Smoking Cessation – one session or several?

Hypnotherapy can be very effective with helping people stop smoking.

I was taught that smoking cessation works best with a one session approach and in my early days as a hypnotherapist that is what I tended to favour.  And indeed, in many cases, it works just fine and lots of people have left the room as non-smokers.  However, there were also the clients that were plagued with cravings or just a sense of loss.  Many people lament the loss of the camaraderie of the smoking group and this can be  more difficult to overcome than the nicotine addiction for some.

I started to experiment with more sessions over time, rather than a single session, and for some clients this approach is preferable.    Many clients have a sense of how they would prefer to proceed and in this case, it is easy.  What you believe affects the course of treatment so if you believe you need more sessions then you will.  If you believe you can do it one, then you will.   When I say believe I mean belief at a deep, emotional level.  That “just knowing” something which is not the same as believing that it ought to be possible.

If you were not sure, then how could you decide?  If you are not sure that you have a deep belief then will it work?   A telephone chat or a short pre-treatment meeting can help with the decision about how to proceed.   Things to consider are:

  • How motivated are you?
  • Why are you doing this?
  • Who are you doing if for?
  • How highly do you rate your ability to give up?
  • What frightens you most about giving up smoking (I find a lot of fear in smokers contemplating giving up)?
  • Do you consider this a habit or an addiction?
  • Is the timing right?  What is coming up socially for you?

Interestingly the fact that you may have been smoke free  in the past but relapsed need not deter you.  There is research by Norcross and di Clemente that suggests that it can take a few attempts before we master change permanently.    They also suggest that not everyone contemplating change is necessarily ready for action so it may well be more appropriate to work first on your motivation and self-belief before deciding the date of your smoke free life.  This helps explain why some folk can become smoke-free in one session and others need some time and mental preparation before taking the plunge.


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