Last updated: 15 March 2016
Want to help someone quit smoking? Without relying on pure willpower, prescriptions or gimmicks? Then hypnotherapy is the perfect choice.
Hypnotherapy is extremely effective when it comes to smoking cessation. And there are several good reasons why that’s the case:
- When someone is hypnotized, they become relaxed
- Their conscious mind takes a back seat
- Their attention is turned inward
- They’re able (with your help) to communicate with their unconscious mind
- This makes it possible to implant powerful suggestions that the unconscious will act on
And the result is that you can change the way they think about smoking at a deep and profound level, helping them find the motivation to quit within themselves.
Nothing new there. You probably know this stuff already. Hypnosis has been shown time and time again to be an effective way for people to kick the smoking habit. More effective than nicotine replacement therapy or going cold turkey.
So we know it works a treat. We know how powerful hypnotherapy can be. The only other thing we need to know is this: how do you conduct the perfect stop smoking session?
Let’s break the whole process down so you can see exactly what’s involved. Once you get familiar with it you should be able to complete it comfortably in about 45 minutes. For a typical 1-hour session, that gives you 10 minutes to meet and greet your client at the beginning of the session, as well as 5 minutes at the end to let them fully recover.
How To Conduct A Powerful Habit-Kicking Smoking Cessation Hypnotherapy Session
There are 2 essential parts that need to come together in order to help your clients kick their nasty habit for good!
Both are made up of several different components. So let’s dive straight into part 1.
1. Induce A Trance
You might find it useful to do an instant induction. This can be done quickly so you don’t waste any time. That also means you can get on to the deepening work faster. If you don’t know how to do an instant induction, don’t worry, just carry on with your frame control work and look out for signs of trance.
Their eyes might glaze over, they’ll move around a lot less. They might start agreeing to everything you suggest. Once they’re in a trance, hit them with the Non-Awareness Set.
It’ll take just a few minutes and will show them:
- You know what you’re doing (authority)
- That the process is working (convincers)
The non-awareness set takes their mind in another direction, away from the conscious and towards the unconscious. You might simply ask: did you notice how your breathing slowed down a minute ago? The idea is to show them that if they can control their breathing, they can control other things, like their desire to smoke.
>>Learn how to do an Instant Induction here:Hacking The Instant Induction: Igor Ledochowski Reveals How To Master It [VIDEO]
2. Enter Their Reality
You need to enter their smoking reality in order to help them change it. There are 2 possible ways to do this:
a) Using Piggyback Statements – Address the problem and start piggybacking solutions onto it. Start from where they are right now and build motivation into your speech. For instance:
You’ve smoked a pack a day for 25 years, and now you’ve had enough. You don’t want your kids to smoke. You don’t want smoking to ruin your health. You’re sick of throwing money down the drain and you just don’t want to do it anymore.
b) Unconscious Errors – Here you reframe their reasons for smoking, identify them as unconscious errors, and then reframe each of those errors. They might think smoking gives them confidence, helps them relax, makes it easier to concentrate or provides a time for contemplation and future planning. But people can do all of those things without smoking. Their unconscious mind has created positive links to smoking, but did so in error.
Smoking can’t give you confidence. It doesn’t relax you – in fact, it does the opposite. It won’t help you concentrate or think clearly because it distracts you. Your mind can do all of these things without the need for a cigarette.
3. The Change Ritual
At this point you give them a mechanism they can hang onto, as if to say “I have changed.” This is where they start to move from being a smoker to a non-smoker.
There are 3 techniques you can use to accomplish this:
a) Regression – Take them back to their first cigarette. Let them see themselves taking that first puff, choking and coughing on it. Like their body was telling them not to do it. Not to fill it with poison. Then get your client to suggest ways to get their younger self to resist that first cigarette. To think about the future consequences.
Cigarettes aren’t cool or sexy. They won’t make you a rebel. You can be cool, sexy and rebellious without smoking. Plus you won’t have to be addicted to nicotine. You won’t stink of smoke. You won’t risk your health unnecessarily. You won’t become a social outcast.
