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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Rader

Self-Efficacy and Successful Smoking Cessation

Often, when examining a problem, the focus tends to be on the problem and not the solution. With smokers, and quitting smoking, as in many other problems in healthcare, the focus tends to be on smokers who fail to quit. Let’s look at the ones who do quit, successfully.

In one study, Catherine Perz et al, timing was an important factor. Pick the fruit when it is ripe. A smoker will be successful quitting when they move from, “I should quit” to “I am quitting, now!”

What this means is that the motivation is now coming from within. It is not about reason and logic; it’s about a feeling. The feeling also moves the smoker into a state of mind called self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a concept made popular by the psychologist, Albert Bandura. His definition is basically the degree in which someone believes that they can accomplish something or succeed in their desired goals.

In another study, by Carlo DiClemente, he looked at smokers who quit and discovered that the ones who were most successful, called maintainers, were the ones who scored highest on self-efficacy evaluations before the attempt. In other words, those who felt the strongest about their abilities to be successful became successful. I would call this a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What we do in hypnosis is to amplify this feeling of self-efficacy in the individual. The smokers are screened first to guage their degree of determination, which is a way of calculating that the timing is right. Then when the smoker comes in, we take this feeling and turbo charge it into an overwhelming sensation of determination and confidence, which in turn brings on more feelings of satisfaction, relief and pride. These feelings then, in a positive feedback loop, enhance the feelings of confidence and determination.

The wonderful thing is that once people are able to quit smoking they build a confidence in themselves that brings up their feelings of self-efficacy that spill into other areas of their lives. They start to have the idea that if they can beat smoking; they can take on anything.

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