There’s no one right answer to this question. The number of sessions needed to quit smoking depends on the individual. However, in my practice, my general rule is just one session. Of course, some patients need a follow-up session, but I’ve found that for most people, one long session (2 hours or so) is enough to help them kick the habit.
The most important factor in determining how many sessions of hypnosis are necessary is how ready the patient is to quit. If someone’s truly ready to give up smoking, one session is usually enough; and if they’re not ready (or don’t even want to quit), it can take many sessions before they see results.
There are plenty of people who have smoked for decades and suddenly go cold turkey and never smoke again. These people have made a conscious decision that they were ready to quit and used willpower to kick the habit both consciously and subconsciously. They told themselves that they were going to quit and that was that. Like making any other major life change, making your mind up to achieve your goal is the first and most important step – call it setting an intention.
What Does It Mean To Set An Intention?
What this means is setting a clear goal in your own mind and deciding that you will achieve this goal, no matter what. Our minds are more powerful and more stubborn than you might think and once you’ve set your sights, you’ll be focused on doing what it takes to achieve your goal.
You’ll find yourself occupied with thoughts and emotions relating to your intention and it’s the emotions which really help you move forward. Emotions are powerful things which can give you the motivation you need to do almost anything if you feel strongly enough about it.
How Do People Manage To Quit Cold Turkey?
Simply put, they set their intention to give up the habit and they focus on becoming a non-smoker. This triggers an emotional response which reinforces their resolve to quit smoking. When conscious thoughts and emotions come together, the effect can be powerful – and this includes giving up smoking.
How Does Hypnosis Fit Into The Picture?
Hypnosis is one of the most powerful tools available to help people quit smoking quickly – as long as they’re truly ready to give up the habit, that is. Think back to the example of smokers who suddenly kick the habit because they start thinking of themselves as non-smokers. These thought patterns bring up emotions and strengthen their will to quit. The conscious mind decides to become a non-smoker and these thoughts filter into the subconscious, with the individual trying to quit taking on the psychological qualities of a non-smoker.
The advantage of hypnosis is that it’s not necessary to have the kind of determination that someone who successfully quits cold turkey does. Instead, the therapist guides their patients towards the kind of mindset that creates the right thought patterns and triggers the feelings needed to set an intention to quit.
If you really want to quit for your own sake, then you’ve already set your intention. A hypnotherapist can help things along by guiding your subconscious thought patterns towards a non-smoking mindset. You don’t have to reach the point where you’ve had enough with smoking – all you need is to genuinely want to quit. That’s half the battle right there; and hypnosis taps into the subconscious mind to lay the groundwork for lasting change, even after as little as one session in many patients.
Of course, some people need more than one session of hypnosis to quit smoking. Some people need a second session and a very small number need a third before the therapy brings about the changes they’d hoped for.
Ultimately, the number of hypnotherapy sessions matters less than making sure that appropriate post-hypnotic sessions are implanted. Once this is done, the patient is well on the way to becoming – and staying – smoke free for good.
Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis