When we have a problem that we are facing, there are a number of different ways we can address it.
Let’s take smoking. You have decided you want to give up smoking. You know that it will require willpower and that in itself can be a scary thought.
So you try and find the best approach that suits you.
- You might choose to address the behaviour. To substitute the need to smoke or to be doing something with your hands with gum, sweets or the plastic nicotine filled cigarettes.
- You might try to address the cravings using a patch (did you realise that the chemical addiction part of a cigarette is very short lived at only a couple of minutes?)
- You might go cold turkey and sweat it out using willpower alone
- You might find your own approach using exercise or even food to substitute for the hole left by the cigarettes
- You might try hypnotherapy tapes or a visit to a hypnotherapist who will try and persuade you that you don’t want to smoke
- You might try aversion therapy which makes you sick to think of a cigarette
- You might fail.
There are many things you might do.
But in any of them, do you see anything that addresses why you smoke? After all, there are many different reasons why people start and continue to smoke.
If you constantly address the behaviours, the symptoms of anything, then there is a higher chance of failure and the process is often harder. Because at the end of the day, it is likely that you are fighting against yourself and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty stubborn.
So in Cognitive Hypnotherapy, the first step is to address the “why”. Through a dialogue with the unconscious that I talked about in my last post. Through Hypnotherapy, instead of trying to persuade you to change your behaviour, we first understand why and then, based on your world and your reasons, we guide you to look on it differently.
We can remove the trigger so the symptoms never need addressing.
Sometimes we might find that it purely behavioural – all the cool kids smoked so we did too. In this case, there isn’t a lingering emotional attachment and we can just change that behaviour through something like aversion where the thought of smoking makes you feel sick. You aren’t fighting against yourself because the reason you started smoking is no longer relevant to you.
But it might also be emotional. Your dad smoked and all your fond memories of him include him having a cigarette in his mouth. In this instance we can take you back to the earliest and most significant memory using hypnotherapy, and you can look in on it and realise where your association with smoking came from, and you can let that association go.
Cognitive Hypnotherapy does not use a “one size fits all” approach for any problem a client has. We first ask “What’s that about?” and then use that to help our clients get to where they want to be.