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Real Hope for Smokers

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Cathy Simmons

Autumn 2017

How it can be easier than you think to stop smoking permanently


Confession of a Stop Smoking Specialist

Well, before I start, I really must ‘fess up!’

Yes – I was a smoker. I was a smoker for many years and although, if anyone were to ask at the time, I would probably say I smoked about a packet a day, but to be honest, on some days it was more like 30 a day.

Not only that, but I was one of those who lit up as soon as they were awake. Yep, I’m afraid so.

But one day, back in November 2005, I left an office and I KNEW I would never smoke again.

I had a certainty I had never felt before. It felt AMAZING!

How could this have worked for someone who had lost all hope of ever being free of the evil weed and had tried so many things before?

This was the start of a fascination that led to me training with The Quest Institute and learning as much as I could about the science of addiction, so that I could use Cognitive Hypnotherapy to help as many other smokers get free as I possibly could.

So, I’d understand if you thought it would be easy for me to say, “I understand what you are going through” to someone wanting to stop; for me to think that everyone feels the same as I did and has the same challenges – but here’s the thing – everyone is different and every smoker is different too.

This is the key to success. And that’s why Cognitive Hypnotherapy is different from many other approaches to stopping.

You won’t get a formula, a set of scripts that are read out in order. You won’t get a set of ‘techniques’ that claim to work for everyone every time. Instead, we work together, as two unique human beings, to craft the result that you are searching for, working from a solid foundation.

So, what’s going on?

Let me tell you a little about how nicotine addiction works, and if you are a smoker, please take this message away with you: it’s not your fault!

It’s all about food, sex and security!

You see, there are three things that human beings need to actively seek out in order to survive, and these three things are food, sex and security.

And for us to actively seek these out, we need some sort of mechanism to motivate us to do this. After all, if we never felt hungry, or afraid, we would never eat or run for cover, would we?

And this mechanism exists in our very own motivate/reward system.

So, let’s take food as an example. Under normal circumstances, when we need food, we are motivated by hunger. That motivation starts small and builds up until we are almost ‘compelled’ to do something about it.

We eat. We feel satisfied. Everything is OK. We stay alive.

And, as an added bonus, this same mechanism helps us learn about all the places, people, things, sounds, smells and emotions that might signal the presence of food: good to know in case there’s famine.

So that, the next time we are faced with one of these things (or triggers), it kicks off the motivation cycle all over again and leads to a physiological desire. Again, a fantastic design that keeps us alive.

So what’s all this got to do with nicotine?

Well nicotine artificially stimulates this whole system in such a way that we unconsciously learn that nicotine is as essential for life as food, sex and security are.

Every time we smoke, the nicotine stimulates our reward system (even if we don’t feel we’ve had a reward) and lays down the same learning signals and triggers as it would if we’d found a great source of food.

Take the example of someone who always smokes at a pub. When they get to the pub, “Aha” says the motivate/ reward system – “I recognise this place – this is where I get this nicotine stuff that is essential for life, I’ll make him want more of it, in case there is famine tomorrow”. So, the poor smoker starts to want a cigarette immediately. Cruel, eh?

Now, of course, this is really simplifying things, but can you see how nicotine can hijack our natural survival systems? Chances are, if you smoke, you are already aware of times and places that lead to really wanting one, and yet other times when you can go for ages without even thinking about smoking.

If you think about it, this is great news. It means that if we change the way our mind reacts to the awareness of these triggers, then you could go through every minute of the day without even thinking about it at all.

Of course, smoking is about more than triggers, but I’m hoping that you are beginning to see how, by understanding this, the right therapist can guide you through to a smoke-free life, far easier than you might expect.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy is based upon an understanding of neuroscience, and, especially with something like smoking, it is crucial to understand what is going on ‘under the bonnet’ so that we can apply the amazing framework that we have learned, in a way that is very targeted by the neuroscience, but still beautifully tailored to the individual.

We are more than our physiology

We are more than just a bunch of physiology after all, aren’t we?

We are all unique individuals with our unique experiences of smoking.

I’ve worked with clients who had been smoking 60–80 per day who believed they had smoked so much for so long that it would be impossible to stop, and I’ve also worked with clients who smoked as few as 2 per week.

I worked with those who vape, those who chew gum and, in so many cases, it has been far easier than they had ever expected.

But I don’t want to stop 100%

Remember how our system has learnt that nicotine is essential for life? Then it is no surprise that there may be a part of a smoker that really doesn’t want to stop. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

So, there’s no need to be concerned if you don’t feel 100% ready to stop. Your therapist understands this and will gently guide you through it.

And You see, for some of us, there are beliefs and assumptions that we hold at an unconscious level, in other words, we are not necessarily aware that we have them, and these are very often formed by what society tells us or even from the supposed ‘helpful’ comments of our friends and loved ones and especially ex-smokers!

For example, I was constantly told that even if I stopped ‘you will always want one’ and I was terrified of living my life like that. Guess what – IT WASN’T TRUE, but because I had heard it several times it had embedded itself as a ‘truth’ in my mind at an unconscious level.

What else? For some of us, even if we know we can stop, it can still be hard for us to imagine ourselves free of it and that, in itself, can be a challenge.

A skilled therapist will be able to guide you to seeing and feeling exactly how amazing it really can be to be free of cigarettes for life and, once you know that, you also know it is possible.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy can deal with all of this

Cognitive Hypnotherapists are in the best possible position to get you the help you need. They have been taught about the neuroscience of behaviour, and trained in how to tailor everything for their clients. You will be in the safest possible hands.

Because, by dealing with all the aspects involved with nicotine addiction, it is possible to completely break the hold of cigarettes with the expert guidance of a Cognitive Hypnotherapist who has this understanding of nicotine addiction. The great news is that by designing each session for each unique individual means that it really can be easier than you might have ever thought, to stop and stay stopped, and to become a healthy and happy non-smoker for life.


Feel free contact Cathy for a pressure-free chat at