Stop Smoking

Hypnosis can be a powerful tool to stop smoking if it is administered by a well qualified licensed psychologist.

Hypnotherapy is a term referring to the therapeutic application of hypnosis. Here is some information about my recommendations and about what I do to use hypnosis for smoking cessation. 

Be sure that you see a licensed psychologist for any form of hypnosis or hypnotherapy to stop smoking. Do not see someone who does an immediate standard stop smoking procedure the first visit without conducting a clinical interview. The approach that I use is to start with an interview focused upon identifying the most important personal reasons that my patient wants to stop smoking. Pertinent motivational and psychological factors vary greatly from one person to another, depending upon individual personality, life situation, and the presence of specific health risks. I also identify and evaluate the difficulties that you encounter when you try to stop smoking in order to give you the help that you need. Because hypnosis works through reinforcement of individual motivation, the hypnotherapy must be designed to fit your personal motivation, needs and personality. I always explain to my patient exactly what we will be doing and how hypnosis works.

The hypnosis is done during the second office visit, and I make a recording of the procedure at the same time. 

Making a recording of the hypnotic procedure is important because the effects of hypnosis are greatly reinforced by repetition. I will give you instructions about how to use the recording at home for reinforcement. Most of my patients are able to stop smoking with just two office visits and the use of  the recording of the hypnotherapeutic procedure at home. If you are a local resident and want to use hypnosis to help you stop smoking, please call my office and I would be happy to help you. If you do not live in the area I would suggest that you find a well qualified licensed psychologist who uses hypnosis in an approach similar to the one which I have described above.

Additional Information about Hypnosis to Stop Smoking

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. 

The first reason is that we fail to recognize the highly addictive quality of nicotine. Second, because smoking has not been an illegal activity practiced only in special, private circumstances, it is a habit that becomes enmeshed in the fabric of our daily lives and activities. Finally, until recent years smoking has been an activity which was reinforced asa socially approved or sophisticated habit. Even now it is socially reinforced in certain groups, such as teenagers, who may still see it as a sight of “being grown up. “Some people are successful in  stopping smoking on their own. Often this is not the case. John Wayne is reputed to have said that smoking is an easy habit to break as evidenced by the fact that he has stopped smoking “thousands of times.” 

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.

How can you decide who is the right professional person to help you with this kind of problem? 

You can get 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.