Giving up smoking was never going to be easy, but after quitting for six months and then relapsing over the festive period, Clevedon Mercury reporter Nicci Phelps realised drastic action was needed in the alternative form of hypnotherapy. Here she explains how it went…
Driving to see Liz Daniel, a hypnotherapist with an abundance of qualifications, I had ambivalent thoughts. Did I really want to give up smoking?
Of course I did and I’ve counted the CDs, books and extras I could buy in a year with the money. It would also be great to give lung cancer a miss.
But I both love smoking and hate smoking, and in two hours I was hoping to have cured this habit.
Some people are nervous of words such as trance and hypnosis but in fact we all go into trances regularly, in a perfectly natural way and without ill effect.
It’s called daydreaming, going blank for a moment or switching off.
This is the same with trance or hypnosis. You are not unconscious and often you are hyper-aware of what’s going on. Always there is a part of your brain which is checking on your physical and psychological safety.
No one can hypnotise you without your consent and no one can make you do something which conflicts with your values and beliefs.
Hypnosis, whether self-induced or aided by somebody else, is simply a process of relaxation, enabling the non-conscious mind to communicate more effectively, and positive suggestions to register more clearly.
The non-conscious mind will only accept suggestions which are in your best interests and filter out the rest.
Arriving at Liz’s home, I was shown into a cosy, calm room with two chairs and we began the session.
Fifty-five-year-old Liz is a trainer, practitioner and master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). She has a diploma in hypnotherapy and is a qualified drug and alcohol counsellor.
She also has a diploma in counselling and is British sign language accredited.
At the beginning, Liz talked me through my medical history, asking various questions which help her gain understanding of a client.
Using various techniques, I imagined a healthy me and an unhealthy me, and gradually the positive image of a non-smoker emerged.
Liz then put on a relaxing CD of waves lapping on the shore and asked me to close my eyes.
Soon enough, I was heavy-limbed and journeying into a different world with Liz’s gentle tones for company.
I was leaving a jetty, steering a boat out on to the ocean and swimming with dolphins. It was a highly soothing and relaxing experience and I certainly didn’t want to be told I had to wake up.
This was stress free living and a place where I could have quite happily remained.
In order to put me off smoking, Liz made the association of a cigarette with a particularly nasty smell.
Contrary to popular belief there was no finger clicking to wake me. Instead Liz counted from five down to one and I opened my eyes.
She said some people took ages to wake up because they were so happy in the dream world. This I can believe.
The session over, I have yet to put a cigarette to my lips and have only once, with a bottle of wine, thought about lighting up.