Quit Smoking Tips

Some well meaning quit smoking tips offered by various websites, to my mind, can actually prolong the smoking addiction. When we try to be who we are not, there is an added (but invisible) unconscious burden on the person. Take, for example, the “tip” that you tell your loved ones and friends you’re quitting smoking. Your smoking friends are told not to smoke in your presence. At work, you tell your workmates you’re quitting smoking and that you won’t join them on “smoko’s”. So, what happens now, is all eyes are on you to, well, succeed! Instead of benefiting from the support that this well meaning tip is supposed to give you, there is an added layer of stress, not only to overcome the addiction yourself, but to not let others down.

Another quit smoking tip that may have the opposite effect is to throw out all your cigarettes away. I have heard so many people say that just ends up wasting a lot of money. True success is when you don’t even want a cigarette even though it’s freely available around you. The more you throw out cigarettes, the more the unconscious message to yourself is that quitting is hard if cigarettes are around. Of course, cigarettes are around, even if it’s not in your home; you just have to go to the shops.

Some people say smoking is just an addiction of the mind. It’s a habit that’s ingrained into the mind and so becomes an addiction. While I don’t think nicotine is the main culprit, I do not agree with this line of thinking either, at least not as the only explanation of the addiction. The way I look at cigarette addiction (I don’t call it nicotine addiction – and I will explain why shortly) is that it is an addiction of deep inhalation for relaxing and de-stressing plus other individually formed associations that are perceived as desirable. Sure, nicotine is addictive, but the more serious addiction is the mechanism of smoking, not the nicotine.

Let me explain: when you smoke, you take a deep, usually very satisfying inhalation. This is when people feel the “high” of smoking. What if you are actually more addicted to the deep breathing than the chemicals you inhale? To find out if this is true for you, you can follow the following quit smoking tips for two weeks. If you find yourself reducing significantly the number of cigarettes you smoke, or quit altogether, after two weeks, you know that it is true for you.

Tip 1: Before every cigarette you smoke, take 20 long, deep, satisfying breaths.

Tip 2: Tell no one that you’re quitting until they notice you’re no longer smoking.

Tip 3: When you do smoke, only take short, sharp draws, the purpose is to take in the nicotine without the deep breaths. This will make your unconscious mind dissociate from the perceived “pleasure” of smoking (relaxing, etc).

Tip 4: Repeatedly tell yourself (out loud if possible) that you are breathing only fresh air, particularly just before sleep, and visualise yourself enjoying breathing fresh air (as opposed to “not smoking”. This is very important because the unconscious mind cannot do “negative hallucinations” – something NOT being there. If I tell you to NOT think of your first school dance, well, you have to think of it in order not to think of it. So, thinking about breathing only fresh air, how enjoyable it is, becomes a form of self-hypnosis, particularly powerful last thing at night.

Do this for two weeks and see if it helps. Please come back to Mind Renewal and post your comments to share with others. Thank you.

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Anger management for children.

Anger management for children differs from anger management for adults. There is an even greater need to use experiential learning approaches for children. This might be role play, art therapy, sandplay therapy and so on. Furthermore, parental support is vital. Parents often get angry at their angry children. Although this is a very natural reaction, it is not a helpful one, since the parent is reinforcing anger in the house by modelling it. Disciplining angry children requires parents with the strongest resolve to be consistent and firm, without displaying the very emotion (anger) they are trying to curb in their youngsters, something not many parents can do.

Just like therapy for adults,  anger management for children involves inner healing. Healing from what? – parents might ask. Sometimes, children can feel hurt with quite unjustified reasons. A lot of these may be mis-communication, particularly with time-poor parents. In therapy, the key parent(s) are required to have a session before the child engages in therapy. This session is psycho-education for parenting on an unconscious level, for effective influence. After this session, the parent(s) are equipped with the know-how to support the child while undergoing therapy and in the future.

It does not matter if your defiant teenager does not want therapy. If you can somehow get him/her to the clinic, there is a chance you will see change. An example comes to mind in which a 17 year old boy stared at me with daggered eyes with body language that says “you can’t make me talk”, as soon as his mum left. I asked him if he knew why he was sent to me. He said, “yup, mum says I have an anger problem”. I said, “do YOU think you have an anger problem”. He said, “nope, Mum’s the one who needs therapy”.

