I had an interesting session today. My client was an Indian IT guy, recently arrived in this country. He came from a traditional Indian family. There is a lot of pressure to conform. They don't like him smoking.
He wants to stop smoking but can't. He stopped for two years but then started again due to stress in his marriage. Says he smokes because it is always the easy way out of stress. He feels that he's got some sort of mental block. He doesn't want to smoke but keeps doing it. The block was mentioned several times in his description of the problem.
Targeting the block
Because he mentioned the block so often I decided to use that as my starting point. I asked him to think about going to work, walking up the steps, with his cup of coffee. Not wanting to smoke but feeling that block that stops him stopping. I developed the idea and he then began to talk about the block.
He said it was shapeless and limitless. I got him to describe what it looked like and eventually he said it just looks like smoke. I got him to talk about how he felt about that smoke. He said he felt that it was like smoke under a glass jar. It kept changing. I asked him what he wanted to have happen to the smoke. He said he wanted to disappear. I asked "And if that disappears what would that mean for you?". "I would be able to see through it." "And what could you do then?". "I could manage it, I could get away from that black smoke, and manage to stop."
This confirmed the link between "disappearing" and "manage to stop".
Clearing the smoking block
I then said "and what would have to happen for that smoke to disappear". He hesitated for a long time. I said to him "look around you and see what else is there in that place." To my surprise he said "there is a painting."
I developed the painting. He said "it has flowers. It is beautiful." I suggested to him "this is the source of power for you." "You can use this to get rid of that smoke." I used that resource until he agreed that the smoke had disappeared.
When the smoke had disappeared, I deepened him to a deeper level of trance. To be sure, I did an eye catalepsy test. He could not open his eyes. Then I did the DRAIN metaphor therapy. This had him clear the block so that it drained out the soles of his shoes.
I then used the TALK TO THE PARTS method. I got him to talk to his lungs and listen to what they said. I got him to talk to his heart and listen to what that said. Then I suggested that he listen to all the other parts of him that are being affected by smoking. He said there were all complaining about his smoking. I got him to apologize to those parts for having betrayed them by smoking. Then I got him then to ask for their forgiveness. He negotiated all this internally.
Then I used direct suggestion and him that he would never smoke again. I told him that he owed it to his organs to live for a long time. It was his job to keep himself healthy. He owed it to those parts to live for a long time.
Reinforcing the message
I tried for a hand ideomotor signal. I am not sure that I got one. But I suggested that this was his unconscious mind signaling to him. Then I told him to thank his unconscious mind for having made this change and making him a non-smoker. I suggested that he might get a message back of some sort. I am not sure what he got. His fingers did not move as I expected.
I then counted out and back to the present. He was clearly still partly in trance. I explained what had happened in terms that he would understand using a metaphor about operating systems. He could barely remember what had happened, except when I prompted him.
I was interested to see if his cultural background would have suggested something unusual in terms of his unconscious mind communicating something to him. Apparently not.
He is highly regarded in the hypnotherapy community. He is Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (NZAPH).
He is regularly consulted for advice by other hypnotherapists around the world. He is known for the quality of his published scripts. He presents at international conferences and has published on hypnosis and advanced hypnotherapy.
He lives in Wellington New Zealand with his wife Trish and a cat called Parsnip.