Let them see their younger self refusing the cigarette and then get them to step inside the younger body and experience it for themselves. The pride, the bravery in standing up to peer pressure. Kicking the habit. Feeling confident. Growing up as a non-smoker with the coping mechanisms to resist it.
b) Symbolic Journey – Create a safe or relaxing place where they can feel good about themselves. Somewhere they can experience freedom and happiness. It could be a garden, a forest, a beach or anywhere they prefer. Get them to visualize it, pointing out the details and using all their senses.
Then ask them to find a gateway. It might be a ladder, a hole in the wall, a well, or something else. It’s a gateway to the symbolic unconscious. Once there, they’ll find an unconscious symbol that’ll change their relationship with smoking and make them a non-smoker for the rest of their life. A trap door. A boat across a lake. A bucket.
Whatever symbol they discover, use it to detach them from the whole smoking experience. Be creative and use the symbol as a means for change.
c) The Crossroads – Use this technique only when you’re sure they’ve decided to quit smoking. Get your client to imagine themselves standing at a crossroads. One path leads to a lifetime of smoking and misery. The other path leads to happiness and freedom from smoking. It’s a black and white frame that creates a powerful sense of motivation. A place where your client can decide they no longer want anything to do with smoking and choose to be free from it.
4. Pause & Reflect
This is where you start to ingrain the idea of being a non-smoker into their head. Get them to acknowledge or confirm their own transition. You can do that by asking them what it feels like to be a non-smoker. If they say it feels great, you keep echoing that trance word (great) back at them. Congratulate them on having achieved it. Pile on the compliments and positive energy by saying how proud they must feel, how relieved they must be, how determined they are to stick to their guns and never smoke again.
They’ll be happy. They might even be glowing with pride. So at this stage you get them to pick a symbol that represents their freedom from smoking. A flower. A crushed cigarette pack. A big badge with the words: “You did it!” on it. Whatever symbol they choose will act as a mental trigger to bring the feelings of pride, relief and success flooding back.
5. Test, Test, Test!
This where you test the client to see if the work has been successful. If they’re going to break down, it’s better that it happens in front of you. At least then you can do something about it.
Get them to imagine themselves holding a cigarette and ask how it feels. Run a few similar scenarios to see if you can get them to cave in. The reason for doing this is so you can supply them with a coping mechanism in case they experience cravings a few days later.
6. The Craving Buster
If they feel like they really want a cigarette, they’ll notice some kind of sensation. Maybe a tingling on their tongue. That’s the craving.
Explain that whatever they resist will persist. The more energy they put into fighting the craving, the more the craving will grow. Instead they have to confront it. They have to talk about it. They have to tell you how it feels, what it feels like. Then get them to bring in their freedom symbol, which will restore their feelings of pride and relief, just like before. And they can use the same technique in the real world, whenever someone offers them a cigarette or they’re surrounded by smokers.
That brings us to the second part of the session.
1. The Resource Blitz
Here you blitz them using hypnotic language. You focus on the reasons they thought they were smoking in the first place, such as:
- Smoking gives you confidence
- Smoking helps you relax
- Smoking helps you concentrate
Health and family are two of the best reasons to quit. No more smelly clothes or stinky breath. Less chance that their children will develop the bad habit in the future.
If they’re worried about hunger pangs and gaining weight, tell them they quit smoking naturally. Food will taste better as their taste buds revive, but they won’t feel compelled to eat more. They’ll simply enjoy the foods they eat more. And being able to taste more of the food will mean they can relax and savor it, which might actually make them feel full faster.
