May 31, 2023


Better Ingredients

Milton H. Erickson’s Hypnotherapeutic Approach to Smoking Cessation

Milton H. Erickson always had advocated autohypnosis. He believes that there are certain personal issues that can only be resolved in time, and needs a deeper reflection to one’s values and intensive evaluation of lifestyle. It is important to note, that regardless of whether it is assisted or not, it is still called hypnosis. Erickson summarized that habits that were formed through time, should also be treated over time. One of the most notable works that he formulated is the brief therapy, which is widely used in the clinical setting. This technique only applies to acute cases of psychological or mental disorder, like PTSD.

Smoking cessation is one of the most talked about social issues of today. It stretches from the dilemma created by personal beliefs, to the beliefs about the hazards of smoking influenced by other people. Erickson provided us with one key strategy in performing self-hypnosis. “Learn to find the answers from within.” This is significantly accurate when we talk about stopping bad habits like smoking, drinking, and drug abuse. Since a person’s unconscious is built by experiences and interactions with other people, looking deep into it and collecting all the important points and belief of an individual, is the first step in making progress with self-hypnosis. The subject will be able to pick from all presuppositions that he has about smoking, and from there would start to eliminate the unnecessary urges for smoking.

Erickson also instructs patients to not be too hard on themselves if the goal of smoking cessation is not achieved after a single hypnotic experience. Generally, the changes will become apparent when the body had already been conditioned for a new pattern of activities without smoking. Milton H. Erickson pointed out that it is crucial a person should not be coerced when doing self-hypnosis so as to stop a nasty habit. It should always come from the voice within for addiction to cease and leave a person.

The willingness of a person to go into trance and discover his unconscious will solely depend on his ability to form a structure of change once under hypnosis. If done with an experimenter, the sessions to stop smoking will take a few weeks or even months to accomplish.

As per Milton H. Erickson standards, a hypnotherapist should initially build a trusting relationship to the patient, so as when under hypnosis, the patient will easily absorb the suggestions of the experimenter without resistance. An experimenter’s suggestion should always focus on the benefits on how smoking cessation will help a person achieve not only good health, but also will be economical to him and advantageous to personal growth. Instead of smoking divert the patient’s attention to more relevant and good healthy habits like sports.

It is important that hypnotists suggest a productive and socially acceptable activity that will replace a bad habit, in order for the change to be continuous and successful.

Smoking cessation is an unpleasant habit that we have formed mainly for reasons of peer pressure and stress. An individual’s health being jeopardized is enough reason for him to stop smoking. Hypnotherapy undoubtedly has helped a lot of chronic smokers with this problem. Psychiatrists and hypnotherapists are still relentless in pursuing hypnotherapy as an effective treatment for smoking cessation, and hopefully in time, a majority of smoker will be able to find it beneficial to go cold turkey once and for all.