I received some positive comments today from a client of mine several months ago who asked me for help in the quest to become a non-smoker. Customer confidentiality being what it is, I’m not going to discuss the details, but when I asked if I could write about some of the things we talked about, they gave me permission as long as I didn’t identify it.
So we are talking about a well-educated, urban, middle-aged Australian man who leads a well-paid, white-collar, secular lifestyle. He smoked cigarettes, his wife smoked cigars. One of them developed mouth cancer, they both agreed to quit smoking. The wife seemed to have little trouble stopping in her tracks, but the husband struggled. I had all the usual problems with addictive cravings, but I know they end. Years ago I smoked a lot myself, and for me the most difficult things were behavior patterns: turning on during TV commercials, turning on when waiting for buses to arrive, smoking before leaving work, smoking after I got home. That took much longer than physical cravings, and even the belief I’d developed that when under stress, a cigarette would relieve that stress.
We established that he started smoking as a teenager, early in the period when he was a bit off the rails, stealing cars to drive around the East Coast, getting into fights, doing a bit of vandalism. It turned out that although he was quite proud of his bad boy reputation as a child, there was something about which he had been terribly ashamed; He told me what it was, but I’m not going to share it publicly. – That filled him even then with absolute shame. Smoking chilled him, and if it was, it couldn’t have been the same person who did that. Also, when he remembered that event, he would suddenly become extremely stressed, and smoking gave him that calming effect of nicotine that allowed him to cope with the wobbles.
The first session I had with him lasted about two hours, which was unusual. The first fifteen minutes or so consisted of taking a history, signing the disclaimer, and then simply encouraging him to talk about all the issues that, in his mind, surrounded smoking now and in the past, how it made him feel, how not smoking did. feel, and just encourage him to open up to me. During that session, I came to feel very privileged: he voluntarily removed layer after layer of his personality and his past, and I did not do much more than listen very carefully and accept everything he said and everything he had done in the past. In the end, even though I had heard about many things that I really did not want to know that he had done, I understood much more about him than about many of the people I have met. during years.
Our second date was six days later. I asked him how his week had been; It turned out that he had been genuinely relieved after talking a lot of things with me that he hadn’t even been able to talk to his partner about and, in fact, he had smoked a little less in the days since without any conscious effort on his part to cut. Apparently his entire family had noticed that he was more relaxed, even his dogs. We discussed what we would do, then I dropped him into a light trance, delved him a bit into a work trance, and gave him some post-hypnotic suggestions on how to deal with the habitual aspects and cravings associated with smoking. that would give you tools to use in your quest to become a non-smoker.
Then we get to the actual work. I deepened his trance and got him to visualize an empty office chair, filling with cigarette smoke that thickened and thickened, until it became the spirit of his addiction sitting there. He indicated when this entity was real and strong to him, and then it became a dialogue. I got him to question the addiction itself. What did he want? What were their motives? What benefit did he get from him being an addict that he didn’t get from him not being an addict? What benefit did you think you were getting from being an addict? At that point, the dialogue stopped and I asked him if he really benefited from this benefit of addiction.
Then we change course, my client and I work together. Throughout the process I would provide him with kind direction and he would obey, negotiating with his addiction himself and informing me of his responses. Now that we knew where the spirit of addiction was coming from and what it was getting it from, it was time to negotiate. We noted other ways I could meet their needs without my client having to light a cigarette. We offered him a symbol in the client’s home: a potted plant from the same family as tobacco, actually, that my client promised to take care of himself and stay healthy as long as the spirit of addiction was kept away. And finally, my client and I agreed that we had reached a point where not only was the spirit of addiction satisfied, but so was he.
So I had him allow the being to smoke and float away, and leave the place with the chair, and reinforced the post-hypnotic suggestions of calm, forgive himself for his distant past, lack of desire for a life . cigarettes and smoking replacement activities, then brought him back to normal consciousness. I was very happy with the session. I told him that he was very welcome to call me and make an appointment if he needed to reinforce the work we had done together and he thanked me, and I did not hear anything until today. I asked him if he wanted to schedule another session, he said no, that he was still at peace with himself and still not smoking. He was calling me to tell me that he was okay and that he had saved thousands of dollars on the cost of cigarettes. And it was good to know that the person in that home who had had a tumor removed was still fine and had not relapsed.
In fact, it was very good of him to call. In theory, every customer who sees me seems happy in the end and doesn’t respond to me is a satisfied customer, but is it? Or could some of them be people who just lost faith and didn’t want to waste time with me again? I would never know without comment. So I loved it when he called and we talked for quite a while. Now that I have better quality audio equipment, I offered to make him a free meditation CD tailored to his own internal images and preferences as a thank you gift for the detailed feedback, but he calmly declined even that.
He said in passing that I made the inside of his head with as much care and skill as he would make the inside of a building. I was flattered. Let’s say that if any of my friends or contacts need an architect, I know who I will give the business card to.