>> Related article: 5 Highly Effective (And Creative) Ways To Isolate The Conscious Mind And Speak Directly With The Unconscious Mind
2. New Behavior Generator
At this point you need to help them learn how to be a non-smoker. You do that by addressing all the triggers related to smoking through the course of a day. Those times when having a cigarette used to be a habit, such as:
- First thing in the morning
- After breakfast
- During break times at work
- After lunch or evening meals
- While relaxing in the evening
3. The Craving Buster
Test them again. You want to make sure the alternate behaviors kick in. Try to build a scenario that induces a craving. Get them stressed, tense, and in the frame of mind where they might at one time have reached for a cigarette.
For instance: you’ve had a seriously stressful day. Your head is pounding. Someone nearby is smoking a cigarette. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one? To feel that nicotine taste in the mouth?
Make it unpleasant to elicit as realistic a response as possible. If they spontaneously bring in other behaviors, that’s good. If not, remind them about their freedom symbol and the kinds of behaviors they can use to bust any craving, anytime, anywhere. It might help to put the behaviors in a My Friend John context to show how somehow else coped with cravings.
Finally, remind them of their glowing future. They’ll be healthier. They’ll smell better. They’ll feel better. They’ll be happier. They’ll enjoy life more. Their family will benefit. They’ll have stacks of resources to keep them smoke-free.
4. The Saboteurs
People sometimes quit smoking successfully but start up again. Here you want to make them aware of the things that could sabotage their efforts. If they’re aware of them, they can avoid them when they turn up.
The saboteurs include:
- Other smokers, trying to get you back into “the fold”
- Any stressful or major life-changing experiences
- Curiosity to try smoking again
- Arrogance, thinking they can always quit again if they want to
- Self-testing, to prove that they’ve stopped smoking, especially when they can’t believe how easy it was to quit
Finish up by reminding them about their freedom symbol. This makes sure that the main point they leave the trance with is the idea of a being a non-smoker.
5. Ending The Trance
Bring them out of the trance. Then try to engage them in some conversational hypnosis about how it feels to be a non-smoker. How cool it is to know they’ll never smoke again. How great it is that they’ve got all these tools to bust cravings. In each case they have to look inside themselves to reinforce that those tools and feelings are there.
Even though the trance is finished, there’s more to come. There are some extra things you can do that will ram the whole freedom from smoking point home for good.
6. Post-Hypnotic Blitz
Give them one final blitz to bring everything together. Blitz them about:
- Their resources
- Their future
- Resisting temptation
- Their craving buster
- Their freedom symbol
When you’re finished doing that, they’ll be a non-smoker. Then you can pile on the optional extras.
7. Optional Extras
These are tasks you give to the client either before or after the session. They include:
a) The Ash Jar – Use a pickle jar or similar to collect all the ash and cigarettes for a few days or a week before the session. When the client brings it in, open the jar, add some water and mix it all up. It’ll look disgusting. Open it and let them sniff it. Also disgusting. It’s basically a bit of aversion therapy. They can even display the jar somewhere at home to remind them just how revolting smoking really is.
b) The Diary – Get them to keep a diary of every cigarette they smoke before the session. Instead of relaxing, they have to get out their diary and write. It’s a pain in the butt, which helps to break the association between smoking and pleasure. They should write down:
- Every cigarette they smoke
- When they smoked it
- Where they smoked it
- Who they smoked it with
- What they felt like before and after they smoked it
c) The Cut Down – If you’re giving them a 2-hour single session, this won’t be applicable. But if you’re giving a two 1-hour session separated by a week, or even multiple sessions, this might be of use. Ask them to think about cutting down between sessions by:
- Inhaling less deeply
- Smoking less often
- Putting the cigarette out a little earlier
- Taking fewer puffs
d) The Money Jar – Ask your client to bring a jar to the first session. Find out how much they spend daily on smoking. Suppose it’s $5 a pack. Instead of smoking that money away they can put $5 in the jar every day.
