A woman comes into my office years ago to stop smoking. Our conversation is going positive, and then suddenly the tone shifts.

“Well, have you ever smoked?”

“No,” I reply.”

“Then you don’t know what I’m going through.”

A flash of inspiration takes place, and I reply, “You’re right. I’ve never smoked. It’s never been an issue before for me. Would you rather go through the rest of your life as a non-smoker-in-challenge, still dealing with cravings, or would you rather go through life assuming the mindset I have, as if you’ve never smoked before?”

She loves this idea, and our session begins.

Many of our hypnosis clients come in focused on what they don’t want, and it’s helpful to shift the goals toward the outcome they do want.

Consider for a moment the popular meeting-based programs for people to lose weight. I’ll politely choose to not mention the specific names of these groups, but there is one that’s focused on helping people watch their weight. Yeah, that one. It’s counting calories with easier math. The program absolutely works, but it encourages the attendees to think about food even more.

I’m 5’4. I’m about 140 pounds, but in high school I weighed about 210 pounds at my heaviest. Take a person who’s had a lifelong issue with their size, and they’re constantly thinking about their intake. Should I be eating this? Have I had too much? Can I afford to eat this one more thing?

Take a person who has never had an issue with their weight; they eat when they’re hungry, they stop when they’re not. Isn’t that the better mindset to model?

My suggestion is this: when working with clients, shift the conversation to how they’d rather be thinking. Learn what behaviors and emotions they’d like to adjust, and then discuss how they’d rather be thinking.

Associate them into the outcome, and take them along for the ride. As if they never had that challenge before.