The Baltimore Sun published an article today entitled, "Quit smoking? It's tough but not impossible" in their Ask The Expert section. Christine Schutzman, coordinator of the Freshstart Smoking Cessation Program at St. Joseph's Medical Center, is featured describing the extremely addictive nature of nicotine and the benefits of counseling.
I believe that counseling only touches the surface of the smoking habit and doesn't deal with the psychological aspects. As such, I was perplexed as to why hypnosis was not listed as an option. I sent an email to the writer, Meredith Cohn, which reads:
Dear Ms. Cohn,
Dear Ms. Cohn,
I read your article today, "Quit smoking? It's tough but not impossible." I enjoyed it very much and it helped bring to light many truths about just how addictive nicotine is. However, this article fell short in a particular area, which I would like to address.
One of the most important aspects of a smoking cessation program is behavior modification. This was merely touched upon in the last paragraph of the article. The habits associated with smoking are embedded in the subconscious mind. For example, the hand to mouth movements, the routine most smokers have of "lighting up" upon waking, after meals, and while driving, and also triggers occurring in our daily lives such as stress and anxiety. These are all imprinted below the surface of our conscious awareness.
As such, I was very disappointed to see that hypnotherapy was not listed as an effective option to quit smoking. At the Sanders Hypnosis Center in Glen Burnie, Maryland, we work with numerous individuals to quit smoking. Almost all of our clients have tried everything else ranging from the patch to Chantix. While these smoking cessation aids may curb the desire for nicotine, they do not deal with the psychological aspect of smoking and, as a result, they often return to their old, bad smoking habits.
This discussion about hypnosis for smoking cessation is a timely one, as World Hypnotism Day will be celebrated by hypnotists around the world on January 4th. As part of the combination therapies mentioned, hypnosis should be an option. My belief is that it should be the first option. Talk therapy, whether it be with a group, individually, online, or by phone, is certainly helpful and can provide positive reinforcement for the right person. However, it doesn't effectively deal with the subconscious issues, which can be easily and permanently addressed with hypnosis.