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Can you quit smoking with hypnosis?


DESPITE not having any success so far, local hypnotist Sean Davidson believes, if the conditions are right, people can quit smoking with hypnosis.

Davidson, more popularly known as Sean Michaels, uses hypnosis — which he describes as an altered state of mind characterised by high suggestibility and relaxation — to help people with every day or deep-rooted problems, excluding clinically diagnosed disorders or mental illnesses.

Among his clients at Kaizen Hypnotism are individuals looking for a way to kick the smoking habit.

“If you can be serious and have the open willingness, you’ll stop smoking in no time, because it is a bad habit,” Davidson told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

Smoking, a leading cause of cancer, increases your risk for lung disease, heart attacks and other health problems. Studies have shown that, for some people, hypnosis can help with smoking cessation.

According to Mayo Clinic, “Hypnosis can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviours or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain”. Describing it as a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus and concentration, Mayo Clinic said hypnosis is usually done with the use of verbal repetition and mental images. The non-profit academic medical centre pointed out, too, that although you’re more open to suggestion during hypnosis, you do not lose control over your behaviour.

“It starts with the conscious consultation, meaning I am asking you, while you are conscious — not in a trance or anything — about your current mental state, how many cigarettes or spliffs you are ingesting daily, how smoking is affecting your life, and why you smoke,” Davidson said about what a typical session for smoking cessation would entail.

“Then, based on the answers, I would revisit them while you are under hypnosis because, consciously, we all try to portray ourselves a specific way to try and conform to social correctness or not necessarily telling the truth about ourselves,” he said.

The benefit of that approach, the hypnotist said, would be the ability to reassociate clients with better coping mechanisms, since under hypnosis, “anything I tell you, at that point, you are going to accept it more readily”. The suggestion, therefore, becomes an instruction, he said.

“So, whatever I say, that is what the person starts thinking about,” he explained.

Davidson, who has hypnotised more than 280 people to date, said the clients he has seen for smoking cessation have not been consistent with their sessions.

“Every client I have ever had in relation to smoking, it is either they have had financial constraints…or they come to one or two sessions, see the results, but then can’t continue,” Davidson said.

One of his clients, who has been smoking for more than 10 years and has tried “countless” methods to break the habit, said in a testimonial last October: “Initially, I was sceptical of using hypnotism as a method, as, personally, I did not believe in hypnotism… During the session, although in a trance, I felt comfortable and the suggestions he gave me took immediate effect once we were done. I was offered a smoke, and my body actually felt repulsed by the idea, something that has never happened since I started [smoking].

“With only one session I can still feel the effects to this day, but with the time and amount at which I smoked, unfortunately, I have relapsed twice since then. [But, it is] still extremely good as it’s been forever since going three weeks with just two spliffs, as well as during the relapse I actually did not enjoy smoking like I usually do,” the client, who is now looking to resume sessions with Davidson, said.

 

Must be willing to accept change

 

Davidson, who has been offering his services to the public for the past three years, said for hypnosis to work for those who want to stop smoking, they must first have the drive and willingness to accept change.

“A client cannot simply ask a hypnotist or a hypnotherapist to eradicate smoking from their lives because that drive and willingness is what the person doing hypnosis on them anchors the suggestion to it,” he told Your Health Your Wealth.

He said the hypnotist, as part of preliminary work, would also have to find out why the individual is smoking to effectively help that person.

“You can’t just jump in and say, ‘Stop smoking’, because if it is the environment, we haven’t allowed them to process and interpret the environment differently,” Davidson said. “Basically, you would be removing the emotional attachment and the association they have with smoking, and to do that, they have to come in with the drive to want to stop doing this.

“So, if you still do not see smoking as a problem, you cannot then simply come to one session and expect to stop smoking; it is not magic,” he insisted. “With everything that is good for you, it is slow and developmental.”

Emphasising that the number of sessions to get results varies from client to client, Davidson said it is also important to replace the bad habit with something else.

“You can’t just eradicate something and not put anything in its place; you have to make them start doing something else, like exercise, to take the place of what you are removing,” he said.

 

Consistency is necessary

 

Insisting that consistency is key, Davidson said, too, that sometimes people can no longer feel the urge to smoke after one session, but they risk relapsing or replacing smoking with another bad habit.

“You come to one session and you have this great feeling and the first time you are offered a cigarette you are like, ‘Oh, I actually don’t want it’, think you are fine and then don’t come back. Afterwards, you relapse and you are wondering what happened,” he explained. “It is an ongoing thing, you have to remove it and change your habits in your everyday life.”

He said this potential risk could be avoided by fulfilling the sessions and continuing until the problem is fixed.

Davidson has also done a series of videos on YouTube, featuring people who smoke marijuana, to demonstrate that, through the use of hypnosis, they can stop smoking if they wanted to.

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