So I said, “seeing that you’ll be stuck with me here for a couple of hours, and seeing that nothing goes out of these four walls because of client confidentiality, is there anything that YOU wish to work on? We may as well make this time useful for you.” He thought about it for a while and said, “Yeah, can you help me with more confidence with girls…  and yes, more focus on my studies would be good too.”

A week after the session, mum called to book her other son in and said, “by the way, don’t know what you did, but Johnny has been an absolute angel this week”. What did I do?  I simply helped Johnny release his own frustrations, insecurities, worries, etc, so he no longer needed to express these feelings with anger. Sometimes, your child’s anger is NOT what you think it is!

If you have a question, please post it below. Your personal details will not be published.

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Weight Loss Starts With Your Inner Being.

A lot of money is being spent on weight loss programs, weight loss diets, some ligitimate, others are just fast weight loss gimmicks. One can google all types of weight loss tips. One can engage in weight loss therapies that helps with strategies to lose weight. One can even have hypnosis for “virtual gastric band”, or indeed, the real deal, and go under the knife. Some people opt for acupuncture for weight loss.  There is nothing wrong with any of these methods but what is missing is the very thing that over-weight people need to deal with: the self.

Most over-eating, under-exercising problems can be traced back to some emotional events in the past. The emotions of these events might no longer be in people’s consciousness, but they often remain in the unconscious. There are  therapies that work on the conscious level, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. There are therapies that work on the unconscious level, such as hypnosis and NLP. There are also therapies that aim at resolving these past emotional issues, such as psycho-dynamic therapy.

Inner Change Therapy (ICT) adopts a holistic approach, working with both conscious and unconscious material. The significant difference between ICT and other therapies is that there is less talking (recounting) and more deep-level reprocessing, hence it is a brief (usually 1-3 sessions) but deep, dynamic and powerful. Once your inner self is at peace, you will get slim and stay slim far more easily. Weight loss really starts with your inner being. I have used this style of therapy for 14 years, refining it along the way.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a post below. Your personal details will not be published.


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Quit smoking with hypnosis and experiential counselling.

If you want to quit smoking without withdrawal, the first thing you need to work with is your mind! While people believe nicotine is addictive, my experience is that when people’s minds are “changed”, they can’t stand the idea of cigarettes and certainly don’t miss them or have any withdrawal symptoms. How can that be? Very simply, your mind can overpower your physiology.

Hypnosis is known to help people quit smoking easily. However, until the underlying causes of needing to smoke (boredom, stress, habit, etc) are addressed, people will either take up the habit again when new stressors occur in their lives, or they may go on to other forms of addictions (food, alcohol, etc).

A more holistic approach is Inner Change Therapy which is based on experiential psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis (mostly open-eye hypnosis) and works deeply into these emotions without lengthy recounting of experiences that takes up costly therapy time, through implicit knowledge that presents relevant past experiences that are reprocessed experientially, involving all five senses, but only those experiences that are relevant to current desired change. It is a style of therapy that is brief (usually 1-3 sessions) but deep, dynamic and powerful. I have used this style of therapy for 14 years, refining it along the way.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a post below. Your personal details will not be published.


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Depression is curable.

Overcoming depression may seem illusive to sufferers. Depression treatments include pharmacology, counselling and in severe depression, sometimes even electro-convulsive shock therapy. Beating depression is not always easy, but for some people, the courage to heal from past pain can liberate them from this debilitating condition.

Inner Change Therapy works quite differently from most psychotherapeutic disciplines. I do not dig or delve into your past, but rather allow you to work quietly (and deeply) through implicit knowledge to bring up relevant material for re-processing. I integrate clinical hypnosis with experiential psychotherapy, but with a strong focus on implicit knowledge. Much of the work is done in a deeply reflective, silent mode. There is less talking (I do not need to know the details of your past – you know them already), but more re-processing of emotions from past events that present themselves spontaneously for resolution, which are usually extremely relevant. The process involves bridging the unconscious and the conscious. It is a therapy that is brief (usually 1-3 sessions) but deep, dynamic and powerful. I have used this style of therapy for 14 years, refining it along the way.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a post below. Your personal details will not be published.