Before long they’ll have a pile of money in there they can use for a special treat. The longer they keep going, the more money they’ll earn. So being a non-smoker can be a profitable business for them. You might even want to get them started by sticking $5 in the jar. Tell them it’s a gift get their new “business” off the ground, since they don’t need to smoke anymore.
e) The Freedom Letters – Ask them to write a letter every day to a friend or family member. In the letter they should write about:
- The fact that they’ve quit smoking
- How great they feel
- How long they’ve been smoke-free for
- How excited they are to be free from smoking for the rest of their life
This exercise reminds them on a daily basis why they’ve quit. It reinforces their reasons and success. It creates social commitment too, because they’re telling everyone that they’re now a non-smoker, so people have to start treating them that way. It also might help spread the word about your talent as a hypnotist, which could bring more clients rushing to your door.
8. Client Resources
Give your clients lots of resources to read and take away. These will help them make the most of your session.
a) The Info Pack – For example, a simple 4-page glossy booklet. Give it a snazzy title like: The Simple Way To Stop Smoking…. For Good!
Put a seal on it saying Official Non-Smoker or something like that. On the inside front cover add text congratulating them on giving up and getting a life of freedom. The booklet itself might contain:
- A written version of the blitz about how amazing their future will be
- A section on the evils of smoking, the chemicals in a cigarette, and so on *
- A section on how smoking affects health *
- A section on how quickly health recovers when you quit smoking *
- A description of the craving buster to remind them of the technique and to reassure them that they can use it whenever they need to
- A final congratulation message and blitz on what the future holds
Finish off with an emergency telephone number and, if space allows, a simple X-step craving buster. If there isn’t space, put this info and the number on a card they can carry in their wallet.
* You can get all of this information online.
b) A Relaxation CD – Which is self-explanatory, except that now they don’t have to turn to cigarettes for relaxation
c) Craving Supplements – The nicotine will leave their systems within a week. They can’t have cravings after that. If they do, they’re purely psychological. The supplements should therefore be used only for a week to combat potential cravings.
Glucose Tablets – First, make sure they’re not diabetic. Also make sure they discard any unused tablets at the end of the week. They can take one every hour which will give them a quick sugar spike and keep those happy chemicals flowing.
Water Bottle – Carry a small bottle of water and sip it every 20 minutes or so. Instead of lighting up, have a drink of water.
Lemon Juice – Get a bottle of concentrated lemon juice. When there’s a craving, squirt a drop on your tongue. Or dilute it in the water bottle and sip that instead.
Unsweetened Grape Juice – The same as above, but perhaps a more palatable alternative.
And that’s the end of the session. It gives you everything you need to conduct the perfect stop smoking session from start to finish. Once you get the hang of it, it could be a fantastic way to start your hypnosis practice. Or you might even choose to specialize in this field of hypnosis.
If you do decide to specialize in smoking cessation hypnotherapy, here are some tips on how to go about it:
Insider Tips & Tricks On How To Set Up Your Specialist Smoking Cessation Practice
As a hypnotherapist, you’ve got specific goals in mind. You want to help people. You want to be a force for good. You want to alleviate their fears and help them live a more rewarding life.
That’s all good stuff. To be able to do any of it, though, you need clients. You need a steady stream of clients to keep your practice ticking over. And you need to be paid adequately for your services.
If thinking about the money bothers you, look at it like this. Someone comes to your house and does work in your garden. You pay them. Another person turns your attic space into a luxury bedroom. You pay them. Another installs an electric garage door. You pay them.
You wouldn’t expect any of these people to do the work for nothing, and neither should you. If you don’t get paid, only one thing is going to happen. Your hypnotherapy practice is going to go bust.
So the first step in getting your practice up and running is to get yourself some clients. You only need one success story to get the ball rolling. If they’re happy with what you’ve done, they’ll help get the whole marketing process off the ground.
