Quit Smoking for Good this Stoptober!

Yes, it’s almost here.  The NHS’s “Stoptober” event designed to help smokers quit before Christmas.  They got a great support package and even a cute App to use.

In support of the event I’ve sent out a press release to local media addressed to those who are thinking of using hypnosis to support their efforts to quit.  Here’s what it says…

Local hypnotherapist provides support for NHS “Stoptober” Campaign

A Havering based hypnotherapist is urging the public to look for practitioners registered with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) if they want to use hypnotherapy to help them give up smoking during the NHS’s Stoptober campaign.

Many people use hypnotherapy to help them to stop smoking. The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) was set up 18 months ago with government funding and support to provide a central registry of practitioners who are fully trained and qualified to  meet the standards and requirements of the CNHC and to follow their strict Code of Practice.

Keith Jefford, who was trained by the Institute of Clinical Hypnosis in London and is among one of the first hypnotherapists in the UK to be registered with the CNHC says: “Hypnotherapy is often used to help clients achieve the behavioural change needed to stop smoking and it’s so important they use someone who knows what they are doing.  In my experience, it is vital that the hypnotherapist has the training, skill and experience to be flexible.  Each client must be treated as an individual, and the hypnotherapist has to adapt their treatment to suit each person’s requirement and personality.  The CNHC symbol acts as a mark of professional quality and high standards of service”.

Keith added that: “members of the public can search the CNHC register at www.cnhc.org.uk  to find practitioners in their local area.  More than 170,000 searches have been carried out since the register first opened in 2009”

I know that I’ve blogged about this before, but the CNHC is there for the protection of the public and NHS therapy commissioning services alike, so if you know anyone who thinking about using hypnosis to quit the demon weed, please get them to check the CNHC Register first to ensure that they have the best possible chance of succeeding.

Can Anger Management therapy really work?

I’ve worked with several people lately who have come to me with Anger management issues.

Sometimes they had already lost people they love or jobs they really enjoyed because of their flashes of anger or uncontrollable and intimidating outbursts of physical or verbal abuse.

Others have arrived looking stunned and in a state of shock.  Often they’ve been told by a court or a partner that they have to seek out treatment to deal with their problem or suffer the consequences.  They often have only just begun to realise the devastating consequences of their actions.

Some people realise their problem; others are in denial, claiming that they just have a quick temper – “I just have an outburst and then it’s all over” – without realising the damage it is doing to the recipient of the outburst.

As I therapist I have no magic wand that tells me who’s telling me the truth about the extend of their anger or its true causes; all I can do is work with what I’m told at our first consultation and then explore possible causes arising from upbringing, life experiences etc.  as we progress.

Anger has many causes.  Sometimes an individual might have an ongoing psychotic mental health problem (paranoid schizophrenia for example) which requires specialist diagnosis and the help of psychiatric healthcare professionals who are able to create drug and therapy programmes designed to help patients control their illness and return to normal functioning.   I refer to this as a functional problem, and is beyond the remit of therapy to resolve.

In many cases, however, anger can be the product of emotional trauma, such as being betrayed by a trusted partner in business or in love, or the sudden loss a parent or child resulting in unresolved grief, or the outcome of a sudden traumatic event leading to creation of symptoms of (or even full-blown) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

In other cases it can be a learned behaviour – the result of being raised in a chaotic or combative family where aggression is the norm, or is the only way of protecting personal possessions or avoiding being picked on.

I therefore start therapy by taking a thorough Case History.  This is only a three page questionnaire but by the end I know everything I need to about the client’s life, family relationships and major life issues.  From this information I can begin to isolate and investigate those issues/events which might be driving anger.

In effect, what I do is identify “buttons”.  The buttons which get pressed by a partner, or an innocent customer standing in a pub.  The words which, when spoken, provoke an instant and frightening verbal or physical attack.

Couples who’ve been together for a while know all about buttons.  They know exactly what to say  to provoke an instant fight – “You’re lazy”, “You’re selfish”, “It’s no wonder the kids hate you”.  But while their arguments might be loud and unpleasant, most couples arguments don’t end up in the casualty department of a local hospital or in the police being called.

My job as a therapist is therefore to identify the buttons and then to help defuse them.  To drain off the emotional fuel which drives them so they no longer cause volcanic eruptions of rage. 

I therefore approach Anger Management in two main ways:-

i)  To straight away teach a client a number of methods for becoming aware of what drives their anger (the Buttons) and then fast ways of controlling rising anger – in effect, changing the response to the things which make them angry – thus teaching a client right from the outset how to keep themselves and others,  safe in stressful situations.

ii)  At the same time, I try to establish the reasons for a client feeling angry.  Often this is obvious; at other times it has been blocked and needs exploration before it emerges in conversation.  Either way, I look to deal with the emotions and feelings of frustration, fear, anxiety etc which have led to the anger emerging.  These unresolved emotions are the fuel for anger. If we remove the fuel, the anger just evaporates.

iii)  Having done this, I then help the client to see their lives in a new way. To notice the change in the response of loved ones, friends and workmates to this new calmer person.  How new opportunities arise in their lives.  How they become more secure, more loved and valued.

