Weight Management/Smoking Cessation
Losing weight is clearly one of the most challenging goals for anyone. It's not merely that it takes self-discipline, consistency, and ability to bounce back from slips. It's also that this culture makes temptation so. . . well, so tempting. You can hardly drive a block in any city without there being fast food options everywhere. You can't go into a grocery store check out line without offers of sweets on both sides. You can't go into a gas station without snacks of all kinds staring you in the face. Television and print ads showing people happily munching away bombard us from all directions. Obesity has reached record levels in the past twenty years even as the culture has become more health-conscious. Adult-onset diabetes has reached virtually epidemic proportions as well in the past twenty years. The Surgeon General has stated that it is irrefutable that being overweight is the second leading cause of preventable premature death, second only to smoking. If current trends continue -- decrease in levels of smoking in the country while obesity and diabetes increase -- it is likely that weight problems will someday relatively soon overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable premature death in our country.
Most clients who see me for weight management are interested in using hypnosis. The way in which hypnosis is used to help with this problem is similar to how it is used to help a person quit smoking (see my web page on smoking cessation for information about how hypnosis works), however if you have a serious weight problem, I strongly suggest that you return for reinforcement sessions periodically during your weight loss. Whether you come two times or ten times, each session will be unique and attempt to address your concerns and needs at that point in time. But remember that reinforcement sessions are completely up to you. There is no obligation or contract that requires you to return for any additional sessions. You are the one who ultimately determines how much hypnosis is right for you. For some people even with serious weight issues, one session is sufficient to get you moving in the right direction.
As a psychologist, I can also provide strictly counseling/therapy services for weight loss without ever doing hypnosis. Often there are issues such as anxiety, depression, job, family, or marital problems that are involved in being overweight. Therefore if you need help with weight control but don't want to use hypnosis, I can still be of assistance using conventional therapy techniques.
I also understand enough about nutrition to suggest and steer you towards healthy eating habits. I don't advocate fad or radical diets. I do advocate sensible ways of eating that last a lifetime. In other words, once you lose your weight, you don't go "off the diet." Instead, you continue eating the way you have been eating while you lose weight because you've learned to eat properly. By the way, I do not ask you to give up any food 100 percent of the time. I wouldn't ask you to do anything I wouldn't do. I watch what I eat and exercise regularly, but also enjoy occasional indulgences. I think you can lose weight and keep it off without giving up any food or beverage 100 percent of the time. In fact, letting go and indulging once in a while actually works better in the long run. This way, you are not so frustrated so much of the time and apt to give up.
It is thought that hypnosis helps a person change behavior or attitude by affecting the subconscious mind. While it may be argued whether or not the subconscious controls behavior and attitude, it is a commonly accepted psychological principle that the subconscious has a great deal of influence on actions and perceptions. Many people think that in order to experience hypnosis, they will go into an altered state of mind in which they lose touch with what's going on around them, or go into a state of deep sleep, or become subject to being ordered to do things by the hypnotist. Nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, while hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness, you do not go to sleep, or become unconscious, or become unaware of what's going on around you. The pathway to the subconscious is through the conscious mind, so expect to be aware of where you are, the sounds that are present, and that you are in an office in which hypnosis is taking place.
A typical smoking cessation session consists of first, a brief interview to get acquainted, explain procedures, and answer any questions you might have. This gives me a chance to get to know you a little better than the time spent with you on the phone setting up the appointment. It further gives me an opportunity to determine what kinds of hypnotic suggestions will work best for you. In other words, I do not have a "cookie cutter" approach in which everyone who comes for help quitting smoking gets the same exact session. Instead, your session will be unique according to your personal needs.
After the interview, I will teach you how to do self-hypnosis. This will introduce you to hypnosis and also give you a technique you can use on your own in as little as five minutes or less to supplement the office visit. Then we will do the main part of the session, which is the use of hypnosis to help you quit smoking. This will involve five components: 1) the hypnotic induction; 2) deepening the experience; 3) suggestions to help you quit smoking; 4) post-hypnotic suggestions; and 5) emerging from the hypnotic experience. The entire session will be recorded and burned onto a CD which you will receive upon completion of the session. A big part of your treatment will be to listen to the CD from time to time because in that way you can replicate the hypnotic session for smoking cessation in the comfort of your own space. Finally, you will receive written material covering such things as behavior modification, stress management, and meditation.
When I started conducting hypnosis sessions in 1981 and in many of the years since then, there were neither nicotine replacement systems nor medicines specifically designed to help people quit smoking. Since I worked successfully with hundreds of people before these other treatments existed, I know hypnosis can work on its own. Yet if you want to use hypnosis along with one or both of these other treatment options, it is clearly compatible to use hypnosis with a nicotine replacement system, or with medication, or with both.
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Behavioral Health Associates
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