>>Related article: 5 Things To Consider When Setting Up Your Hypnotherapy Practice
Anyone you help will tell other people. They’ll big up your powers. They’ll recommend your services. They’ll help create a buzz about what you do, which will convince other people to give it a try. Here are some of the best places to get referrals:
a) Previous Clients – Ask clients if they know someone who might benefit from your services. If they do, ask if you can contact them. At the very least give them some business cards and literature they can pass on. You can build a long list of clients just by word of mouth alone.
b) The Client Intake Form – You need information about the client. An intake sheet filed under their name makes storing and retrieving that information quick and easy. The form can be a single page and should include:
- Their name
- Date of the session
- Their age
- Their date of birth
- Their complete contact details
You also need to know:
- If there is any history of illness in the family
- Their doctor’s name and contact details
- Whether or not you can contact their doctor if necessary
- If their doctor or dentist has recommended they give up smoking
Somewhere on the form (possibly on the back) you need them to answer the following types of questions:
- How long have you smoked?
- How many do you smoke?
- When and where do you smoke?
- Have you tried to quit in the past?
- What are your reasons for smoking?
These are not simple yes-no answers. They have to think about their responses. The questions also set up the frames upfront.
This information gives your practice a professional feeling, but it also does something else. It gives you the chance to market your services in the most unobtrusive way possible. Here’s how you do it.
- You know their date of birth – When their birthday rolls around, send them a handwritten card. Congratulate them on becoming a non-smoker. It’s a nice gesture that also keeps you and your practice at the forefront of their mind
- You know the date of their session – 6 months after their visit, send them a letter congratulating them on the anniversary. Stick some business cards and leaflets inside. Remind them that you can offer other services as well, and invite them to refer other people to you.
c) Medical Referrals
Doctors (and nurses) and dentists can provide lots of referrals. But since you’re not a medically trained practitioner, you need to prove to them that you can help people stop smoking. One way is to offer a free seminar where you do instant inductions and other quick activities that wow them about your skills.
But once you’ve secured some referrals from medical practitioners, and have done your best to make these subsequent clients non-smokers for life, ask these clients if they would mind writing a letter (the freedom letter) explaining that they’ve quit, how great they feel, and so on.
Next, write to their doctor detailing the client’s success and thanking the doctor for the referral. The client came to see me because you said he needed to stop smoking. He’s a non-smoker now and I’ve got a letter to prove it.
You’re giving the doctor the credit for your client’s success. What do you think they’ll do next time they have a patient who wants to stop smoking? They’ll send them to you.
>>Related article: Hypnosis In Dentistry: How To Work With A Dentist As A Hypnotherapist
d) Local Businesses – Join a Chamber of Commerce or local business group. Go to meetings and network by exchanging information and referrals. Ask shops to display flyers about your services in return for referrals or a commission. Run evening seminars and invite local businesses to attend.
e) Family & Friends – Tell them that you’re specializing in non-smoking. Talk about what you do and how it helps people. Hit them with a few success stories without naming names. Because they like you they’ll tell others about what you do, and that will bring more referrals your way.
f) A Website – Set up a website with a simple letter that introduces hypnosis, your non-smoking practice, and how you can help. Include a free report they can download in exchange for their email address so you can keep them informed about your services. Keep the site simple and to the point. Even people living around the corner will search for resources online, and if you’re that close they just might look you up.
It’s also a good idea to set up a Facebook page so people can find you through this way too, especially if you decide to run paid advertising to this page. Some small businesses today actually decide to only have a Facebook page so they don’t have to worry about maintaining a website. The other benefits include being able to build an audience on Facebook by posting updates about your services, engaging and related content and even inspiring quotes or success stories. Furthermore, (and as mentioned before) you can also run advertising to this page so you can get noticed and build up your practice through Facebook.
g) Adverts – Place ads in local newspapers and in the Yellow Pages. A great way to get free publicity is to write a story about hypnosis or about smoking. These could coincide with National Stop Smoking Day or National Hypnosis Day. The paper gets their story and you get free advertising, with your contact details clearly displayed at the bottom of the article.
Finally, remember that all of these things take time. Start with one client if you have to and do the best job you can. Get testimonials or letters from every person you help and ask each one of them to spread the word. Tweak and refine your hypnosis techniques so you’re providing a service that’s second to none. Keep on doing that and before long you’ll have clients lining up outside your door.