How to Hypnotise Someone to Quit Smoking

Some powerful interest groups would like most people to associate hypnotists with stage acts and harmless gags. It is, however, a proven tool for creating positive change and is recognized as such in the laws of some states.


    • 1

      Gather information about the behavior. Before jumping into a trance formation, understand the details of the behavior to be changed. The most relevant information will be the triggers for smoking and the values gained from smoking. Though this may sound odd, people will find, after a little self-examination, that there was some positive reason why they started smoking, whether it was to fit in with a certain crowd, to look cool or anything else.

    • 2

      Define the desired state. Try to elicit details about the client's desired outcome. Naturally this will include not smoking, but the client should be prompted to put some positive elements in her picture, such as hobbies she might start to fill her time, or how she will spend the money she saves on cigarettes. Also elicit new behaviors that will provide the values that smoking formerly offered.

    • 3

      Induce a trance. There are infinite ways to put a client into a trance, from reading a scripted induction to using complex metaphors and calming language and the classic gold watch. Though some people can resist hypnosis, everyone can be hypnotized if they are willing. Signs of a trance include slower breathing, heightened suggestibility and possible catalepsy.

    • 4

      Neutralize triggers. Once the client is in a trance, neutralize the smoking triggers elicited in Step 1. Direct the client to imagine the trigger and then link it to other behaviors besides smoking, ideally those in the desired outcome. This takes some creativity on the hypnotist's part, but at the very least, the link between the trigger and smoking should be broken.

    • 5

      Emphasize the values. For hypnotherapy to successfully change a behavior, the value of the problem behavior has to be preserved. In other words, rather than asking the person to give up whatever it was he got out of smoking, he must be offered the same values through new, positive behaviors. Encourage these behaviors by making them vivid in the imagination of the client and establishing triggers for them.

Tips & Warnings

  • While it's possible to learn hypnosis from books or online articles, there is no substitute for the experience of practicing with a mentor or taking an interactive hypnotherapy class.
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