… by Ursula Markham

On any given day there are literally thousands of people trying to kick the smoking habit. And so desperate are they that they will try almost anything from the sensible to the ridiculous. Yet many of them fail, some of them again and again. Why is this and what can be done about it?

Quitting ‘cold turkey’ may work for some – but those for whom will power alone is sufficient are very few indeed. Others may be prescribed chewing gum or patches containing nicotine to help them as they try to withdraw from their cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco.

It is true that some people find these artificial aids helpful but, in the majority of cases, those people tend to return to smoking once they have given them up – or, indeed, become addicted to the cure.

It is also possible to be helped to give up smoking by means of acupuncture but, here too, the long-term results do not seem to be satisfactory once the treatment itself has come to an end.
Most experts would agree that the best method would seem to be one which is non-invasive and which allows the smoker to use his or her most positive asset – the power of their own mind – to achieve their aim. And this is where techniques such as hypnotherapy, NLP or other behavioural therapies come into their own.
The would-be non-smoker has three main problems to overcome: desire, habit and addiction.

The desire to give up smoking has to be genuine or nothing will be effective in the long-term. And there is the world of difference between saying or thinking “I want to give up smoking” and “I think I should give up smoking”. As a hypnotherapist, I will not accept as a patient anyone who cannot tell me in all honesty that they really want to stop smoking for ever. The reason for that desire does not matter – and they can be many and varied – provided the desire is real and is their own. The fact that the office has become a non-smoking zone or that their spouse or partner wishes them to give up smoking will not do. The desire has to come from within.
The reason for wanting to give up smoking often concerns health – the smoker’s or someone else’s. We can no longer fool ourselves that smoking will not harm us if we continue – there is too much evidence to the contrary. Some people will want to give up because they have begun to experience respiratory or throat difficulties; others will be frightened of developing lung cancer in the future. Some will realize that it is ludicrous to be concerned about what they eat and drink and the fact that they take regular vitamin supplements and then to poison their systems by continuing to smoke. Yet others will be frightened of the effect their smoking has upon their children.
Money and the cost of smoking rarely comes into it. Somehow, whatever else they may have to do without and however high the prices of tobacco products may rise, the smoker will always find the cash.

Playing on Fears

Unkind as it may seem, emphasizing whatever it is that the person fears is a powerful way of reinforcing their essential desire to give up smoking.

I have known hypnotherapists and NLP practitioners who use strong visual images to demonstrate what might happen if what the patient fears should ever come to pass.

Becoming a non-smoker

It is essential that the patient realizes that what he or she is aiming for is to become a non-smoker. There is no point in telling yourself that you will “just have two cigarettes a day” or “only smoke when having a cup of coffee after a meal”. If that is in your mind, forget it because it just will not work. Those two cigarettes will soon become three… or five… or ten… and before long you will be back where you started.
Similarly, you may well find yourself drinking an excess of coffee merely to increase the number of occasions when you can have a cigarette!

People have very different habits when it comes to smoking. While one person smokes when under pressure, another will see cigarettes as an integral part of relaxation. One will not contemplate having a drink – whether alcohol or a cup of tea – without smoking at the same time while another has only to hear the sound of the telephone ringing to light a cigarette before even lifting the receiver.

Part of the behavioural therapist’s role is to help the smoker recognise their own set of triggers. What is it that makes them smoke? Do they light the first cigarette before even pulling on their dressing gown in the morning? Do they need one to steady their nerves before an important meeting or an interview? Do they feel uncomfortable if they find themselves in a social situation and they have nothing to do with their hands? Or are they simply unable to resist when someone proffers that open packet in their direction?

Once someone is aware of their own trigger, there are two things they can do. The first is to learn to hear some sort of imaginary alarm bell warning them to be careful as this could be a dangerous moment. The second is to plan to have something else at hand to take the place of the cigarette. Perhaps, when that telephone rings, they could immediately pick up a pencil and pad before lifting the receiver – they would not be able to select and light a cigarette at the same time.

Hypnotherapists will often persuade the person’s subconscious mind that, should they ever select and light a cigarette out of habit, the first puff of that cigarette will cause them to experience the most unpleasant taste sensation they have ever known. Indeed, in many cases, they will be encouraged to go one step further and visualise the foulness which is causing that taste spreading throughout their mouth, throat and lungs, contaminating everything with which it comes into contact. Naturally, before ending the session, the therapist will remove that experience so that the patient does not have to go around feeling ill or being aware of a dreadful taste in the mouth.

This particular technique is not designed to make the patient unwell and, because there is no magic wand in hypnotherapy, should the person concerned continue to smoke that foul-tasting cigarette, after a few puffs it will begin to taste normal again. The suggestion is simply a ‘memory-jogger’; it is there to make the patient aware that, out of habit, they have taken a cigarette and to remind them that they are now a non-smoker and so they should put it out as quickly as possible.

