Back in the late eighties, I had a small office on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco and practiced hypnotherapy almost exclusively. At the time helping people quit smoking with hypnosis was not my favorite thing to do. Perhaps too many people showed up thinking I could “make them” quit. I let go of the work, and focused mostly on yoga and bodywork.
A few years ago, almost by accident working with smokers appeared for another round. A hairdresser named Jules came to me as a referral. She was a heavy smoker and after our session quit cold turkey. She sent me a slew of clients, who started to refer more clients. All except one quit permanently. I didn’t advertise the work at all, not even on my web site. My clients started referring friends, and their success rate stayed steady at about 90%.
The main difference between my earlier approach is that I use yogic breathing practices and bodywork in conjunction with hypnosis. This way it’s not “all in the head”, but also acknowledged and felt in the body Typically my clients quit in two to three closely spaced sessions. Initially we get a sense of what their issues and reasons to let go of cigarettes are. The client does a lot of homework and awareness practices building the motivation for truly wanting to quit once and for all. In the last session we use the hypnotic process extensively and by the end of this session the client hands me their cigarettes and they are done.
Six months later they receive a complimentary bodywork session as a reward, provided they are indeed free from cigarettes. This gives us a chance to re-connect and keep me current on their progress. Some clients require a few reinforcement sessions to stay motivated and stay on their newly chosen path. Overall the success rate of this process is well over 80%.