What happens in a quit smoking hypnotherapy session?
So you’ve just hung up the phone after booking your hypnotherapy session for smoking cessation.
But what happens next?
If you’ve never had hypnotherapy before, it’s natural that you might be feeling a mixture of apprehension and excitement! Excited about potential freedom from smoking but apprehensive perhaps about what the session will entail.
There’s no need to worry, though. Your hypnotherapist will usually first seek to put your mind at rest by addressing any fears or misconceptions you have about hypnosis.
Many people really fear coping with cravings after quitting, so your hypnotherapist may have asked you not to smoke on the day of your session. This is so that you’ll arrive experiencing a craving. They will then run through some easy-to-use techniques that can help reduce or eliminate cravings (in the unlikely event you might try to have the odd one after the session!).
Most people experience no cravings after successful hypnotherapy and any you do have are likely to be much milder and easier to manage. So by first teaching you a few simple strategies to take away and use in an emergency, you’ll instantly feel more relaxed, confident and in control.
If they haven’t yet done so over the phone, you’ll then have a more detailed chat about your smoking history, including any specific triggers, times when you tried to quit in the past and all the things you’re looking forward to about being smoke-free. This is so your therapist can powerfully reinforce the exact changes you want during the therapy.
Then they'll explain hypnosis to you and outline what they’ll be doing during the therapy. They’ll always be keen to answer any further questions you have about any aspect of the therapy. It’s important that you’re relaxed and at ease with the process to help increase your acceptance of suggestion during therapy, so do be open with your therapist, no matter how silly you think your concerns are - rest assured they've heard it all hundreds of times before!
You’ll then be gently guided through a hypnotic induction to begin taking your attention inwards. This usually begins with eye closure and can include suggestions for physical relaxation and mental calm.
The aim of hypnotherapy is to suspend you in the alpha brainwave state state long enough to deliver key suggestions for change. Alpha occurs completely naturally and is the same state you’re in just before falling asleep and just after waking - drowsy but still awake and aware.
Your therapist helps you achieve a consistent level of alpha. This is called trance ‘depth’ and simply means they will be encouraging you to further increase your level of inner focus by guiding you to a deeper level of physical and mental relaxation. This helps you to become more intensely immersed in your own inner awareness so you’ll feel a little more drowsy though not asleep and still aware of everything that’s happening.
Once they’re satisfied that you’ve established a good level of trance for therapy, they’ll begin delivering the change work by suggesting new ways of relating to smoking to your subconscious mind.
These will be designed to gently break apart the binding habitual and emotional associations you have with smoking so that you will leave the session feeling indifferent to cigarettes. When this happens the urge to smoke and any withdrawal symptoms usually fall away completely.
Your therapist will also address any specific concerns or issues you have, such as being able to cope naturally with stress or anxiety, and any key triggers that caused relapse in the past.
They will then update your subconscious mind with healthy new beliefs and expectations of life as a non-smoker before bringing your awareness back to normal.
During hypnosis you’ll retain full self-control so you’ll be free to speak, move, cough, scratch your nose or shift into a more comfortable position at any time. In fact, you could even get up to go to the loo if you want and slip nicely back into hypnosis on your return - as one client of mine did recently!
However, you might experience some different physical sensations during the session, such as twitching eyeballs (REM), tingling hands or feet or changes in blood flow and temperature as your body enters deep relaxation. Some people enjoy a pleasant floating sensation when their attention becomes inwardly focused and awareness of their body reduces a little. Some hypnotherapists may induce catalepsy (involuntary rigidity) in a hand or arm, or involuntary movements such as a magnetic attraction between the hands. These can be great fun and allow you to experience the power of your own subconscious mind at a physical level.
After your session, your hypnotherapist may be keen to follow up on your progress. If you were to experience any significant anxiety or stress issues, they may offer you a tailored booster session. They may also offer a free self-hypnosis audio download to use at home to help reinforce the changes over a few weeks. This can really help make a lasting difference to your long term success.
With hypnotherapy there's nothing to give up or give in to - just an overwhelming sense of feeling great!