Although techniques such as NLP can also be effective in stopping smoking, my personal view is that hypnotherapy is the most powerful. This is because, in the altered state of hypnosis, the therapist is able to address the subject’s subconscious mind. Of course it is possible to say all the same things to somebody without inducing that altered state – and their common sense would probably lead them to agree with you completely.
But, if that were sufficient to cause them to give up their cigarettes, they probably would not need help in the first place. It is the subconscious mind which governs most of what we do; if ever there is a conflict between the desires of the conscious and the subconscious mind, the subconscious will win every time. In my view, it is essential, therefore, to address the subconscious mind when trying to help someone reinforce their desire or overcome their habit.

In addition, your subconscious mind is active and protective at all times whereas your conscious mind can shut down – when you go to sleep, for example. It seems logical, therefore, to work in conjunction with the subconscious mind as much as possible as it is better to have a full-time ally rather than a part-time one. By far the best way of reaching and addressing the subconscious mind is by means of hypnosis

It is essential that, from the very first moment, the patient is encouraged to think of him or herself as a non-smoker, as opposed to a person who is trying to give up smoking. The latter allows for the possibility of failure while the former does not. Even if the subject gives into temptation once or twice during the first week of treatment, they should learn to think of themselves as a non-smoker who slipped a couple of times rather than someone who is trying to stop but has failed.


Affirmations, whether spoken aloud or written down and read, can be helpful when giving up smoking. They are unlikely to be sufficient on their own but they can certainly help to reinforce the mind-set of the person concerned. But, just as they have to learn to think of themselves as a non-smoker, affirmations have to be composed in such a way that the subconscious comes to accept that the desired aim has already been reached.
Some people like to write their affirmations on small cards which they can carry around with them and take out from time to time during the day in order to read them. Others find it useful to write the affirmations on the type of coloured ‘post-it’ notelets which can be easily stuck on walls, doors, etc., and removed at will. The latter method seems particularly effective as it is not even necessary to read deliberately what has been written; the brain will automatically see and take in the words and they will emphasise what is already going on in the subconscious mind.


The more powerful and more descriptive the imagery used by the therapist, the more effective it will be. Again, this would seem to be particularly beneficial when used as part of hypnotherapy treatment because the imagery could be linked in the subconscious mind to the trigger situation – so that the one would always lead to the other.
A typical example of the sort of imagery which can be used is to ask the patient to visualise a busy motorway or dual carriageway road on a very hot day when the surface of that road may become a little softer and slightly sticky. Then ask them to imagine that same road surface on a cool day when it has reached maximum hardness again – hard enough for vehicle after vehicle to pass over without leaving any mark. Remind them that the surface of that road is tar – the very substance to be found in their cigarettes and therefore in their lungs. Soft and pliable it may be when it is first inhaled as it is still warm. But, let it cool down, and those lungs are coated with a substance which is hard enough to bear the weight of innumerable heavy vehicles. Their own imagination will tell them what will happen if that coating is allowed to become too thick.
Weight gain

It is not unusual for smokers – particularly women – to use as an excuse for maintaining the habit the fact that they fear they will put on weight should they give up smoking. It is not true that they will necessarily do so in the long-term, provided, of course, that they do not eat more than previously.
Because smoking can affect the fluid balance in the body, it is possible that, even if the identical diet is maintained, the former smoker may put on a few pounds in the weeks immediately after quitting. But, as the body becomes accustomed to the new regime and adjusts itself accordingly, those pounds will automatically disappear. The main reason for people putting on weight after giving up smoking is that they are so used to doing something with their hands and mouths that they tend to substitute snacks for cigarettes.


If, by means of some mind or behavioural technique, the individual has been helped to overcome both desire and habit, the addiction will, in time, take care of itself. And, contrary to former belief, this happens more quickly than people often expect. The same is not true, of course, when nicotine patches or chewing gum are used as, although it may be present in diminishing quantities, nicotine continues to be artificially fed into the body.
Long-term success

The benefits of using a mind- influencing technique when stopping smoking are twofold. In the first place, as well as having succeeded in what they wished to achieve, the smoker has the added satisfaction of knowing that they have done it themselves, rather than having made use of some more invasive technique.

This can greatly enhance their confidence and self-esteem which can only be a good thing. Secondly, should there ever be a reason why – at any time in the future – they are tempted to begin smoking again, they can use the same technique to stop again, often in a very short time.

See original article here

It doesn’t have to be difficult…

The 10 worst diet excuses

It doesn’t have to be difficult!

