Having worked with many clients over the years with addictions including alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, ketamine and gambling it is often the case that although the addict wishes to stop using and believes that their lives would be much better without the addictive habit, something undermines all their attempts to stop.
In many cases they find that there is a small part of them that still believes that the addiction serves some positive purpose and that life without it would be unhappy or somehow less enjoyable. Motivation to stop can then be reduced and two warring parts are created, one demanding that the addiction stops and beating the ‘self’ up when it indulges and the other ignoring all the rationale and logic that it is given to stop.
The addict may want to stop in the same way as we may want to do a lot of things such as be richer, work harder, do more exercise etc., but do we find the prospect of having to put in the effort to do these things more daunting than simply carrying with the same old routine? Is the thought of life without the addiction and all that it entails more appealing than the life as a user?
Hypnosis can be used to understand the motivations both towards the addiction and away from it and create a negative empathy to the habit. When I was at university I recall my professor saying that she thought smokers had more empathy (she was of course a smoker) but of course it is only positive empathy that makes people smoke… I was once a smoker but now the thought of tasting smoke and breathing it in totally repulses me to the extent that the mere thought of it makes me feel sick! If each time you thought about doing something you could perceive no reward and only sickness, you wouldn’t do it, would you?
I usually see clients for an initial intensive session examining all aspects of the habit and concluding with a hypnotherapy session based on all the information gathered. Where the addiction is more deeply rooted and has been used to cover abuse or as a tool to escape from depression or anxiety, these issues often need to be worked on in more depth before the addiction can be released.
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