One of the things I enjoy most about my work is that there’s very little that’s routine. Because we’re all individuals even when it’s the same problem, like stopping smoking, people will always have different goals and reasons to stop.
There are times as well when people come to me with specific problems that I haven’t seen before. Lucy* was one of those people, and asked me straight out on phone “I’m addicted to chewing nicotine replacement gum since I gave up smoking – is that something you’ve helped people with?”
As I believe honesty is the best policy I told her that I hadn’t, and I could tell that she was disappointed. “No-one I’ve spoken to has.” she said, “I started the gum to help me stop smoking and I’m feeling more stuck than ever and let down. No one can help me, and the only thing I can do to stop the gum would be to go back to smoking, and how stupid would that be?”
It’s for reasons like this that I don’t charge for initial consultations, because it meant that Lucy could come and have a proper conversation about what she could do. She talked about her worries that she hadn’t managed to quit nicotine, and her fear that she never would. I explained about how I’ve helped a lot of people stop vaping when they used that to replacement smoking. So that was the nicotine dependence part of this addressed.
Lucy told me that she was wondered if she might just replace chewing gum with yet another habit. I talked about the people I’ve helped to stop chewing gum, or using cough sweets, or any number of things who stopped those habits without developing new ones. So that was the worry of forming other habits put to rest.
“Do you think it will work then?” she asked me. “If you help me with nicotine withdrawal, and with the chewing at the same time? It’s just that I’m worried about stopping all at once being a big step.”. There’s a particular technique I use that works well with people who want to reduce a habit, so we brought that in as well. We made sure that Lucy felt confident about reducing her nicotine replacement gum down to nothing over a period that she chose.
And that’s how we helped Lucy to successfully stop chewing nicotine replacement gum – by combining her personal goals and knowledge, and my experience and success. Essentially that’s what I do every time I see someone – to use my experience to make something specific for them. It was, as I told her, just like the times I’ve used techniques for tinnitus to help people with excessive sweating – but that’s one for another time.
* Lucy’s real identity has been protected, and she is happy to share her story.
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