There’s a choice made here – the choice is that “I’m done with smoking” and I never want to smoke again.
What is required here is the absolute decision to stop smoking. It’s called commitment – and it’s a rare thing in our modern society.
Many people think that commitment is some sort of feeling and say, well “I don’t feel committed.” But commitment isn’t a feeling – it’s a choice and a decision.
So, when somebody says, “I’d love to quit”, there’s no commitment there, just wishful thinking.
When people come to see us about ‘smoking cessation’, they are here today, because they made a commitment to be here. They have formally thought about it and their mind and it was a ‘no-brainer’ – they really want to know if we can help them quit. That’s called commitment – not necessarily to quit yet, but at least to seriously investigate the possibility of quitting.
If somebody who’s a professional sportsman says he going to compete in a major event next weekend, he would definitely be fully committed to going there. And if you say to them: “I’m having a party next weekend. Do you want to come?”
They would say; “No, I’m going to take part in a competition that day.”
And there is nothing you can say or do to change their mind – that’s called a commitment; and that kind of commitment is powerful.
Many people who don’t recognize the need to make that a firm commitment. They usually think; “Well, I’m going to try… but… I don’t know… who knows what’s going to happen?”
People don’t just say; “I’m going to do it”, because it requires a whole-hearted commitment. A whole-hearted decision.
When you get somebody to that point of whole-hearted decision, they are ready to ‘take action’ and you have a very high probability of successful outcome.
However, most people who make a decision that they want to stop smoking, will be experiencing considerable ambivalence, uncertainty and self-doubt.
And this is where the area where our psycho-education comes in, because the more we’re going to help people understand and see nicotine addiction (the smoking trap) for what it is, the more ready they will be for the ‘actin stage’.
We help clients to realise that nicotine addiction is physiological to a degree, but it’s mainly psychological. It’s like a confidence trick – it’s a big con.
So, when we help our client to see clearly that they’re being conned by the cigarette – they don’t go back voluntarily, to get conned.
All personal change (including quitting cigarettes) follows the stages of the cycle of change and because different people are at different points of that cycle, they require entirely different types of assistance and intervention.
The hypnotist needs to recognize where clients are on the cycle of change and know how to use this informing in order to best serve them.
If somebody’s not in an ‘action phase’ but in a ‘preparation phase’ or a ‘contemplation phase’ – trying to do the action-based work isn’t going to help them.