Patients in my practice who have been
addicted to drugs often report to me their surprise that it was easier
for them to overcome their drug addiction than their smoking habit. There are
two reasons for this.
With the increasing evidence of the health risks associated with smoking and with the increasing inconvenience of the habit due to social disapproval
There has been much interest recently in various new forms of professional help to stop smoking. The use of gum or skin patches containing nicotine has been one medical approach. When the patient stops smoking, it provides the replacement of nicotine into the body. The theory behind this approach is to gradually reduce the amount of nicotine replaced until none is provided. Some people succeed using this approach, but it can result in dangerously high levels of nicotine in the body if the patient "cheats" by continuing to "sneak a cigarette."
Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy is another form of professional intervention.
(To define these terms briefly, hypnosis refers to a procedure to achieve the hypnotic mental state, hypnotherapy refers to the therapeutic application of this mental state. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not an abnormal mental state. It is actually a mental state that we all experience briefly from time to time in our everyday life. The procedure of hypnotherapy allows us to elicit that mental state at a particular time and for a specific psychotherapeutic purpose.) The theory behind this approach is to provide a reinforcement of the patient's motivation and determination to succeed and to provide psychological help in reducing physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, nervousness or obsessive thoughts about smoking.
There are many stop smoking, or smoking cessation hypnosis recordings on the market and there are frequent advertisements for one session group hypnosis to stop smoking. The group sessions are usually put on by a "hypnotist" who travels from city to city, placing large newspaper advertisements about the session which is usually conducted in a large conference room in a hotel. The problem with this approach is two fold. First, the "hypnotist" usually has no training in psychology and he usually fails to recognize the importance of individual differences in motivation and personality in determining the proper hypnotic procedure and instructions for any one person.
If you are very lucky, you may find a group hypnosis procedure which, by chance fits exactly for your own personality and motivation. In general, the greatest value of these group procedures is that they make a lot of money for the hypnotist because he is seeing dozens or even hundreds of people at a time.
If you are interested in hypnosis for smoking cessation, I would recommend...
that you see a licensed psychologist who starts with an interview before attempting hypnosis. The approach that I find the most useful is to start with an interview focused upon the goal of identifying the most important reasons my patient wants to stop smoking. These motivational factors vary greatly from one person to another, depending upon their life situation, their system of beliefs and the presence of specific health risks. I also identify and evaluate the problems they encounter when they try to stop in order to determine the kind of help they will need. Because hypnosis works through reinforcement of individual motivation, the hypnotic procedure must be designed to fit the specific motivation, needs and personality of the individual patient. I also explain to my patient exactly what we will be doing and how the hypnosis works.
The hypnosis is done during the second office visit, and I make a recording of the procedure at the same time.
The recording is important because the effects of hypnosis are greatly reinforced by repetition. I give my patient instructions about using the recording at home for reinforcement. Most of my patients are successful with just two office visits and the added reinforcement from using the recording at home. If you want to use hypnosis to help you stop smoking I would suggest that you find a well qualified licensed psychologist who uses an approach similar to the one which I have described above.
How can you decide who is the right professional person to help you with this kind of problem?
information about me at Marvin S. Beitner, Ph.D.
You may get information about how to evaluate the credentials of any
psychologist at Check
Qualifications. For information about finding a
well qualified hypnotist, click on selecting a hypnotist.
For information about Dr. Beitner's private practice, background, training and
experience, click on : Marvin S.
Beitner, Ph.D. You may see comments by
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Beitner's Blog Locations: If you live in Long Beach,
Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Cerritos, Cypress, Signal Hill, Rolling Hills or
Palos Verdes, you are within a 20 minute drive of my Los Angeles County
Office at 5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy,
Long Beach, California (562) 498-0777. If you live in Huntington Beach,
Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Anaheim, Villa Park, Garden Grove, Santa Ana,
Westminster, Costa Mesa or Fountain Valley you are within a 20 minute drive of
my Orange County office at 11770 Warner Ave, Fountain Valley,
California, (714) 966-6634 or (949) 644-4641.
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