Some hypnotists don't like working with smokers because they think that smokers are all the same. They treat every smoker with the same routines. I don't.
I find smokers endlessly fascinating: every smoker is unique. They each have a unique reason for smoking and a unique reason for keeping on smoking. When you find the reason you have found the solution.
I dealt with a smoker today who wasn't able to give up. She was a middle aged lady who could stop but always started again whenever she got stressed. I spent some time talking to her about why she smokes and particularly why she always starts again and she really had no idea. She had spent many hours thinking about it but never came up with an answer.
But when I started probing when she started smoking, a pattern started to emerge. She started at school, with a few sneaked cigarettes with the other girls. She did not start smoking properly until she was eighteen. After leaving home, she got a job and a flat, and was having a lovely time away from the controls of her parents. She then shared that her dad hated smoking, and always had, and her mother thought it was unlady-like.
What I think was actually happening was that she was flouting her parents' rule, showing independence and even rebellion. She was having a great time doing it. Unknown to her, she was actually anchoring that feeling of independence to smoking. So later in life, whenever she felt things getting on top of her, when she felt put down and out of control, she reached for a cigarette. Smoking unconsciously reminded of those times and that feeling. The feeling therefore got reinforced thousands of times.
Smoking control pattern
When she gives up, she is fine for days or weeks or even months. But then some situation comes along that makes her long to be in control again, to assert her independence, and the cravings for a cigarette start again. I think that her mind was dwelling on the missing feeling, and that was anchored onto smoking, so she found excuses to smoke.
Once the origin of the pattern had been established it was easy to target it with metaphors and suggestions.
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