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Gimme 3

By on October 14, 2014

There is all-ways a big debate about whether or not to use aversion therapy in hypnosis.  One type of aversion therapy would involve imagining the cigarettes as filled with noxious materials or being crawled over by cockroaches.  The other main type of inversion therapy would revolve around imagining the possible consequences of smoking, such as medical tests leading to a diagnosis of some terrible disease.

Some hypnotists swear by aversion therapy, and others think it is too harsh to use with clients, and can even be counterproductive as it can increase resistance in smokers. After all they have probably been told a thousand times not to smoke, and what the consequences of smoking might be.

However as Jess Marion points out, the consequences of smoking have not been accepted by their unconscious mind. It is that critical factor that resists taking in the information about the consequences. This is why smokers all very good at dissociating from the consequences of smoking.

Application to hypnosis for smoking

If you in favor of using aversion therapy in hypnosis, particularly for smoking, then this technique described by Will Storr in his article about Walter Mischel’s new book, The Marshmallow Test, might interest you. It is one that we have not seen used in quite this form before, although we do use a similar idea in the Tiger Pattern in our own smoking protocol ‘QUIT‘.

The idea is that the smoker will use the second type of aversion therapy, i.e.  imagining the potential medical outcome of the smoking, but they are trained to use it if and when they have the desire to smoke.

This is an interesting idea because it begins to link the potential consequences of smoking, with the desire for a cigarette. In this way the unconscious mind comes directly educated as to the potential consequences, by linking those consequences in a cause-effect with the desire for cigarette,  not necessarily with the smoking itself.

Here’s one more link to the article.

Mischel explains how he manipulated his own hot/cold systems when he was giving up smoking. He’d overwhelm his cravings by visualising a horrific memory of a cancer patient at Stanford’s medical school, “on a gurney [stretcher], with x-marks on his head and exposed chest, being wheeled into radiation”. In doing so, he “cooled” the part of his mind that was gasping for nicotine and “warmed up” the calculating bit by making the future consequences of smoking – the stench, the disease – a part of his immediate visceral experience. Via

Picture courtesy of David Castillo Dominci and

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