Interview with Angela Barrus on Hypnotherapy and Quitting Smoking

January 18th, 2011

For many smokers, traditionally methods of quitting smoking just don’t seem to work, however the practise of hypnotherapy has garnered success where other methods have failed.  We tracked down licensed hypnotherapist Angela Barrus to learn more about this method, how it works, and who should try it.

All Treatment: What is hypnotherapy?

Angela Barrus: Hypnosis is the state of relaxation we all reach just before falling asleep or waking up. That state of relaxation is the pathway to the subconscious mind, where all of our memories and habit patterns lie. Hypnotherapy is a technique of comfortably and gently quieting the mind to access the subconscious mind and utilize the inner healing intelligence to do what it needs to do for each client. Hypnotherapy is effective because it reaches the root of an issue with ease and comfort as the client enjoys being in a relaxed state. It is known as one the most results-oriented modalities available to create change in one’s life. Hypnotherapy is completely safe, painless, and very effective in enhancing ones self-esteem, eliminating anxiety of all types, managing pain and disability, reducing stress, eliminating bad habits and phobias, and so much more—including addiction recovery.

AT: As a hypnotherapist, what are your views of smoking and the quitting process?

AB: Smoking is more than just a physical addiction to nicotine—it is also an addiction on the mental and emotional levels. Because hypnotherapy is, by its nature, a holistic tool, it is very effective at addressing the addiction on all of its levels. For example, applying a nicotine patch can be effective in stepping down a client from their physical addiction to nicotine; however, without addressing the mental or emotional reasons (obstacles) why a person uses cigarettes, you create a high risk of relapse. Also, willpower is often not enough to achieve the goal, but when the obstacles are removed at all levels the mind is able to put forth the full power of its will for complete success. In addition, every smoker has a cluster of reasons that caused him or her to begin smoking, such as curiosity, peer pressure, boredom, etc. As with any addictive drug, the first pleasurable experience is recorded in the subconscious mind, along with all of the sensory input that exists at that time and place, such as aromas, colors, sights, surroundings, etc. These become environmental cues that trigger and sustain the addiction. In order for a person to be able to quit smoking, it is often necessary to rectify the reasons for starting and to neutralize the sustaining environmental cues.

AT:  How does the hypnotherapy process work?

AB: Have you ever been driving down the freeway and missed your exit? Or drifted off during a movie, then come back and wonder what happened? Both are examples of hypnosis, which is a natural state of mind that we all drift into and out of each day without being aware of it. “Hypnosis” is a straight path to the subconscious mind, allowing an opportunity to apply “therapy” (the term Hypnotherapy) to release obstacles that keep us from achieving what we most desire and promoting peace and mental clarity. Without the obstacles to “trigger” unwanted habits or behavior, lasting positive change is manifest. The “Beyond Smoking” program identifies the reasons the client began to smoke, neutralizes or eliminates them, and changes erroneous beliefs, values, emotions, and habit patterns that sustain the addiction.AT: Why should a smoker consider hypnotherapy as opposed to more traditional methods of quitting? Does it have a higher success rate?

AB: I would recommend hypnotherapy as a means to move beyond smoking not only because it has a very high success rate, as well as a low rate for relapse, but also because it allows the person to continue to use cigarettes while they outgrow smoking in a very natural way. Nicotine replacement, prescription drugs, and other methods only address the physiological and anatomical aspects of smoking leaving room for relapse during times of stress.
AT:  Do you think hypnotherapy is right for all smokers or does it depend on the individual (i.e., should someone try a traditional method first and move on to hypnotherapy if it doesn’t work, or should they begin with hypnotherapy)? How would one know if hypnotherapy is right for them?

AB: As with any method you use to promote health or change, it is important to consider all of the options before making the decision that you think will be best for you. Of course, the best way is the way that works! No two people are alike. Anyone can move beyond smoking permanently with the use of hypnotherapy, provided they choose the right hypnotherapist, they have a strong desire, they are open and receptive, and they are willing to follow behavioral instructions. The great thing about hypnotherapy is that it is a tool that can be tailored to the specific needs of the individual, and, therefore, it works very gently and effectively for the majority of people. What we hear most often from clients who want to quit smoking is “I have tried everything but I just can’t seem to quit.” What we say is, “It’s easy to quit when you know how.” Our program creates the foundation for lasting success and sends you home with tools to create success in other areas of your life as well. What can be better than that?AT:  Is hypnotherapy a viable option for other drugs such as alcohol, meth, heroin, etc?

AB: Hypnotherapy can be very beneficial in the long-term success of breaking the mental and emotional addictions associated with these substances. In some situations it is highly recommended or required that the client is also completing an addiction treatment program through a medical or otherwise qualified program to treat the physical addiction as well.
AT:  Any last thoughts on hypnotherapy in regards to smoking that you think others should know?

AB: Be aware that not all hypnotherapy is equal. We use a program called “Beyond Smoking,” created by a master in the field, that is unique and innovative. Traditional hypnotherapy uses suggestions, which often have a ‘shelf life.’ This is why some clients who have utilized suggestion-based hypnotherapy might quit smoking for a time but return to the habit later on. The “Beyond Smoking” program is not suggestion-based hypnotherapy. In fact, it is far beyond traditional hypnotherapy. Unlike other forms of therapy, it is possible to get well without reliving painful events. It also stands apart from other modalities because client goals are reached with short sessions, saving time and money. Also, as clients achieve their goal of moving beyond smoking they can enjoy many other benefits: you can sleep better, increase your energy, and enjoy being able to think more clearly. It is an honor to lock arms with clients on their personal journey of renewal. We serve the Seattle area, Seattle’s Eastside, and the Snoqualmie Valley where Empower Your Life Hypnotherapy is located. Sessions can also be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s home or office via phone or Skype. We offer a free consultation to answer all of your questions. To set an appointment, email [email protected] or call 425-443-6247. Enjoy the freedom that you deserve!
S. Cody Barrus
Managing Editor

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