Hypnotherapy for Compulsive Behaviours.
Many people find that the initial motivation to stop a compulsive behaviour such as smoking or gambling can become reduced over time and they give in to that ‘one’ cigarette or equivalent.
Each action in our lives is a result of an impulse which gives way to a reaction. Compulsion arises when the impulse causes us to take a course of action which we no longer desire to take, but lack the motivation to control.
With compulsion these responses have become an ingrained habit on which we have placed some perceived value or use. The habit is maintained by holding on to this perceived benefit despite the evidence against it.
The smoker may believe that they need a cigarette to manage stress, others may be chasing a perceived high, the gambler may be chasing that big win, but they all build up a positive expectation and anticipation that the habit will achieve. It is very rare that we will maintain a habit without anticipation of positive reward, even if this positive reward is very infrequent. It is interesting to note that damage to a certain part of the brain which is believed to be connected to the ability to anticipate certain emotional states, ceases any previous compulsion.
The impulses to indulge in certain activities can be triggered by various thoughts (including emotions), behaviours or environments and this forms a conditioned response to the habit.
When we first give up a habit our motivation is high and this can be elevated and embedded in the subconscious by hypnosis, but as time passes we may lose sight of our motivation and when faced with a behaviour trigger the person may slip up.
It is important, therefore to be aware of your personal triggers and to strengthen your motivations prior to being faced with them. You may choose to remind yourself each day/week using affirmations, or many people find that their resolve to quit the habit is increased when they see another person out of control with their own compulsions. Some choose to attend meetings. Each day a person breaks the habit, new neural pathways are strengthened and feelings of personal efficacy are heightened.
If a slip up occurs you must not attribute this to personal negative attributes such as ‘I am no good at this’, ‘it is too hard for me’, ‘I am a failure’ or any other personally damming statements.
One slip does not equal failure, only that you were not prepared for that trigger and you need to plan for future obstacles. You are on the pathway of stopping and you must remember that each journey has its obstacles and pot holes which need to be overcome, you do not need to run back to the beginning and start again!
Hypnotherapy can increase motivation and decrease desire, working with both conscious and subconscious patterns of thoughts, beliefs and behaviour.