QFS: Willingness to break a nicotine addiction is a key ingredient for any quit plan; how do you evaluate whether a patient is willing to take the next step towards a smoke-free life?
DK: I ask potential clients whether they are ready to be a ?Non Smoker? and whether they are willing to begin the process now. If they say yes to this, I ask them if they want to defy their therapist and whether they intend to tell their friends or partner that they have ?tried hypnosis? and that ?it did not work?; or whether they are willing and ready to give up for themselves. I also ask them what their motivations are for giving up smoking. If the answer is that they ready to give up for themselves and they are motivated to do this, I tell them to get rid of all their smoking paraphernalia?spare tobacco, ash trays, lighters and so forth?before they come for their first session.
QFS: It is well documented that a smoker may refuse to acknowledge that they can quit if they are of a certain age or have high nicotine dependence. What advice would you give to help dispel this myth?
DK: I tend to explain that they have the ability ?they always and already have? to give up smoking, and that I will guide them through the process. I explain that we all have an innate ability to learn new behaviours. If one says to oneself that one cannot learn often enough, one tends to believe it; however, the hypnosis work will help clients to learn new behaviours and to effect change for the better.
QFS: Do you think smokers are aware of the range of smoking cessation treatment options available, and how beneficial they may be?
DK: Most clients have already tried nicotine patches, chewing gum and self help books before they have come to see me. And yet, I do seem to do a lot of psycho-education during the treatment: many clients have a lot of myths about the nature of hypnosis.
QFS: Can the benefits of hypnotherapy increase a smoker?s chance of quitting for good without leading to cravings or potential weight gain?
DK: I use suggestions during the process to reduce cravings. Interestingly, however, I have had clients who have not had any cravings whatsoever. And, even if one does have a cigarette, all is not lost. As Lynn and Kirsch have pointed out, a lapse doesn?t mean a relapse.
QFS: And finally, the stop smoking campaign Stoptober begins this month, so we want to know what five basic tips you would pass on to both first-time quitters and those who are trying again.
- Set a date and get rid of all your smoking paraphernalia.
- Use hypnosis to take control of your own life, in your own unique way.
- Enjoy being a non smoker and how that makes you feel.
- Enjoy the fact that your lungs recover very quickly and, if you have a cold, you will not develop bronchitis.
- Talk about being a smoker in the past tense.