Call (091) 448 050 or (086) 795 8015 for more details

It’s too expensive…

Many people claim that they can’t afford to eat more healthily. However, healthy eating can be just as budget-friendly as splurging on junk food if you know what to look out for. In fact, swapping your chocolate bar or packet of crisps for an apple can actually save you money. To lose weight on the cheap, start by reducing your portion sizes and swapping unhealthy snacks for fresh fruit or veg. Stocking up on dried legumes for protein, buying in bulk and freezing leftovers are also good steps for keeping costs down.

For more information visit Yahoo here!

Testimonial from a Colleague

“Kevin takes his work very seriously and is completely dedicated to giving the best possible service to his clients. His success rate is very high across a broad spectrum of areas in which he works.”

Sean Higgins, Student, NUI Galway

March 22, 2011

Business Testimonial

“I have known Kevin for over a year now and Galway City Partnership supported him in setting up his business ‘Positive Change Hypnotherapy’.

During that time, I always found Kevin to be highly professional and motivated, and very skillled in his line of business.

Kevin has been very successful with clients who wish to give up smoking and weight loss, at a very affordable price.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Kevin and Positive Change Hypnotherapy.

Oonagh Monaghan, Enterprise Officer,

Galway City Partnership (Business Partner)

March 21, 2011

10 Signs it’s Time to Lose Weight!

Most women at some point in their lives will have thought it’s time to lose a bit of weight – whether it’s for a special occasion or holiday or for health reasons. But here are some of the signs that made me realise it was time to shed the pounds.

1. You’re in bed by 10pm

When I was at my largest, after spending the day looking after the children I couldn’t manage much more than sitting on the sofa for a couple of hours. Most nights I’d be in bed by 10pm and that was usually after I’d already fallen asleep in front of the TV. These days I have far more energy and once the children are in bed, I manage to fit in some housework instead.

2. Food controls your life

Before I changed my eating habits, my whole day would revolve around food. I’d constantly be thinking about what I could have for my next meal, and it wouldn’t be something healthy. After I changed my diet and started planning meals in advance, I don’t feel as hungry and think less about food.

3. You’re a yo-yo dieter

I’ve never been a size zero and have spent most of my adult life on one diet or another. I don’t think there was a diet or healthy eating fad that I hadn’t tried and none of them were a long-term solution. You need to change your entire attitude to food, eating more fruit and vegetables and cooking meals from scratch.

4. You lack energy to play with your children

Having two active boys I never wanted to be one of those mums who couldn’t kick a ball about in the park, or who was always sat on the sofa. However, keeping up with them all the time when I was overweight definitely wasn’t easy and I did feel like I was letting them down. These days I’m quite happy to be involved in whatever they’re playing, as well as sorting everything out around the house.

5. You have to buy new clothes

Now most women wouldn’t complain about having to buy a whole new wardrobe, but when it’s because all your clothes are too small it’s really no fun. I’ve always liked fashionable clothes, but when I was at my largest I just hated everything that I bought. All my clothes were chosen to cover up parts of my body and not because I actually liked them. Today I love buying things that show off my figure and it’s far more enjoyable to spend the day shopping when you’ve got more choice.

6. You’ve lost your self-esteem

Being larger I always used to look at slimmer women and friends and feel envious of them. I wanted the bodies that they had and stopped feeling comfortable with myself. I hated the way I looked in most clothes and didn’t really go out very much. Today I feel a lot happier with my body shape; I know that I’ll never be a supermodel, but I wouldn’t want to be anyway.

7. You’re always moaning to friends about your weight

Good friends are a great asset when you’re going through rough patches, but even the best of friends can only take so much. Ask yourself how often you moan to them while you’re getting ready for a night out or just before a holiday and I bet you’ll be surprised.

8. Your baby is now at school

There’s only so long that you can blame your weight gain on being pregnant and when your baby starts school it’s probably time to do something about it. During my second pregnancy I was still carrying the weight I gained the first time round and he’s now seven.

9. You hide the scales

I don’t think I’d weighed myself for about two years. I knew I was overweight, but if I didn’t know by how much then I could hide away from it. Now I’m a lot more relaxed about my weight. I still don’t know exactly how much I weigh, but as long as my dress size stays the same I’m happy.

10. You avoid having photos taken

I’d never found photos of myself particularly flattering, but when I weighed more I was a lot more self-conscious about having my photograph taken, even on special occasions. The few photos I do have from that time though are useful reminders of how I don’t want to go down that road again.

I’m sure there are lots of other signs that it’s time to lose weight and we all have our own personal reasons. It’s never going to be easy and rather than a diet, see it as a change of lifestyle.

See original article by Catherine Stern here.

Afraid to fly? Can’t stop eating cookies? Hypnosis helps

Afraid to fly? Can’t stop eating cookies? Hypnosis helps

Hypnoisis is not a trancelike condition but an altered state of consciousness. It’s an intense alertness in which the mind can screen out extraneous matters and focus on particular details.

Brain scans taken of people under hypnosis show that despite the relaxed state of our bodies, our minds are extremely attentive.

