The Truth About Hypnotherapy and Smoking Cessation

When explaining that I’m a Clinical Hypnotherapist to people, the one (serious) question that I’m asked more than any other is, “Can you make me stop smoking?” Of course, the first is, “Can you make me cluck like a chicken?” Chicken sounds aside, smoking cessation (or quitting smoking) seems to be viewed as one of the top functions for any hypnotherapist and, in my experience, it is also pushed as being the number one ‘bread and butter’ services that any credible hypnotherapist can offer.

And why shouldn’t it be? When you consider the many reasons why people would want to quit, ranging from cancer through to how costly the habit is through to the effects on their physical fitness, smoking is a habit that is increasingly looking more and more outdated and old-fashioned.

But does it actually work? And if it does, why does it work? At the risk of sharing some of the secrets of my profession, I thought it was time to take a look at the facts and the techniques behind hypnotherapy and smoking cessation.

While empirical research has been limited to the area, there are strings of testimonials on almost every Melbourne hypnotherapists websites proclaiming how well hypnosis has worked to help people quit smoking.

What hypnotherapy isn’t

In order to do this, we really need to start with looking more at what hypnotherapy isn’t than what it actually is. This is largely because there are so much myth and inaccuracy around hypnotherapy and hypnosis that it can be easy to get caught up in a romanticized version that is far from the truth.

To begin with, hypnosis is not mind control, regardless of what ‘world class’ hypnotists on Channel 9 television shows will have you believe. You can’t make anyone do anything under hypnosis that they wouldn’t do of their own free will.

Further to this point, hypnosis is not a magic bullet. If you genuinely do not want to quit smoking, then hypnosis will not be successful for you in achieving this. However, if you truly believe now is the time to stop smoking and you have a real desire to become a non-smoker, then hypnotherapy has proven to be successful in assisting people to reach this goal. Fact is, if you’re turning up to a session to become a non-smoker, then there is a part of you that really wants to see that happen so working with your hypnotherapist is going to help make that a reality.

What hypnosis is

Let me begin by saying that hypnosis in itself doesn’t change anything. The change occurs in the therapy that is done under hypnosis. Hypnosis can be best viewed as a state in which the mind can become focused and absorbed on an idea, become more open to suggestion and to allow for greater change to be made.

The process allows the mind to go down through the same brainwave cycle that you may experience during sleep. Unlike sleep though, it isn’t uncommon for the subject to remember everything that the hypnotherapist has said to them. Unfortunately, Hollywood inspired versions of hypnotists waving golden fob watches (which is a real technique as allows the eyes to move in a similar fashion to REM state) and directly suggesting to people what will happen while they stare in a zombie-like manner have caused some confusion about what people should expect when they go to see a hypnotherapist.

What should you expect? You should expect that the hypnotherapist will want to know a bit of detail around your lifestyle and your smoking habits. They may have even given you some tasks to do prior to coming in and seeing them, and may wish to take a moment to review the information you’ve provided.

You should expect there to be a counseling period where they’ll want to explore deeper as it isn’t uncommon to discover that smoking is a coping mechanism and that it would be unwise to remove it without having something else in place.

You’ll then be asked if you’re comfortable to experience hypnosis and you’ll be able to recline while the hypnotherapist assists you into the hypnotic state. You’ll be required to focus on what they’re saying and use your imagination as much as you can to become focused on those ideas. For many people, upon coming back to full awareness, they’ll often say that they experienced a feeling of ‘floating and drifting’ and that their mind is ‘incredibly quiet’ and that they feel ‘remarkably refreshed’. Some people may remember everything said while others may only remember bits and pieces. At that stage, the hypnotherapist may choose to test you to see if you feel like a cigarette or if you’re ready to throw that packet of cigarettes away now.

Does hypnotherapy work to stop smoking?

This is obviously the big question and let me say that obviously results are going to vary from person to person. If there was a one solution for all that worked, every other solution on the market would simply disappear, yes? And that is because we all smoke for different reasons.

For some people, it has simply become a habit that they grow out of.

For other people, they’ve come to view smoking as some sort of reliable friend until they explore with the hypnotherapist what kind of dysfunctional relationship that actually is and it helps them to let it go.

For those that have it as a coping mechanism, the hypnotherapy can be useful in going to the root cause of the issue and helping to resolve that, while creating new, healthier behaviours that can assist them in letting go.

Ultimately, hypnotherapy can prove to be one of the most flexible and versatile solutions to people who wish to become non-smokers as it is able to address all of the potential reasons listed above and more.

Research has shown that smoking cessation with clinical hypnotherapy has a success rate of 90.6%*. For many people who are serious about conquering this habit, then finding a reputable Clinical Hypnotherapist with a proven program can offer them the ability to fully shake that ‘smoker’ identity and step forward into a new life free from this habit.

Can hypnotherapy work to help me stop smoking?

Release Hypnosis has put together it’s own smoking cessation program based on research into several leading smoking cessation programs.

No one can promise you that you will definitely stop smoking. Research has shown that hypnotherapy is quite successful in assisting people who are ready to stop smoking and to become a non-smoker.

For more information and to come in for a FREE Half Hour Consultation, contact Lawrence at Release Hypnosis.

Book Your FREE Half Hour Consultation With Release Hypnosis NOW!


*Research findings from University of Washington School of Medicine, Depts. of Anaesthesiology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2001 Jul;49(3):257-66. Barber J and

You might also like to read:
How I Lost My Weight… And Kept It Off
Book Review: The Happiness Trap
What Therapy Is (And Isn’t)
21 Habits of Happy People

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Lawrence Akers

About Lawrence Akers

My approach is simple; I work with clients to determine what they want to get rid of, what they want instead and what that gap in their resources are that is preventing them from doing it. My focus is not just on motivation but on the capability to do it as well.

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