17 year old wants to stop smoking

I do not take on clients who are not prepared to pay for their own treatment, I have been asked many times if I would treat someone’s partner, husband, or wife if they pay for treatment as birthday, anniversary, Christmas gifts.

Why you may ask?

Because the potential client probably doesn’t want to stop smoking or is agreeing to treatment just to appease a partner, wife, husband, parent, there is no engagement of incentive to want to make a change. Just because you want them to stop drinking, using drugs, smoking, watching internet pornography, doesn’t mean they do, after all, why should they stop doing what they enjoy,  just to please you?

However, I get this call from an anxious mother who has a seventeen-year-old boy she has discovered is now smoking. He is a keen rugby player the habit has taken hold and he is currently smoking about ten per day.

The family have sat down together and he has decided to stop smoking. Other interventions have failed so mom decided to call a hypnotherapist, me. She relates the story and it has been agreed that the family will buy him a course of treatment with me, and can she book an appointment.

My immediate answer is a gentle no for the reasons I have previously outlined. However, her persistence paid off after a little begging and pleading I agree to at least meet her son and have a discussion.

On the day mom and son arrive, after half an hour, I can see that the son has genuinely tried to stop, but peer pressure and habit keep overriding his desire to quit.

This is a familiar behaviour pattern I know personally. But we needed to find a way of resolving this.

I won’t let mom pay, he wants to stop.

My time has value, and he needs to have some sense of engagement with the process.

I ask if he has any commitments on Sunday mornings and that if he is prepared to clean my car for the next four weeks I will treat him. Unsurprisingly and with no prompting from his mother he agrees.  We exchange addresses and I ask him to call me and tell me what time he will be there.

As good as his word every Sunday he appears, bucket and sponge in hand and my car looks fantastic.

After the third week, I give him the pre-session talk and the self-monitoring information and tell him to prepare to be a non-smoker next week. A single one and a half-hour session the following week focusing on his habit and all the negatives,  re-assessment about how he deals with the peer pressure, a story about a baby elephant as a metaphor (don’t ask) read it here  and he leaves a happy and content non-smoker.

Mom is delighted he went on to university and still plays rugby, I occasionally get an email or a phone call from someone who wants to see me because of what he tells them.