plan.

Then comes the actual hypnosis session. One of the main techniques employed in hypnosis is creative visualisation. Using this method, you will enter into a state of relaxation then imagine yourself engaging in all your daily activities without smoking, and focusing on all the positive feelings you will experience as a non-smoker. When those future situations actually come about, you will unconsciously recall the previous visualizations and feelings and choose to abstain from cigarettes.
The number of sessions required will vary, and depends on the individual.  A few people will need several sessions, while most will find that one, or sometimes two, sessions are sufficient. In either case, the session begins with an induction into a hypnotic trance followed by creative visualisation and repeated positive suggestions that describe a future where you are no longer dependent on nicotine.

Most therapists offer some kind of follow-up support. At The MindSpa this can be in the form of hypnosis recordings that can be listened to on demand after the initial in-person session, and there is also a weekly support group for former smokers. 

Pros and Cons of Hypnotherapy for Quitting Smoking

As with any therapeutic treatment there are pros and cons to weigh before any decision is made. Some things to consider when looking at hypnotherapy for quitting smoking include safety, efficacy, cost, length of treatment, quality of services, and whether or not it will work for a specific individual’s personality or physiology.

Reasons to use hypnosis to quit smoking include:

It’s safe: The common fears that hypnosis is somehow dangerous are myths.The person in trance is always aware of their experience and is not in any danger of doing something against their will.
 It’s all-natural: Hypnotherapy for quitting smoking does not rely on patches, tablets, gums or other pharmaceuticals to treat addiction to nicotine. Therefore, there are no adverse side effects such as coughing, nausea, increased heart rate, or sleeplessness.
It’s cost-effective: Compared to other treatments such as counseling and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), hypnosis is relatively inexpensive. A single session at The MindSpa costs €45.
It’s quick: Because hypnotherapy is a solution-based treatment, the course of therapy is usually short. Many people successfully quit smoking after one or two treatments.

Reasons you might decide not to uses hypnosis to quit smoking include:

It may not work for everyone: Although some hypnotists would disagree, some people find that they just can’t be hypnotised. This could be because of a lack of rapport between the person and the therapist, or for other reasons. Whatever the case, a professional hypnotherapist will do a hypnosis test session to determine if the treatment is a good fit.
Quality of service varies: Not all hypnotherapists are created equal. Some may have more or less experience with helping people to quit smoking. Some may not offer additional support materials such as audio recordings that can be helpful in reinforcing positive suggestions.
Shortage of evidence: Some academics claim that there is not enough evidence and data to prove with certainty that hypnosis helps people quit smoking. Therefore, this might not be the best course if you feel more comfortable with pharmaceutical-based treatments backed by strong scientific data.