And the therapy need not take lots of sessions.  I have completed work with one client in five sessions – the last of which was a session to explain to his partner how we had managed to bring about such a dramatic (and hopefully) lasting change in his behaviour!

One last word.  To all those women who think they can change a violent or abusive man.  You can’t.  Leave the relationship and put the experience behind you.  Protect yourself and your children.  You must understand that you are a catalyst to your partner’s anger. Whatever you do, whatever you say, you are part of the problem. You will never be able to effect change alone.  Your partner needs to be evaluated to eliminate functional causes and then to work with someone independent of your relationship who can use the therapies needed to bring about change – if change is possible.  The best thing you can do for your partner and yourself is to remove yourself to a place of safety and to urge them to seek professional help and resolution before it’s too late. 

Some Advice about Giving Up Smoking using Hypnosis

It’s Lung Cancer awareness month and so giving up smoking is the topic of the day

Hypnosis tends to attract people who have failed to quit through will-power or through the use of nicotine patches. Having failed on their own, they are looking for someone with the magic bullet to stop the habit dead in its tracks.

The bad news folks, is that it doesn’t work that way. I turn away as many people as I take on for smoking cessation because, in their heart of hearts, many don’t want to give up. My heart always sinks when someone rings me and says “I though I’d have a go at hypnosis” or “my husband keeps nagging me to stop” because in neither case is the individual in the right place to succeed.

No matter how someone tries to convince you, take it from me that if you don’t want to give up smoking, hypnosis on its own won’t work. You’ll fall off the waggon at the first opportunity and you’ll tell all your friends “I tried being hypnotised but it didn’t work”.


 Tip No1 – don’t try hypnotherapy until you are really, really fed up with smoking, are bored with worrying about it, envy non-smokers and hate nearly every cigarette you have. THEN you’re ready for hypnosis.

Tip No2 – you need to prepare for your session. A few days before your session, wash all your clothes, get your suits or dresses dry cleaned, thoroughly clean the car, throw away ALL ashtrays and lighters (even if relatives and friends smoke they can do it in the garden from now on), thoroughly vacuum the house and install new air fresheners. Buy a new toothbrush and keep for use after you’ve had your very last cigarette.

Tip No3 – on the morning of your treatment really ENJOY your very last cigarette. Savour every lungful. And then put it out, pour water over the rest of the pack (don’t give them away, destroy them), have a shower, brush your teeth with your OLD toothbrush and throw it away (because it will taste of cigarettes) and use your new one from now on. Do not smoke any more cigarettes, even if your session is late in the evening (you might be surprised to find that having done all this preparatory work, you won’t actually be craving one).

Tip No4Relax and let go as you begin your cessation session.  Let your mind be still and be really honest about how you feel about smoking, how many you smoke etc. Your therapist should always take a full Case History  and Smoking History.  NOW your ready for your hypnosis!! BTW, I never use scare tactics in my therapy. Smokers are already acutely aware of the dangers of smoking so why try to add more angst? Instead, I use powerful suggestions to remove the urge to smoke, always getting the permission of the subconscious mind to co-operate in the process (I once had a frequently lapsing smoker who at the point of having his subconscious asked for co-operation became quietly upset. When I asked about the reason for his becoming tearful, he told me that he saw smoking as the last remaining link with his deceased mother and that it was so powerful a feeling, it sabotaged his every attempt to quit. We dealt with this in a few minutes and he left the office happy and convinced that he would never smoke again).

Tip No5 – On completion your hypnosis, you should always be taught how to think, act and speak like a non-smoker. This is an important part of the process. Always ensure that your therapist is prepared to teach you to do this. Without this knowledge, you run the risk of continuing to be a “temporary” non-smoker.

Tip No6 – Do not get drunk for at least ONE MONTH after your treatment and do not try to test your hypnosis. Drink will weaken your willpower and you run the risk of a momentary lapse. Similarly, non-smokers don’t need to test themselves to see if they are still non-smokers, they just are. Think of yourself as being just like an alcoholic – you can’t afford to have single shot of your favourite poison. You don’t smoke. You don’t ask for a drag of a cigarette, light one for someone else, stand outside pubs in the pouring rain. Non-smokers don’t do that sort of thing.

To read more, take a look at my website www.keithjeffordhypnotherapy.co.uk and go to the Smoking Cessation page. Good luck with your efforts!

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