Hypnosis doesn’t involve giving up one’s will or being controlled by someone else. It does allow the subject to suspend logical reasoning and focus on and accept suggestion.

Original article by Robin Weston here

Tailor Made Testimonial!

I went to Kevin at his business Positive Change Hypnotherapy for the purpose of quitting smoking. I had been a non smoker for three years previous but had some how fallen back into smoking.

I was determined to quit and with Kevin’s expertise I did just that. The session was great. I was very relaxed and Kevin guided me through a deep hypnosis. When I emerged, I was delighted to be a non smoker once again. I felt no fear, urges or cravings at all and the little trick he gave me to enforce that was a great help. Very clever.

It’s been almost four months and I haven’t had a cigarette let alone thought about them. I have put on no additional weight and feel happy and more confident which is exactly what Kevin said would be the case.

The session with Kevin is very powerful and I would strongly recommend going to see him if you have any such issues with smoking, stress, weight loss. Your health is your greatest asset and with Kevin’s help you can make sure you stay healthy and free from disease.

Jason Walsh MIAPR, Founder, Galway Holistic Network


March 21, 2011

Testimonial from Active Health

“I’ve worked with Kevin and I have no hesitation in recommending him. I have found him to be a sincere and enthusiastic practitioner.” November 11, 2010
James O’Sullivan, Owner, Active Health

Men unhappy with their beer bellies

Men unhappy with their beer bellies
by David Howells

More men than ever could be looking to weight loss hypnotherapy to rid them of their beer bellies, BBC News reports.

Research from the University of the West of England found that men often talk about body image with their peers and get hung up on their failings.

Studying the behaviours of 384 British men with an average age of 40, scientists from the University found that four in five had a problem with their shape, with beer bellies and lack of muscle definition the biggest gripe.

Thirty five per cent of those questioned even said they would go so far as to take a year off their life in order to get the body shape they desired.

Of those studied, 80 per cent spoke about body shape with friends and lovers, whilst one in three took protein supplements to help them get more muscle definition.

Speaking to carbonated.tv, study leader Dr Philippa Diedrichs explained how “body talk” was the term researchers coined for this talking amongst men of body shape.

“Body talk reinforces the unrealistic beauty ideal which reinforces leanness and muscularity,” she said.

“This is traditionally seen as an issue for women but our research shows that men are feeling the pressure to conform too. We need to take a collaborative approach to promoting an environment that values diversity and promotes healthy body image.”

Read more: Men unhappy with their beer bellies – Weightloss News – The Therapy Lounge
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Risk Of Heart Attack And Early Death Increases With Cellular Aging

Every cell in the body has chromosomes with so-called telomeres, which are shortened over time and also through lifestyle choices such as smoking…

This Medical News Today article can be read in full here

Call 086 795 8015 to book or visit www.positivechange.ie for more information

Women Smokers ‘more likely than men to get heart disease’ Study

Interesting article on www.breakingnews.ie …

Smoking is 25% more likely to give women heart disease than men, a study has found.

Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke may have a more potent effect on women due to biological differences, scientists believe.

US researchers analysed pooled data on around four million individuals from 86 studies.

After adjusting for other risk factors, they found the increased risk of heart disease linked to smoking was 25% higher for women.

The longer a woman smoked, the greater her heart disease risk was compared with that of a man who had smoked for the same length of time.

A woman’s extra risk increased by 2% for every additional year she had been smoking.

The findings are published today in an early online edition of The Lancet medical journal.

Authors Dr Rachel Huxley, from the University of Minnesota, and Dr Mark Woodward, from Johns Hopkins University, of Maryland, wrote: “Women might extract a greater quantity of carcinogens and other toxic agents from the same number of cigarettes than men.

“This occurrence could explain why women who smoke have double the risk of lung cancer compared with their male counterparts.

“Physicians and health professionals should be encouraged to increase their efforts at promotion of smoking cessation in all individuals.

“Present trends in female smoking, and this report, suggest that inclusion of a female perspective in tobacco-control policies is crucial.”

Season to be Jolly?

During these difficult times, and with Christmas fast approaching, there are many people suffering from undue Stress or Anxiety.

If you think any members of your family, friends or work colleagues could benefit from help in managing their STRESS, or whether they would like to quit smoking or have a boost in their confidence, ask them to give me a call for a no obligation chat.

086 7958015 – Kevin

Special Offer!

I am pleased to announce that from now until the end of October 2011 anybody that “LIKES” Positive Change Hypnotherapy on Facebook can avail of a €50.00 discount on their first session of Hypnotherapy.

Please “SHARE” on your page as one of your friends may like to avail of this limited offer to quit smoking, Build confidence manage stress etc.

(Booking required. Valid Mon-Fri only, subject to availability. Session lasts up to 2 hours and efficacy dependent on client commitment).