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Anger Management

If you are seeking an answer to the question “how to control anger”, you are probably asking the wrong question. The term anger management, as a goal to be achieved, is an unsatisfactory term because  it is a goal that implies that, at the end of it, there is still going to be anger that needs to be “managed”. Most people who read anger management books, or take anger management courses or engage in anger management programs know that they have a problem because they know rationally that their anger is unjustified anger: their angry reaction is disproportional to what the situation calls for.

A better question to ask oneself might be, “how can I change so that my reaction to situations are reasonable, sensible, rational and results in resolution of conflicts?” Answering this question necessarily involves working with both the conscious and unconscious. Psychotherapy has always recognised that the unconscious mind is powerful and controls words that just “fly out of the mouth” and actions that are more accurately described as reactions. This is why working just on a cognitive level (reading books, attending courses, or engaging in cognitively focused therapies) generally does not help very much, because it is not only conscious functioning that is involved. At the other end of the scale, just working on the unconscious, such as using hypnotic suggestions that the person will now speak and act calmly, also may have limited effectiveness. This is because the unconscious mind stores repressed angry emotions of the past until those emotions present for resolution.

Inner Change Therapy is based on experiential psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis (mostly open-eye hypnosis) and works deeply into these emotions without lengthy recounting of experiences that takes up costly therapy time, through implicit knowledge that presents relevant past experiences that are reprocessed experientially, involving all five senses, but only those experiences that are relevant to current desired change. It is a style of therapy that is brief (usually 1-3 sessions) but deep, dynamic and powerful. I have used this style of therapy for 14 years, refining it along the way.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a post below. Your personal details will not be published.

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PTSD counselling : talk therapy not best approach.

There are many forms of PTSD counselling, many cognitive rather than experiential. It has been known for over a decade now, that adults with a history of trauma and symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have a decreased volume of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is shaped like a sea-horse at the base of the skull which is responsible for integrating cognition and sensory/motor information from experience. This part of the brain also has connections to the prefrontal cortex of the brain which is involved in decision making and executive functions. Damage to the hippocampus leads to fragmentation of memory, so that “declarative memory” fails to store in the prefrontal cortex.  We do not yet know for sure whether trauma is the cause of a reduced hippocampus or is the consequence of it. However, research seems to suggest it is the cause[1].

Declarative memory is the type of memory that can be consciously recalled and is also known as explicit memory, which is memory of facts and knowledge, such as learned facts (semantic) and what happened (episodic), as opposed to procedural memory, which is more unconsciously recalled, such as skills, as in how to ride a bicycle. In PTSD sufferers, both memory storage and retrieval are affected. Using brain function scans, PTSD sufferers are found to have the limbic system and visual cortex activated but not the prefrontal cortex and left hemisphere speech areas, as in non-traumatised people’s memory recall. Memories for trauma, therefore, are stored in non-verbal ways and recalled as feelings and sensations, not as a verbal narrative[2].

In counselling, for PTSD symptoms to be relieved, the “trauma narrative” needs to be processed. If, however, trauma memory recall is non-verbal, then “talk therapy” alone may not be sufficient in retrieving, reprocessing and giving new meanings and understanding to traumatic events, so that current symptoms can be alleviated. When survivors of trauma are exposed to certain cues, sometimes those repressed memories surface. This is known as delayed recall.

Engaging thoughts, feelings, sounds, smells, body sensations and all experiences of the traumatic event is therefore, of utmost importance, if trauma sufferers are to be helped. This is the rationale behind Inner Change Therapy.

Do you have an experience of therapy (either good or bad, helpful or not helpful) to share? Leave a comment below. (Your contact details will not be shared).

[1] Bremner, J.D. (2008). Hippocampus. In   Reyes, G., Elhai, J.D., Ford, J.D. (Eds). The encyclopedia of psychological trauma.  pp.313-315. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

[2] Brown, L.S. (2002). Chapter 1: The recovered memory debate: where do we stand now? In Zeig, J.K. (Ed). Brief therapy: lasting impressions. Phoenix, AR: The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Press.


