Smoking Cessation Session

How To…Run a Smoking Cessation Session

Many of you have asked how you should go about constructing a smoking cessation programme for your clients, so here are a few helpful pointers which will guide your thinking and help you to get to grips with this multi-million pound problem.


There are many programmes out there to assist smokers to become non-smokers. Most rely on controlled withdrawal from the physical addiction to the chemicals within the cigarette. Is addiction a purely physical process or is there a deeply unconscious psychological strategy at work too? The psychological component of addiction to any substance is often overlooked as people get fixated on something that medical science can address, the physical chemistry and symptomatology of the body. So which came first, the physical addiction or the idea of the addiction which then manifested itself? An interesting concept.


The human relationship with smoking is an emotional one and this is very often ignored. Is it not possible that by resolving the emotional need to smoke we will encourage the unconscious mind to remove the addiction by healing the body and balancing the chemicals within it?


Experimentation with NLP techniques has shown that the effectiveness of addressing smoking purely by finding out how someone creates the requirement to smoke is 100% in cases where the client is committed to stopping their habit.


Here is a rough guide to assist you in creating a smoking cessation programme:


  • Schedule in about 8 hours of one to one time with the client, probably over several weeks.
  • Set a gruelling task before you see them for the first meeting. For example, have them keep a smoking diary containing details of every cigarette smoked, the time of day, where they were, who they were with and what they were feeling when they smoked it. For a heavy smoker, this is a massive undertaking and will help you to be sure of their commitment to the process and that they are willing to follow your instructions. Please only see the client when they have completed the task to your satisfaction.
  • Look for secondary gain. A smoker with secondary gain will not stop until they let go of their gain.
  • Select questions from the detailed personal history to discover how it is possible that the client remembers to run their strategy to smoke, without fail, every day. Look for tell-tale patterns in the smoking diary.
  • You may need to do a Parts Integration for ‘part of me wants to give up whilst on the other hand I want to keep smoking because I enjoy it.’ Resolve this conflict and then ask the client to decide to be a non-smoker.
  • The work you then do with the client will have nothing to do with smoking. You will address the emotional process which compels them to smoke.
  • If there is a lot of negative emotion from the past contributing to the need to smoke then do Time Line Therapy™ Techniques, also removing limiting decisions/beliefs about being a smoker.
  • Have them produce a goal which describes in detail how it will look, sound, feel, smell, taste to be free of smoking and put the goal into their future Time Line.
  • Elicit their strategies for smoking. There will be a different trigger for strategies in each social context, so you will need to elicit all of their strategies. Break each strategy down and re-construct it so that the client can behave differently in response to specific triggers.
  • Re-frame and use quantum linguistic language patterns to have the client notice a reality where they are a non-smoker.
  • Teach highly visual clients how to change the sub-modalities of their images of smoking to create a non-smoking resource.
  • Set up a powerful resource anchor for the client to utilise when they feel themselves slipping into an un-resourceful state.
  • Use the pendulum to have the unconscious mind clear out the body of nicotine and other unhelpful chemicals associated with smoking.
  • If appropriate, create a hypnotic script to cement in the changes made.
  • Follow up with the client to ensure that they remain a non-smoker. Give them tasks to practice being a non-smoker, like playing outside with their children and noticing the freedom of their breathing, exercising more and noticing how their body shape changes as well as their ease of respiratory effort, going out for a really great meal and noticing how the flavour of the food intensifies.


When you get some really great results with your clients, we’d love to hear about it. Remember to charge appropriately!