Permission to stop smoking

Permission to stop smoking from beyond the grave

My client today was a farmer's wife from Middleton. She wants to stop smoking. In the past, she has been able to stop for short periods but always starts again. She is on medication for depression. She shows many symptoms of lassitude, indifference and inability to let go.

Although she has depression,  she does not show the typical busy mind or black and white thinking. I think the medication is protecting her from these things. She said she smokes because of stress and lack of willpower. When she stops she starts overeating. She needs to stop because she has emphysema. But she has this whole depressive "what's the point?" attitude to things, including her own health.

Cause of her depression and smoking

She has felt this way for seven years. Her daughter died after a long illness of cancer. She partly feels guilt because she might've been able to do more, but mostly it is just depression and grief as far as I can see. I suggested to her that she needs to get a goal in order to give her something to live for.

She said that every night when she closes her eyes she sees her daughter. She finds this very distressing.

Stop Smoking Visualization Therapy

So I first tried metaphor replacement therapy on the grief. She could not get the feeling. I did notice that her eye lids were flickering. She said her basic problem is that "I cannot let go". I could not get her to visualize any feeling, so I stopped that therapy. It was obvious that I needed to do something to resolve the issue about her daughter.

I then did a visualization of walking along a river bank, and coming to a bridge to the other side. In the visualization there is a person standing on the bridge.  I suggested that the person on the bridge was female by constantly using the pronouns "she" and "her" but I did not suggest it was any particular person.

The person on the bridge said 'I have been waiting a long time for you to come here." And the person on the bridge encourages the client to shed any guilt or regret. Then that person gives a form of power to the client.

Permission to stop smoking from the Other Side

Finally, there was a long dialogue between her and the person on the bridge. The talk was of forgiveness and acceptance and moving on. I then had the two of them hug, and whisper a special message between them that no one else could hear.

After she came out trance, she said "It was my daughter waiting on the bridge!" "We said goodbye, and I won't be seeing her again at night. I can rest now."

David Mason

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