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Childhood sexual abuse causes health problems in later life.

A study finds that girls who suffered severe childhood sexual abuse and physical abuse had a 62% and 45% respectively of cardiovascular diseases as adults[1]. Therapy for these adults often focus on their current presenting problems, such as low self-esteem and cognitive behavioural therapy is often used. However, it seems that therapy focus for adults who were abused as children needs to be on healing rather than just on coping skills, rational thoughts, and so on. Although we do not yet know if emotional healing contributes to physical healing, evidence in neuroscience suggests that traumatic events such as sexual abuse in childhood can  cause physical changes in brain chemicals and actually enhance the (traumatic) memory formations[2].

Inner Change Therapy uses the healing paradigm but works relatively content-free so that traumatic details do not need to be shared. Instead the trauma narrative is re-processed on a hypnotic level (open-eye hypnosis), thus reducing further trauma in the here and now, while promoting emotional healing.




[1] Heart disease; abused girls may have higher risk of heart disease, stroke as adults. (2011). NewsRx Health & Science,(19442599), 44. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/905707059?accountid=13380


[2] Post-traumatic stress disorders; new research might help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. (2011). Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week, (15316386), 568. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/882232731?accountid=13380



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Fast weight loss? Start working with your unconscious mind!

Losing weight is perhaps one of the toughest battles people fight. Everyone wants fast weight loss, but finding a healthy weight loss method that is quick and easy is a myth, as most people who have tried to lose weight will tell you. Many overweight people are experts in nutrition and can give you many weight loss tips. Yet their knowledge has not helped them MAINTAIN their ideal weight. It is a pity that billions of dollars are being spent on weight loss diets, weight loss plans and programs with limited and transcient results because it is the emotional eating and the lack of motivation to exercise that cause overweight. These are emotional problems that are often below the person’s consciousness. Even as they KNOW they shouldn’t eat that ice cream, spoonfuls are being stuffed into the mouth. Or, a packet of sweets has been consumed while working on the computer, almost with automatic action. The underlying problems that need to be addressed lie deep within the human psyche.

It has long been known that the psychology of overeating is an important battleground to win the war on weight. Yet, there are significant differences among the different psychological processes designed to help people stay slim. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as good as it is supposed to be,  deals primarily with the conscious, cognitive mind, rather than the unconscious, emotion-laden, mind.

Inner Change Therapy addresses both the conscious and the unconscious, working through the  mind (thoughts), body (felt senses), soul (emotions), and spirit (inner self), so that negative emotions are healed, unhealthy associations (often from childhood) are broken, and a positive future envisioned. The result is that “fast” weight loss (faster than yo-yo diets anyway) that is sustainable long term can happen naturally and relatively easily, with focus on the joy of healthy living.

However, you have to be prepared for three very intense double sessions of therapy, perhaps having to deal with difficult emotions as well, but you will find it worthwhile.


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Another reason to quit smoking: radioactive particles in cigarettes.

Another reason to quit smoking: Radioactive particles are in all brands of cigarettes. These particles were first identified in 1964 as the isotope polonium-210, which emits carcinogenic alpha radiation. This radioactive substance has been shown to cause lung cancer. What’s more, the tobacco industry had known about this since the early 1960′s and had tried to suppress such information. They also tried, but unsuccessfully, to remove these substances.[1] As a result of a court case, documents from the tobacco industry were examined in 1998 and the cover up was discovered. A new study by UCLA[2] (University of California, LA) estimates that smoking for 25 years would cause between 120-138 deaths per 1,000 regular smokers. The study was recently published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, and confirms previous research showing the tobacco industry’s knowledge of radioactive substances and attempts to hide the information from consumers.


[1] Muggli, M. E., Ebbert, J. O., Robertson, C., Hurt, R. D. (2008). Waking a Sleeping Giant: The Tobacco Industry’s Response to the Polonium-210 Issue. American Journal of Public Health, ISSN 0090-0036, 09/2008, Volume 98, Issue 9, pp. 1643 – 1650


[2] Science News. (2011).  Big Tobacco Knew Radioactive Particles in Cigarettes Posed Cancer Risk but Kept Quiet, Study Suggests. Science Daily, Sep 29, 2011.


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